The only time in the movie that Forrest gives a speech is at the Vietnam War protest in Washington, D.C. It was spontaneous. It wasn’t planned. It was just something Forrest said from his heart.
The irony is that the audience could not hear the speech because the microphone plug had been pulled. All they heard was Forrest’s ending, “… and that’s all I’ve got to say about that.” Abbey Hoffman was onstage with Forrest. He was obviously moved by Forrest’s words. He embraced Forrest on the shoulder and softly replied, “That’s so right on, man. You said it all.”
What if Forrest was to give a commencement address today? What would he say to the assembled group of graduates? What words of wisdom and Gumpisms would he share with the grads and their families? What advice would he give to those in the midst of their life journey who are transitioning from an educational life chapter to their next life chapter?
Here is my imaginary Gump Commencement Address.
Choose Powerfully. Life may be like a box of chocolates. And you may never know what you’re gonna get. But don’t forget that just as you get to choose whatever chocolate you want, you also get to choose the life you want to live. I say choose a gump-like life. Go live a gump-like life.
Don’t worry about what others say or think. Follow your heart. Do what moves and inspires you. Most people are naysayers. When someone asks you if you’re stupid or something, politely reply, “Stupid is as stupid does.”
Love unconditionally. The best friendships I had were with people whom I loved unconditionally. Momma. Jenny. Bubba. Lt. Dan. Unconditional love means accepting people as they are. I accepted them. They accepted me. Unconditionally.
Be patient. It took Jenny a long time to be able to return the love that I felt for her. I’m glad I waited. It wouldn’t have happened if I was an impatient man. Be patient.
Borrow from others until you figure it out yourself. It was Bubba’s dream to be a shrimp boat captain. I borrowed Bubba’s dream and it served me well. Don’t be afraid to follow people you trust while you’re figuring it out for yourself.
Listen to your Momma. Well, actually, now is the time to stop listening to Momma and start listening to your own brain, heart, and soul. Take the wisdom your parents have gifted to you and create your own life. But every now and then, humor Momma and pretend that you’re still listening to her … unconditionally.
Give up blaming. The sooner you decide that blaming others or blaming circumstances is a waste of time, the sooner you’ll be able to get down to the hard work of figuring it out for yourself. Blaming is procrastination. Give up blaming.
Know what love is. I’d rather be a guy who says, “I may not be a smart man … but I know what love is” than a person whose tombstone says, “He was a really smart man … But he never figured out how to love.”
Be proud – take pride. When I graduated from college, Momma said, “Forrest, I’m so proud of you.” The best way to make another proud of you is to take pride in what you doing for yourself. Be proud. Take pride in all that you do.
Now, open the chocolate box of life and choose the life you want to live. Choose powerfully. And enjoy the surprises that each choice gives you. Never forget that life is a box of chocolates … and you never know what you’re gonna get.
And that’s all I’ve got to say about that!
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Next Blog Date: June 14, 2012
Steve Weber is a speaker, Forrest Gump tribute artist, facilitator, blogger, and author. The three principles of Gumption are specifically designed to get you (and your team) to Function with Gumption. Steve uses the simple, yet powerful, life lessons from the movie Forrest Gump to bring positivity back into the workplace. Learn more at SpeakingGump.com.