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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Monsters Inc and Herd Mentality

My next post will be the 10th post for my blog! I’m going to do something fun for it. Be sure to follow the blog to be the first to see the new content!

When you were growing up, did your mom ever say this classic “momism” to you? “If all of your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?” The lesson that your mom (or dad, or teacher, or whoever) was trying to teach you was that just because everyone else is doing something, does not necessarily mean that it is a good thing to do. Following along with what everyone else does and believes is called “Herd Mentality”. To put it simply, Herd Mentality is when your beliefs, actions, and behaviors are influenced (or even determined) by all the people that surround you. To use the analogy offered in the name “Herd Mentality”, sometimes the “herd” knows where the best food to eat is, but also sometimes the herd may be walking its way right in to the slaughter house. Following the herd is sometimes good, but it is also sometimes bad. This is why we must determine to not just follow the crowd and be part of the herd but to actually be a critical thinker. It is harder to be a critical thinker, there is comfort and safety (for a time) in following the herd, but the herd is not always right.
“What does this have to do with Monsters Inc?” You begin to type furiously in the comment section. “I was expecting Mike and Sully!” You lament to yourself. Have no fear, Mike and Sully are here to rescue you. What does Monsters Inc have to do with the herd mentality? There is one belief in the Monsters Inc universe that drives much of what the monsters do. We see that whole factories are shut down because of this belief, we see that there is widespread panic because of this belief, and we see that college fraternities play games in the sewer because of this belief (college is weird). You know what that belief is: Children are toxic and everything that they touch is toxic. Of course, we have all seen the number 2319 at some random point in our lives (a receipt at a restaurant, a flight number, why do I always only come up with two examples?) and have yelled, “2319! We have a 2319!” as everyone looks at us as if we are loony. Just me? Awkward… Anyway, the belief that children are toxic and that everything they touch is toxic is a fundamental belief in their world. When Boo is making a “rampage” near the sushi restaurant, a professional on Monster News Network even says, “It is my professional opinion that now is the time to PANIC!” But get this, the professional was wrong. Much of the world was wrong about children being toxic. Think of all the embarrassing shavings that George Sanderson could have avoided if the world had simply known that children were not toxic. Roz would have been unemployed if the world would have known the truth that children were not toxic. Even at the beginning of the original Monsters Inc movie, Mike and Sully believe this lie about children being toxic, they only really stumble upon the truth. The great big beautiful point that I am trying to make here is that the world was wrong about this and it took Mike and Sully to use their thinking caps to figure out the truth.
I know that some of you reading this are teens who would do anything to impress your classmates and peers, I know that some of you are young adults like me and that you probably cherish the friendships that you have. But may I warn you that just because everyone believes something to be true does not make it true. We often get duped into thinking, “Hollywood has to be right about everything, look at the unified voice that they have” or “Everyone in my class is doing [fill in the blank] and no one has gotten hurt, it can’t be bad for you.” Beware!
So the question is, “How do you manage to follow the herd when it benefits you but avoid the herd when it is bad for you?” The answer is, Critical Thinking. Here are a few thoughts on breaking the cycle of Herd Mentality and being a Critical Thinker:

Find out what you stand for- If you have to ask yourself “What do I stand for?” and your answer is “most nights I don’t know anymore, oh whoa, oh whoa, whoa” (some of you will get that joke), then it is time to figure it out. What do you believe? What do you stand for? What is your “hill to die on”? But most importantly, why? Why do you believe what you believe? How did you come to that conclusion in your life? Why do you stand for that? That is going to require some good, hard soul-searching, but I promise you, it is really worth it.

Don’t be rude, but be critical- I am not telling you to “knit-pick” your friends actions and decisions to death. Don’t be an insufferable jerk about it, but keep mental notes. Understand that your friends are not always right (by the way, no one is! You aren’t. Don’t except people to be… different post for a different time…). So instead of just “going with the flow”; stop, think, and make a decision for yourself.

Don’t be scared of being different- I think the reason why many people do not think for themselves is because of fear. They fear being left out. The problem with not following the herd is that you are not part of the herd. Not being part of the herd makes you stand out, it makes you different, and to some people that is absolutely terrifying. But the truth is, it is better to be different and to be right than to be the same as everyone else and be wrong.
So, if your friends were to jump off a bridge would you? I hope the answer is no! Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!

Also, don’t forget to check out my new book to get even more life tips, Level Up!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Which Carousel of Progress Philosophy Is Right?

