Sharpen Your Edge

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Learning From ‘The Lion King’

Today, I feel like sharing a story with you. I am a big fan of Disney’s runaway hit, ‘The Lion King’. For the unfamiliar, the story goes thus…..

Simba, the lion cub, idolizes his father, King Mufasa. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub Simba’s arrival. Scar, Mufasa’s brother – and former heir to the throne of Pride Land – plans a conspiracy. The battle for ‘Pride Rock’ is soon ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama by Scar. King Mufasa is assassinated and Simba, his only son, is blamed for it.  Simba is exiled. He shies away and shrinks from all his responsibilities. Doom sets-in Pride Land.

Initially depressed and upset with the turn of events, Simba goes into the jungles to stay with a curious pair of newfound friends – Timon the Meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog. The wise old monkey, Rafiki, helps Simba rediscover the true meaning of his heritage as the heir to the throne. Rafiki rattles him up to get out of his low state. Simba realizes that he has not escaped but actually has turned his back on the courage, strength and wisdom with which he was raised.

King Mufasa visits Simba in a dream one night and encourages him to go and fight back. He tells his son – “Remember who you are. You are my son, and the one true King. Remember, who you are.” Faced with the choice to remain a victim or rise to his calling and make a difference, Simba chooses to shed the cloak of shame and self-deprecation and returns from exile to confront his Uncle. In the process, he is transformed into the image of his father, the great King Mufasa! All the others who were disappointed when Simba left and abandoned his responsibilities, now gain confidence as they collectively confront Scar.

Here are a few take-away lessons for all of us from the above saga:

  1. Running away from a situation does not help to solve it. Playing the victim, growing small in your own eyes and sulking away does not help any situation. Take charge of the situation and liberate others as well to fight evil. Remember who you are… you are and have to be a ‘Right-Fighter’.
  2. When you give-up, you create a general air of disappointment which cascades onto others and demotivates them as well. The general environment becomes depressive and that does not help the fight at all. Do not be an escape artist – no matter how ‘valid’ the reasons may seem. Running away gets you to destination: Nowhere!
  3. When you fight-back, you tacitly encourage the lazy others (like Pimba and Timon) to pursue a life of meaning and action as well! The entire then conspires with you in making your positive move a general success for all. Be this trigger of positivity in 2020!
  4. Evil succeeds because the good, usually being ultra-sensitive, quietly prefers to walk away. When you honestly believe that you are in the right, fight back. Don’t be the initial Simba – be what he evolved into in the later part of the movie. Don’t walk away from what’s wrong. Work towards making it right.
  5. Learn to expect a little less from people around you and instead, self-reflect more and push yourself a little harder than what you would otherwise. Then see how you proudly set the precedent for a boost in all those around you!
  6. Don’t be a recipe for dysfunctionality. We need to appreciate that we have more freedom, more power and more influence than we give ourselves credit for. It is rightly said that when we are willing to look in the mirror and acknowledge that we have created the culture that we tend to complain about, we will also find that the solutions lie within us.
  7. In the duality of life, it comes down to choosing between which of the two wolves we will feed, that lie within us, just as we know of both – ‘Spenta Mainyu’ and ‘Angre Mainyu’. Choose to be a soldier in Spenta Mainyu’s army rather than a General in the army of Angre Manyu!

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