Where we are: 2017 – cycle 2 – Week 4: Word – day 6 & 7.
“Hello, My name is Forrest, Forrest Gump” is the opening line to the 1994 Movie starring Tom Hanks – Forrest Gump was one of the most popular movies of the 1990’s Grossing over 320M USD.
Pay attention because the movie can actually teach us a lot about keeping your word.
Anyway – it won 6 Oscars including best picture and best actor.
Currently it is #13 on the Internet Movie Database (imdb.com) list of top 250 movies of all time.
Though if you are in India you might disagree with this because the Indian movie scene is massive and dwarfs the output and popularity of Hollywood.
Anyway – here’s the story.
Forrest Gump is a simple soul, not gifted with great intelligence but he has a strong sense of right and wrong and is single minded when given a task.
This works to his advantage throughout his life.
Running – Ping Pong – Shrimp Fishing, he finds a way to excel in everything he does.
During the course of the movie, he is sent to fight in a war and meets his “best friend in the whole wide world” Bubba, and his commanding officer Lieutenant
Bubba has a dream of one day owning a shrimp boat and the two hatch a plan where Bubba would be captain and Forrest would be first mate. They would be partners
This is the cornerstone of some of the most significant parts of the movie.
Have you seen this movie? Can you think of some ways that people kept their word?
Let’s get straight back to the story: the scene is a bar in New York for a new years party 1973.
Forrest Gump: I gotta buy me one of them shrimpin’ boats as soon as I have some money. I made me a promise to Bubba in Vietnam, that as soon as the war was over, we’d go in partners. He’d be the captain of the shrimpin’ boat and I’d be his first mate. But now that he’s dead, that means I gotta be the captain.
Lt. Dan Taylor: A shrimp boat captain?
Forrest Gump: Yes, sir. A promise is a promise, Lieutenant Dan.
[Lt. Dan starts to chuckle and shouts]
Lt. Dan Taylor: Now hear this! Private Gump here is gonna be a shrimp boat captain. Well, I tell you what, Gilligan. The day that you are a shrimp boat
Captain, I will come and be your first mate.
Forrest Gump: Okay.
Lt. Dan Taylor: If you’re ever a shrimp boat captain, that’s the day I’m an astronaut!
You’ll see above I’ve highlighted all the references to a promise in bold.
But Gump is still in the Army and doesn’t have any money to buy a boat.
He finds himself on the All American ping pong team and plays in China. upon his return he finds himself discharged from the Army – and so, he simply goes home.
Once home he finds that his ping pong exploits in China have attracted some attention and he is asked to ‘endorse’ a ping pong paddle.
PAYDAY! Gump is given 25,000 USD for his trouble endorsing the ping pong paddle.
So – he goes down to Louisiana and buys a boat.
Soon enough, Lt Dan is on the dock as Gump is bringing his boat back in.
Here’s how it goes:
Forrest Gump: Lieutenant Dan, what are you doing here?
Lt. Dan Taylor: Well, I thought I’d try out my sea legs.
Forrest Gump: Well, you ain’t got no legs, Lieutenant Dan.
Lt. Dan Taylor: Yes, I know that. You wrote me a letter, you idiot. Well, well. Captain Forrest Gump. I had to see this for myself. And I told you if you were ever a shrimp boat captain, that I’d be your first mate. Well, here I am. I’m a man of my word.
Forrest Gump: Okay.
Lt. Dan Taylor: Yeah, but don’t you be thinking that I’m going to be calling you “Sir.”
Forrest Gump: No, sir.
Actually, I think the most interesting character in the Forrest Gump movie is Lt Dan.
If you haven’t seen it recently maybe have a look and see what I mean.
So, we can see, Gump kept his promise to Bubba, and Lt Dan kept his promise to Gump.
Some might say that there was no ‘obligation’ behind either of those promises but I’m afraid that’s not quite true.
When we say we will be there for someone and we don’t follow through, a little bit of trust and love dies.
It’s a little bit like the story of the boy who cried WOLF! when there was none, thinking it very funny, but when the wolf really came to eat his sheep no-one came to the rescue because they thought it was another false alarm.
Don’t let it happen to you.
So maybe this week it’s been hard to understand how keeping your word helps build your character, confidence and self esteem but I think some of the examples we’ve looked at do just that. I hope you can begin to recognise places where your habits in this area are holding you back and that you’ll be able to work on them, excuses, of course is a good place to begin.
Tomorrow we roll over to week 5 of the current cycle: Waste and will be looking at ways to run a ‘tighter ship’, that’s ship, not shrimp boat by the way.