As you may already know from my post, 5 Overlooked Attractions, I love the Carousel of Progress. Many of you, who are a little bit older than me, remember a time when the Carousel of Progress was just a little bit different than it is now, the main difference being the theme song. For decades, the theme song for this attraction was “The Best Time of Your Life”, whereas now, the song is “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”. In this post, I would like to ask you an important question: Which philosophy should we live by? Now is the best time of your life or there’s a great big beautiful tomorrow?

Before we get into the “Life lesson” part of this post, allow me to clear something up. I have heard people lament the change of song. Some people do not like ANY change happening in Disney, and I have heard people say that they miss the original song “The Best Time of Your Life”. The truth is, this was not the original song. The Sherman Brothers had originally written “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” to be the theme for that attraction, believing that it captured the spirit of the attraction and the spirit of Walt himself. When the sponsors (General Electric) heard the song though, they did not like it and requested a new song to be written for the attraction, fearing that a focus on the future instead of on the “here and now” would encourage people to hold off on buying their products for a later time. The Sherman Brothers then came up with “Best Time of Your Life” to take its place. In 1986, General Electric dropped its sponsorship, which led to a refurbishment in 1994 and a restoration of the original song, the song that Walt originally wanted, “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”!

Life Lesson
So which philosophy is right? Should we live in the here and now or be focused on the future? I believe that the correct answer to that is BOTH:
Now truly is the best time of your life, and the song puts it very well, “Yesterday’s memories may sparkle and gleam, tomorrow is still but a dream, right here and now you’ve got it made, the world’s forward marching and your in the parade”. The truth is, we look back on yesterday with fond memories, but that is all they are, memories. You are not living in the past, you are living in right now, the present. The song even goes further and explains that even on bad days, now is the best time of your life, “Now is the time, now is the best time, be it a time of joy or strife”. The lesson from this song is simple: Even on bad days, the bad days are still the present and the present is better than living in the past. We are moving forward, and the only way to move forward is by partaking in the present every day. So yes, now is the best time of your life. And the same will be true tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. There is one downside to living “in the now” though, and that is that what we do “in the now” affects what happens tomorrow. That is why we ought to also live by the philosophy…
There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow. The Hedonist says, “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry. For tomorrow we die,” but the problem with that is that tomorrow you may not die, you could, but you may not. The actions of today have consequences on tomorrow. That is why it is so important to always remember that there is a great big beautiful tomorrow. Walt Disney believed that the future was bright, he believed in the march of progress and he understood that the future was made up of individual days in the present, that was why he was such a man of action. We always talk about how much of a dreamer Walt was, but he was much more than a dreamer, he was a DOER. A dream without actions will forever only be a fantasy.
Here is the big lesson today: Take actions every day that work toward progress. Every day do something that moves you forward. A lot of people wallow in stagnation or dwell on the past, but the world is forward marching and you are in the parade whether you like it or not. Pretty much, I just used a ride at Disney World to say in a round about way something that I have already posted on and a favorite quote of mine from Walt Disney: Keep Moving Forward!

Which of the two is your favorite song on Carousel of Progress? Let me know in the comments! Better yet, answer the poll!

Don’t forget about my self-help book, Level Up!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

5 Overlooked Attractions At Disney World (That Ought Not Be!)

When people rush into the parks at Disney World, they always have a few major attractions at the top of their minds: maybe their goal is to hit all the mountains in Magic Kingdom, hit the major attractions in Epcot, or explore Pandora in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Unfortunately, in our hurry to get to the major attractions there are often a few attractions that are impressive, beautiful, funny, and other things, but sadly overlooked. In this post, I’m going to point out 5(ish) attractions in Walt Disney World that deserve a little bit more love, and, if you have never visited them yet, you should set some time aside next time you go to the parks to see.

Carousel of Progress
The Carousel of Progress is seen by many as a cool, dark place to take a nap but it is so much more than that. The Carousel of Progress is the longest running stage show in the world, it debuted in the 1964 World Fair in New York and was moved into Tomorrowland (Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom later on). The show features both a look at the past and a view of the “future”. It blends an optimism for what is to come and a humor for what has already passed, which is basically what the attraction is all about: watching as a family (or several different but incredibly similar families!) participate in the march of progress. There are two reasons why I believe that people ought to participate in this show: First, we live in an age that looks to the future as being bleak. The future is presented here as a “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”, something that we all ought to be reminded of. Secondly, I do not believe any attraction at Walt Disney World encapsulates the philosophy of Walt himself quite like this show. In fact, when the Sherman Brothers wrote the song “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”, they wrote it with Walt in mind, and even said that the line, “Man has a dream and that’s the start, he follows the dream with mind and heart, and when it becomes a reality it’s a dream come true for you and me,” they claimed that in their minds they replaced the words “Man” with “Walt”. The Carousel of Progress is more than just a show, it is a big way to see into the heart of the man who started it all.

