I decided to watch Forrest Gump on my plane ride back from New York. (I have a longer writeup about our trip coming soon.) I hadn’t seen the movie since I was a teenager. Apart from it possibly being the most amazing film I’ve ever seen, I found a lot of inspiration in it — mostly that we can’t doubt the direction our hearts take us.
If you haven’t seen it (go see it right now!!!) I’ll summarize quickly without giving anything away. Forrest Gump is a simple man who grew up in a semi-rural area of Alabama. He’s not a smart guy at all, yet he never doubts himself and never hesitates to pursue his dreams, which are extremely simple in nature.
Throughout the story Forrest finds a new interest in something, either through a promise or a serendipitous experience, and pursues without question and doubt. He’s not smart enough to think twice about whether or not he’s capable, and all he knows is that feeling in his heart that pushes him in a certain direction. He lacks the planning, distracted mind that would otherwise get in the way of his heart.
The story is fictional, and Forrest was very lucky to be in the right place at the right time over and over again. Yet I love being reminded that we need to listen to our heart and let it take us to places that are unknown, difficult, and scary. After all, if you’re doing something that isn’t challenging, it probably isn’t worth doing.
So many of us are too smart for our own good. We over think things far too much. We plan our future more than we live in the moment. We doubt our capabilities. Queue the broken record: stop all that and follow your heart.