Life Lessons From Pixar’s Soul: Which Will Make You Question Your Way Of Living
Last Updated on June 19, 2022
Disney Pixar’s movie, Soul, made me rethink about all the wrong ways we live our lives. It is an amazing movie which gives many serious life lessons at each point. Do you know what the soul movie teaches you?
Soul movie is not just about the wrong ways people live their lives and get lost, but teaches the right way to live.
There is a lot more which I want to say in appreciation of this masterpiece, but without wasting any time, let’s jump right into the topic.
Life Lessons From Disney Pixar’s Soul
Pixar’s Soul, by Pete Docter, is a lot more than just an animated movie. There are many simple yet thought-provoking life lessons that are far deeper than you think. In the first half of the movie, you think it is important to find a “spark” or purpose to live a meaningful life, but in the second half, you realize that the way we are living life is wrong.
Here are some beautiful life lessons from the movie Soul.
Cherish what you have you never know if you’ll live to see the next day
At the beginning of the movie Soul, Joe Gardner, a middle school band teacher, is shown to have a great love for jazz music. He was not satisfied with just being a teacher. He always had a dream of performing in front of an audience.
Joe’s mom never supported his dream because she wanted him to have a safe career which gets him health insurance, pension and other benefits.
Soon Joe gets a call from his friend Curly, who says that this might be his lucky day as he can play with Dorthea Williams, leader of her famous band and a professional saxophone player if he gets selected.
He finally gets the gig, happiest moment of his life, isn’t it?
No! he fells into an open pothole and dies.
Lesson: You never know if you’ll get to see the next day. It is important to cherish each moment of life. We always pin our happiness on a goal (when ill get this, ill be happy) but the truth is what if you achieve that goal but never have time to enjoy it? Think about this.
Don’t judge a book by its cover
When Joe Gardener went for the selection test to become a member of Dorthea Williams Quartet, Dorthea underestimates Joe and says “So, we’re down to middle school teachers now”, as she expected little from Mr Gardner.
But when Mr. Gardner started playing the piano, the whole band was surprised by the talent Joe possessed. As Dorthea says, “Joe Gardner, where have you been?”.
Lesson: Underestimate nobody. You never know who possesses some exceptional talent. We generally assume the character and the amount of talent someone can have by mere benchmarks set by society, like if he/she is educated at a good college, works in a big company, is rich or poor, etc. Who knows, you might find a gem from somewhere you never believed you would? Remember, anyone can have the power to surprise you at any point.
Do not fall into an obsessive pursuit of passion
The movie Soul (2020) shows a place called “The Zone,” which is the place between two worlds, spiritual and physical. The Zone is described as a place where humans are temporarily transported when they get lost in their obsessions or anxieties.
Note: There is also some research in psychology which talks about the same thing. Here is research on Wikipedia which talks about “The Zone.” 22 takes Joe’s soul to The Zone, where they meet a hippy named Moonwind. Moonwind explains that the zone and the lost souls are two sides of the same coin.
“Some people get caught up in something that isn’t necessarily bad—cooking, video games, art, but if you do it to the exclusion of everything else in life, you might become a lost soul.”Pete Docter
The film wanted to show the audience that when our obsession with our career, relationships or other stuff becomes intense, we become a “lost soul” and get disconnected from life.
Sometimes we get so obsessed with our career that it becomes our only aim and we tend to neglect everything, our family, relationships, etc. This disconnects us from life because life is not about the zone, it is about living each wonderful moment.
An article by cbr.com explains this plot of the film Soul very well;
Being in “the zone” is presented in a neutral light throughout the film, with those in it not being praised or criticized. Humans can find joy and bliss while lost in “the zone,” like when Joe gets so caught up in his jazz music. While this is an activity that brings him joy, the problem comes when this pursuit becomes all-consuming. Joe falls into this when he feels like his life has no purpose outside the actions that bring him into “the zone,” making it like an addiction that pulls him away from reality.
Lesson: Learning to find balance and joy in life is the key message of Pixar’s soul. Being in obsession or in “the zone” is a good thing only when you know the limited role of it in your life. It becomes a problem when you make it your whole life.