Many Epcot rides
I know I’m cheating here, but when I started thinking about Epcot, I could not come up with just one overlooked attraction, there are so many. I think that too many people discredit Epcot as a place to just eat and drink. I’ve heard people say that other than Frozen, Soarin’, and Mission Space there is nothing to do. I almost shed a tear when I hear this. Let me spout out some overlooked attractions here: Journey into Imagination, Living With the Land, Gran Fiesta Tour, even to some extent The Seas wit Nemo and Friends, and Spaceship Earth. And those are just ride based attractions, what about the shows all throughout world showcase: 
Reflections of China, The American Adventure, and O Canada. Take the time to do these attractions, they are fun! I personally believe that Epcot can be a 2 day park if it is enjoyed for everything that it is and not just the few big E-ticket attractions.

Muppets Vision 3D
I am not just adding this one because I am a huge Muppets fan, but also because this is a hilarious show. Muppet Vision 3D combines so many elements that you will not find combined anywhere else at Walt Disney World, meaning, there is no other show, at least that comes to mind, that combines a 3D video, audio-animatronics, live performers (Sweetums), and the theater itself being used to tell the story. This is a marvelous show, and better yet, it is hilarious. Something that I would suggest is to arrive at the theater 10 to 15 minutes before the show starts, you will be treated with the pre-show, which, I think, is the best pre-show on Disney property. You will be delighted by the 3 D’s, you will receive instructions from Sam the Eagle, and you will even be greeted by Mickey Mouse (well, not really. I won’t ruin that surprise though!) I hear people complain all the time about how there is nothing to do at Hollywood Studios, but a lot of those people don’t take the time to go down to the Muppet Courtyard and see this wonderful show. Even if you have never had any experience with the Muppets before, this show is a must-do.
Conservation Station
Conservation Station is a hidden gem at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The big reason for this is that you have to ride on a train to get there. I promise you, though, it is absolutely worth the time spent to get there. After getting off the train, you will walk down a path, along this path are demonstrations and signs that teach about the importance of conservation and practical ways to practice it in our own homes and yards. At the end of the path there is the Affection Section, which is Disney’s special name for a petting zoo, there is also a building that houses the Conservation Station. Inside there are animal encounters and a look at the veterinary care of the animals. Outside the building is a special gem for you character lovers. There is a space for character encounters. Last time we went, we got to meet Chip and Dale without having to wait in any line! I heard that you can also meet Doc Mcstuffins and even Jiminy Cricket (a very rare find) inside the Conservation Station. To me, this is an attraction that will take you off the beaten path and get you away from the crowds. It is a relaxing experience, it is an educational experience, and it is a fun experience.

Swiss Family Tree House
The Swiss Family Tree House is a great attraction. I guess the best way to describe it is: Ultimate Treehouse. I understand why it is an overlooked attractions. First, The Swiss Family Robinson is not exactly a movie that has endured the test of time, not many people know about it anymore. Second, the Tree House is not a ride, it is a walk around attraction, and most people are looking for excuses to not walk, not the other way around! But the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse is a unique experience and truly fun. I personally was so sad last time that I went to Disney because my kids were cranky and did not want to explore the tree house, but next year when I go on my first “adult only” trip you’d better believe that I am going exploring! By the way, there is only one song in all of Walt Disney World that is more of an ear worm than “It’s A Small World” and that is the Swisskapolka!

Honorable Mentions
A few others that are of note that I did not add to this list are Tom Sawyer’s Island, Country Bear Jamboree, and the Great Movie Ride. There are others that I also have not mentioned on purpose!

What do you think? Are there any attractions that you think are often overlooked but deserve some love? Let me know in the comments! But please, I beg of you, do NOT say Frozen Ever After!

