About two weeks ago, I watched Moana with my parents. It was such a great film and naturally, I teared up a bunch of times. But I’m not here to talk about that; I want to talk about the short before the movie.
While I cannot link the short here, that’s the trailer.
It is a really good short:
So, SPOILER ALERT, this is going to discuss the whole short. If you don’t want SPOILERS, stop reading. I don’t think spoilers will ruin your experience of watching it but if you want to play it safe, it’s best to stop.
As the trailer showed, the main character is not ‘alone’ per se. His brain and heart are ‘independent’ players in this constant battle. The main character’s heart wants to go out and spend time in the sun, eat food that’s not necessarily good for you, etc etc. The brain says ‘No. We go to work. We gotta do what we have to do. Responsibilities FTW’. So the heart gets bummed out and basically the character becomes ‘depressed’-ish.
He’s at his job. The brain is looking around he sees everyone in the same position, bent over their tables, doing their paperwork, basically robotic. His brain imagines the inevitable future of him being old and miserable, and doing the same job, being a robot all the way to the grave.
His heart’s not in it, in the most literal of senses, presented visually on the screen.
So his brain gives the reins (literally) back to his heart, so his heart can do what it wanted to do. He goes out, he has a ridiculous meal, he buys ridiculous sunglasses, he jumps into the sea.
He’s rejuvenated. He goes back to work. He’s enthusiastic. He finds joy in what he does, he makes it a bit of game. And the other people around him start to notice, and it’s infectious. They’re all out of their slump.
The movie then cuts to the credits where it shows the main character going out with his work friends, going on a date with the girl who sold him the ridiculous sunglasses etc etc. There’s even a gorgeous sunset.
But here’s the kicker.
That bit where his brain lets his heart do ‘whatever’, it’s not at a random time at work. It’s not like he left in the middle of the day. It was during his lunch break. And I love it for that.
The main character did not quit his job because he was unhappy. He did not ‘up and leave’ just because he was feeling like it.
He had fun in his free time. He used his free time for self care.
I thought it was really clever what the creators did. This is an excerpt from an interview they did.
Leo then went on to explain how one of his goals for the short was to reach those who aren’t at a job they’re happy with. “How do those people feel, you know? I really sympathize with them. And I think it’s a way – it’s a love letter for them. For them to have hope, but at the same time we have to be practical too,” he said. “So that’s why I think it’s ‘Inner Workings’, because the world as a whole doesn’t change. The character…because he changed, he ends up kind of – it’s contagious, he ends up kind of influencing the people around.” x
‘We have to be practical too’.
Self care is a phrase that gets thrown around a heck of a lot, especially in the past couple of years. When I first heard of it, I was reminded of Steven’s Covey’s ‘Seven Habits of Highly Successful People’, namely the seventh habit aka ‘Sharpening the Saw’. Steven Covey, the late famous motivational author and speaker, said that the seventh habit is highly important, citing the example of attempting to saw down a tree without taking time to sharpen your instrument- you’d be more successful if you had taken time in between to make sure the blade was in working order.
But he also says that it’s the seventh habit is seventh in line for a reason. It’s important, but it’s not the end all be all. The other habits ie: Being Proactive, Beginning With The End In Mind, Putting First Things First etc, those are very important, too and should not be neglected. The seventh habit is the most fun but you can’t spend all your time taking time off, because that’s no use to anyone, most especially yourself.
Which brings me back to the short:
The main character learned how to find a balance between doing a job that may not be your ‘100% interest in life’ and jumping into other things that you actually want to do, things your heart desires. Most of us do not have the luxury of being spontaneous all the time. It’s an odd concept, but we need to carve out time to be spontaneous, to do things that challenge us, or simply something enjoyable.
I’m not an expert in balance, clearly. But in my time in Melbourne, having a ‘sort of’ job, I learned how to make my week better by planning things for my free time. And that made the week more pleasant because there was something to look forward to. That gave me comfort.
If you have not seen Moana, do go watch it. It is visually appealing, definitely more intriguing and, in my opinion, a better movie than Frozen.
Oh, and watch the short that comes before it and really think about it. It gave me food for thought.