One of Forrest Gump’s unique personal qualities was his non-resistant nature. Forrest had the child-like ability to go with the flow. He was open to other people, other’s ideas, and trying new things. Just as a child is born with a natural curiosity and innate desire to learn and explore, Forrest lived his entire life open and non-resistant.
As adults, most of us have long lost that special quality. Along the path of life we become protective and guarded in what we will do. New ideas are rejected out of hand without even stopping to give them consideration. Our way of life is ingrained in our psyches and stops us from trying new things. While the childlike curiosity still exists deep inside us all, a protective shell has been put in place to guard us against disappointments, miscommunications and thwarted intentions. We have become resistant and no longer open. Maybe that’s why we receive such joy when looking at the openness and non-resistance of a child? Is it possible to become more open? Are you willing to give up your resistance?
A good example of Forrest Gump being open and non-resistant as an adult is his graduation day. While basking in his mother’s pride of his college graduation day, an Army recruiter approaches, hands Forrest a brochure and asks, “Have you given any thought to your future?” Forrest’s non-resistant and humorous reply is simply, “Thought?” The next scene shows Forrest getting on the bus with the other army recruits all on their way to basic training boot camp.
Or how about much later in the movie when Forrest goes to Savannah, GA and re-connects with Jenny and meets Little Forrest. When Jenny explains that she is ill, Forrest immediately offers the comfort and protection of his home in Greenbow for Jenny and Little Forrest to come live. Only an open and non-resistant man could instantly make such a generous and kind offer. Do you remember the stack of letters Forrest had written to Jenny that came back coldly marked return-to-sender? Do you remember the times Jenny told Forrest to just ‘go away’ despite their close connection? This was an offer made despite all of the hurt and disappointment previously suffered as Jenny gallivanted around the world. Most of us would be resistant to being so kind while clinging to our previous hurt. Do you hold grudges? Grudges are a form of resistance. Grudges are not being open – grudges are being closed.
So how can you regain some of the openness you had as a child but slowly lost as you became jaded by years and experience? How can you stop instantly saying, “No” before you’ve even heard the full question? Is it possible to regain some of the innocent curiosity and spontaneity that we all recognize and admire in a child? Is it possible for us to feel the same joy we felt as a child as we explore and let our natural curiosity return?
I say, “Yes!” to all those questions. It is possible and it’s not as difficult as one might imagine. It does require effort and it will require you to retrain the automatic responses that you’ve developed. You’ll have to be willing give up your resistance. Here are some suggestions:
- First acknowledge that as a child you were born curious and with a strong desire to learn, experience and explore. Observe your own child (or any child) as proof of this.
- Accept that as you experienced real life as a child, then a teenager and then a young adult, the disappointments you encountered made you less open and more resistant.
- Don’t fret about being resistant today. No coulda, woulda shouldas! It has happened to most everyone (Forrest Gump was an exception). Accept that your resistance was simply a coping mechanism and perhaps necessary at the time, but that now is the time to move forward with a deliberate change.
- Consider that being open is as simple as saying, “I choose to be more open in my life”. Or how about this? “I choose to give up the resistance I’ve developed over the years! Being resistant limits the joy of learning and exploring and living – I choose to be open.”
My goal is to further develop this topic and other topics pertaining to Forrest Gump’s special character. I believe we can all benefit and learn from the special qualities that Forrest possessed. I’m convinced it’s those qualities that made Forrest such an attractive and inspirational persona. Are you willing to become more Gump-Like?
Next Blog Title: You’ve Got to Put the Past Behind You Before You Can Move On
Next Blog Date: Thursday, March 18, 2010