Don’t take life for granted
I wonder how many people are just in the rat race to pursue their dreams on and on every single day. Don’t get me wrong, pursuing your passion is not a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with that process. The thing is that we forget everything just to pursue our single dream.
In finding the ‘Spark’, we forget to see far beautiful things life offers us at that moment. We forget to enjoy the little things we love like the slice of our favourite pie, that happiness during rain, feeling of sand on the beach, we forget how lucky we are to live; we forget to give time to our loved ones; we forget everything for the sake of achieving that one obsession.
Go for your passion, pursue it but do not forget everything else in life because of your obsession with that process.
In the movie Soul, we see that 22 experienced even the mundane things joyfully, like eating the pepperoni pizza, listening to the musician on the subway, and many more things which normally people project as just ‘Regular Living’.
Pete Docter Director of Soul when asked in an interview:
“Pixar films always work on two levels for both adults and kids. But I think this film might find some older viewers thinking about their own lives and paths not taken. What do you hope audiences take away from the film?”
“A lot of people feel like the right way to live is to do that thing that you love and have passion for and then you set a goal and once you get there, then you’ve made it, THE END.
So many people find out that when they either fail to or succeed in those goals, it doesn’t answer everything. It doesn’t complete your life in a way where you say, ‘I’m done. I’m happy now.’ It’s more complex than that.
If you’ve set your mind in the right place, you can have contentment wherever you are. That’s easy for me to say, I lead a pretty nice life, but there’s been a lot written about that and I hope it will allow people to recognize the amazing things that they do have in their own lives that maybe they take for granted or aren’t as appreciative of and that can make all the difference.
Lesson: The film has a positive lesson that we should never take our life for granted. Instead, we should enjoy the small beautiful things life offers us because there is no single path to find peace and happiness, which today’s world has defined as “Follow your passion and you’ll be joyful”. One day you’ll find that this was not it.
Never let yourself down by negativity
There is a scene in the movie where 22 gets into Joe’s body and goes for a haircut. He talks all the stuff about the meaning of life and death.
During that conversation, there is a hater in the shop who tells Joe that he is just a teacher and won’t amount to anything in life. The reply which Joe gives to that hater is provocative.
To which 22 replies, “He is just criticizing people to cover up the pain of his failed dreams.” Even you who are reading this article may have encountered someone who may have spoken some harsh words to you and you might have got deeply hurt by it, but honestly, those words never hurt us.
It is sometimes we who hurt ourselves by repeating those negative comments in our minds and we suffer more. This means that words affect our mood, confidence, and happiness, so why don’t we repeat some amazing, optimistic, and caring words to ourselves?
Lesson: In life, you will encounter many people who will love to put your esteem down, but you should turn a deaf ear to them.
Knowledge without experience is wasted
22 met some amazing mentors in The Great Before which included:
- Mahatma Gandhi
- Mother Teresa
- Abraham Lincoln
- Muhammad Ali
- Marie Antoinette
- Carl Jung
They all failed to make 22 understand about what life is all about and why? Is it worth living? Though they had much knowledge which they passed to 22 and because of which 22 always thought that she knew everything about life she never really experienced it.
The life which 22 was seeing was from mentor’s glasses she never experienced life, but when she did, she fell in love with it.
Lesson: The lesson we learn from Soul is that it doesn’t matter how much knowledge you have about life, what matters is your experience. Who knows, you find another beautiful way of living which you enjoy? Learn something new every day.
The life lessons which Pixar’s Soul gives to us are amazing and make us question about our way of living. The way we live, the way society wants us to live, and our beliefs are somewhere wrong.
We should not perceive life by taking a single path. There are many ways we can live and remain happy and blissfully with a feeling of satisfaction in our hearts. Compassion is just flushed out from our minds because we only know how to achieve this or that.
We as individuals failed to see the truth, the gifts which life has to offer. We are just so involved in our meanings of purposes and meanings that we lost sight.
I recommend you watch Pixar’s Soul movie and comment on the lessons you learned from this amazingly animated masterpiece.
Just experience this wonderful world.
I hope you liked this article. Comment down below your favourite character from the movie Soul. Mine is 22. Who’s yours?