Check out my new book, Level Up!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Lesson From Walt- Keep Moving Forward

Walt Disney is credited for saying, “Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” I think there have been very few people who understood this concept of carrying on in the face of adversity than Walt Disney. Some of you who read this blog are Disney Freaks, like me, and already know much about the history and the life of Walt Disney, but some of you may not. Walt Disney was not always a household name, believe it or not. It is hard for us today to imagine a world without Disney. You see the influence of Disney everywhere you go. Try to walk through the grocery store without seeing at least one Disney character, it is practically impossible. Mickey Mouse is one of the most recognizable and beloved characters in the whole world. But it used to not be that way, in fact, if you were to describe Walt in one word, many would have called him a failure. Before Mickey Mouse was created (and this is a VERY abridged version of Walt’s early life!) Walt endured failure after failure. He went through bankruptcy, his characters failed, he made bad, one-sided deals that eventually ruined him; yet with each and every failure, Walt picked himself up, brushed the dirt off of him and KEPT MOVING FORWARD. You may know about the loss of his first big character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Oswald was a huge success, and Walt thought that he had finally created something that was going to put him in the big time. When Walt went to New York to discuss the terms for Oswald, he was informed by Charles Mintz that he did not own the rights to Oswald and, in fact, Mintz had gone behind Walt and hired practically all of his animators and staff away from Walt. For many people, this would have been the point of giving up. But we know the legendary tale of Walt on the train ride back home to California, drawing sketches of a mouse, that would later become the character that we all know and love: Mickey Mouse. What would have happened it Walt had said, “You know what, I’ve tried this whole animation thing, I have failed too many times. I quit!” We would not have Mickey, Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and the many other things that we do today.
I think the point is pretty simple. You WILL fail. It is important that you fail sometimes. But every time you fail, instead of wallowing on the ground in self pity, get back up and keep moving forward. There have been countless inventions never made and too many ideas never seen made real all because a person did not get back up after failing.
What did Giselle say in Zootopia? Birds don’t just fly, they fall down, then get up.
What did Dory say in Finding Nemo/Dory? Just keep swimming.

Here is a link to my new book, Level Up!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Snow White and the Power of Kindness

Quick, name all of the seven dwarves! If you can name all 7, good for you. I’m sure that most people would forget one or two of them though. But no matter who you are there are likely three dwarves that you did not forget: Doc (because his name is so different from everybody else’s), Dopey (because he is adorable), and last, but certainly not least, Grumpy. The only word to describe Grumpy is… well, grumpy! He is always annoyed by everybody, always has a negative thing to say, and really puts a dark cloud on everybody else's day. But by the end of the movie we see that Grumpy has a soft spot for Snow White. Several times we are shown that he truly cares about her, that he would rush to save her life, and that he would be quick to shed a tear at her glass coffin. How did a dwarf that was characterized by his grumpiness end up becoming soft and actually liking Snow White? A very simple answer: Kindness. That is the lesson for this post: Kindess diffuses people.
I am certainly not saying that everyone will always love you if you are a kind person, but I am saying that most people will like you more often when you are a kind person. The truth is, most people today are so consumed with themselves or too suspicious of those around them that they are unwilling to practice kindness, but on the flip-side of that, everybody is yearning for someone to show kindness to them. Snow White did not win over Grumpy because she was the fairest one of all, but because she was kind hearted.
Speaking of that, what made Snow White the fairest one of all? Disney intentionally made the Wicked Queen to look stately and beautiful, yet Snow White was the fairest one of all. I believe that it was not Snow White’s looks that made her attractive so much as it was her kindness. I have known a lot of people who are physically attractive that are mean people, and I have met a lot of less physically attractive people who are filled with kindness. I’d rather spend time with the kind person any day! And that’s how Snow White was, sure, she was beautiful, but more importantly, she was kind. 
It is very difficult, not impossible, but very difficult, to hate someone who is kind to you. And most of the time, those people who hate those that are kind to them cannot find a very good reason for feeling that way. Grumpy did not like Snow White at first… he didn’t like anyone at all! But the more time he spent with her, the more kindness she showed him, the more he put his guard down, and the more he liked her.
Let me challenge you with this thought. You need to be the kind of person that when you walk in a room, everyone in the room becomes happier. We all know people that bring a dark cloud with them everywhere they go. Their presence brings stress and angst. Everyone is uncomfortable and enjoying themselves less when they walk in. You need to decide to be the person that when you walk in every is a little happier, the room is a little more at peace. You do that by being a kind person.
Here are a few simple but important things to do to show kindness:
  • Smile at people- A lot of people feel better when someone gives them a smile.
  • Talk less about yourself and listen to others- If you get nothing else out of this post, get this! If you are in a conversation with someone, the more you talk, the less likable you will seem. People will walk away from that conversation thinking that you talk to much. Instead, allow them to do most of the talking. When you do that, those people will think that they had a great conversation with you. Kind people are often listening people.
  • Remember- remember details from conversations that you’ve had. Remember what they’ve said about their work frustrations, remember their name, remember the name and breed of their dog. When you come back to that person later on with a good memory of the past conversation, you will be seen as kind.
  • Be a servant- Do nice things for people, expecting nothing in return. Make a meal for someone who just had surgery, write a letter to someone who is going through a hard time. Treat people the way that you would like to be treated.

A kind person is often able to diffuse even the grumpiest of people. Determine to be kind.

Don't forget to check out my newest book, Level Up!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Disney For Beginners- What Is Fastpass+

Most Disney blogs that I read assume that the reader understands the basics of planning a Disney World vacation but that isn’t the case for many people. In this series of posts “Disney for Beginners” I will seek to give some basic information about Disney World trip planning concepts. Today’s post is about the Fastpass+.

What is the Fastpass+?
Fastpass+ (FP) is a service provided for theme park guests to skip the line on certain attractions. A lot of the attractions have two lines, the Stand-by Line and the FP Line. Park guests are allowed to reserve FP in advance to their trip in order to not have to wait in long lines. This is a major convenience seeing that, depending on the attraction, you can save an hour or more of time using a FP as opposed to waiting in Standby.

How Much Does Fastpass+ cost?
This is a common question and misunderstanding. In fact, I love correcting people about this when they are misinformed about this. FP (as of the time of this writing) is FREE. That’s right, you are not charged extra for using this service. That means that you have no reason to not use this!

How Do I Get Fastpasses?
There are two ways to get a FP, one is through the My Disney Experience App and the other is through the website. Both are incredibly user friendly, I am practically computer illiterate but I figured it out really well. A few things to know:
  • Each FP is in an hour time slot- That means that if I want a FP for Seven Dwarves Mine Train in the Magic Kingdom first thing in the morning, it will last from 9:05 am to 10:05 am. If you try to get in the FP line before that time slot you will not be allowed in, if you try after the time expires you will not be allowed in.
  • You cannot overlap FP  That means this, if I still have that FP for Seven Dwarves from 9:05 to 10:05, I cannot also have a Fastpass for Space Mountain from 9:30 to 10:30, those two times overlap some. My second FP is going to have to be no earlier than 10:10-11:10. That is different from the old paper FP  for those of you who remember those days. It is impossible to overlap times.
  • You can only get 3 FP a day to start off with- After you have used your first 3, you can get more 1 at a time, but you cannot pre-reserve more than three (btw, another good reason to have the My Disney Experience App on your phone when you go to the parks!). This is the same for every park although Hollywood Studios and Epcot work a little different in that some attractions are on different tiers than others, meaning that out of your three original FP  only one of them is allowed to be on tier one. More on FP planning in a moment.
  • Important to Know- There is a special perk for resort guests when it comes to reserving FP  if you are staying at a Disney World resort you can reserve FP 60 days before check-in, whereas if you are staying off-site you can start reserving FP at 30 days before your trip.

Fastpass Planning
Here is my personal strategy for planning out my FP  I am going to use Magic Kingdom as the park scenario and show you how I do my planning-

  • Plan FP back to back, first thing in the morning. That means this, if you are at Magic Kingdom and the park opens at 9, you need to have your three FP scheduled for 9:05-10:05, 10:10-11:10, and 11:15-12:15. Get them all done first thing in the day
  • When you have made it into the line for your 3rd fast pass, immediately schedule your next one for as early as possible- So if I just walked into the FP line for Voyage of the Little Mermaid, even while I am in line I am going to get onto the My Disney Experience App and schedule my next FP, maybe there is one for Jungle Cruise at 12:30, I’ll take it. Since I can only do one FP at a time after my initial 3, I will keep repeating this process every time I enter into the fast pass line for the remainder of the day. This allows me to get the most FPs possible, and the least amount of lines possible.
  • Don’t worry about working the park in a certain order. I personally believe that the FP service has done away with the “work your way counter-clockwise around the park” mindset. Let’s go back to my original example: If I have my first fast pass for Seven Dwarves, but my second FP does not start for another half hour and it is Space Mountain, the best thing to do is to experience the smaller, less “on demand attractions” surrounding your immediate area. So, in this example, I would head to the Prince Charming Regal Carousel, It’s a Small World, and maybe even Mickey’s Philharmagic before making my way to my next FP.  What I am basically saying is this: Fill the times in between FP with the smaller lined attractions. Along those lines (pun intended), I would not rush to my first fast pass as soon as you get into the park (assuming that you made it for rope drop), instead I would head to a nearby, high demand attraction before getting on my first FP ride.  For example, again, my first FP is Seven Dwarves from 9:05 to 10:05, since I have an hour before my pass expires, I can head over to Peter Pan’s Flight or Small World before hitting my FP in order to take advantage of the short lines at the beginning of the day. 
  • Here are some of the top attractions that you ought to get FP for- Magic Kingdom- Seven Dwarves Mine Train, Space, Splash, and Great Big Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, and Pirates of the Carribbean. Epcot- Frozen, Soarin, Mission Space, and Spaceship Earth. Hollywood Studios- Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania, Rock n Roller Coaster, and Star Tours. Animal Kingdom- Kilimanjaro Safari, the new Pandora Rides, Dinosaur, Everest, and Kali River Rapids
  • I personally do not think it is necessary to waste a FP on a show or parade unless you absolutely must have the best seats in the house, but even then, most every seat at the shows and parades give you a good view.
That is most of the basic details about Fastpass+, let me know if you have any additional questions or comments in the comment section! For more information, check out Disney's official website.
Also, don't forget to get my new book, Level Up.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Moana- Do You Know Who You Are?

“I need my fish hook… I am not Maui without it.”

Moana fever has taken my family in full force. All day long my children are singing “How Far I’ll Go” and the terribly catchy song “You’re Welcome”. I was amazed by how beautiful of a movie Moana was, and it instantly became one of my all-time favorites. The more times I watched it (being many, since I have young children!) the more I noticed an underlying theme. At first glance, it seems that the movie is about a girl who follows her heart instead of following what everyone else told her to do and in doing so finds adventure. Instead, I would say that the movie is about finding out who you really are, which is wrapped up really tidily in the final song “I Am Moana”. In this post, I want to point out a few characters whose identity was wrapped in something wrong and then at Moana. Let’s find out what is supposed to define us.

Chief Tui- Defined by Fear
Chief Tui (Moana's father) tries to keep Moana from going into the sea. We get to hear a whole song about finding happiness right where you are, which is actually good advice. Have you ever heard the phrase “Bloom where you are planted”? But we find out later on that Moana’s father’s real reason from trying to keep her away from the sea is because he is afraid of it, when he was younger he went out beyond the reef and his friend died because of it. Every action that he does now has some context to it. Understand, when Moana came up with the idea of fishing beyond the reef, that was really the only reasonable answer to the “no fish” problem, but because of his fear, Chief Tui shot her idea down. Chief Tui was a good father and a wise leader, but in this instance he allowed his fear to define him. That is the major difference between him and Moana, he ran in the face of fear, Moana marched forward in the face of fear.

Maui- Defined by Possessions
The second act of the movie is about Maui finding his fish hook. Without his fish hook, they have no chance of fighting or defeating Te Ka. At one point, Maui says to his “mini Maui”, “I need my fish hook, you already have yours, and I am not Maui without it.” We see throughout the movie that this is a problem with Maui, he allows his fish hook to define him. When his fish hook isn’t responding correctly to his commands he gets scared and sings “We’re dead soon”, and when his fish hook almost is destroyed by Te Ka he bails on Moana because he is scared of losing his fish hook once and for all. We see that in the end, Maui learns that it is not his fish hook that defines him, he is not Maui because of his fish hook, he has the fish hook because he is Maui. 

Moana- Defined by Others
You do not learn this valuable lesson unless you actually pay attention to the power ballad “I Am Moana”. Throughout the movie,Moana is constantly saying, “The ocean chose me”. This is the one thing that gives her courage to carry on. She doubts this calling a few times, when Maui questions her calling before confronting Tamatoa, and when he finally leaves he and says, “The ocean chose wrong”. It is not until we hear the final song that we understand that her defining herself on the ocean’s choosing her is as wrong as the other things that defined Maui and her father. So what defines her?

Moana- Defined by Her Love
In her final song, the question is asked her, “Do you know who you are?” She answers, “I am a girl who loves my island, I’m the girl who loves the sea”. Moana has finally figured out who she is, she is defined by the things that she loves. She even goes further in the song and says, “And the call isn’t out there at all, it’s inside of me…” To say that it is not the ocean that has called her to do the work of restoring Tefiti, but it is her own heart that has.

The great lesson that we learn from this movie is that people are going to try to define you themselves, they will try to project their own fear into your life, they will try to persuade you to be defined by your possessions, or will even seek to define you on their own terms. You can choose to be defined by someone else or you can be defined by the things that you love. 

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