What makes Forrest Gump so successful in life?
I watched again Forrest Gump recently with my wife and daughter, we all really enjoyed it. And as his story unfolds, on the bus stop, I could not stop but wonder if it would be possible. Could someone be as successful as him? Without even trying…
Who is Forrest Gump?
Let’s start here in case you did not watch the movie. Forrest Gump is the main character, played by Tom Hanks, in the 1994 movie of the same name by Robert Zemeckis.
It tells the story of a man, who is not so bright and we follow his life from his childhood to his forties. And we get more and more amazed as it unfolds because it’s just an insane story. This man achieves so much and has such an impact on other that it seems impossible.
So I asked myself, what makes Forrest Gump So great at life? What makes him stand out?
A hint, it’s not because he’s simple-minded.
So what is it then?
He is a great communicator
It’s a bit paradoxical here and Forrest Gump most likely does not come to mind if you’re looking for great communicators.
So bear with me and let me explain.
It all narrows down to how he listens and speaks. He does really listen and he is also thrifty with his words!
He knows how to listen
First he listens actively, he lets other people talk at will and never cuts them. The most extreme example of this is when Bubba tells Forrest about all the things one can do with shrimps over, what seems to be, the course of many days.
More touching moments are when he listens to Jenny or Lt. Dan.
He speaks with meaning
Second, he is a man of a few words. Most of what he says actually happens on the bus stop when he tells his stories to the other people waiting. In the story itself, he barely talks and when he does, it’s always a short and to the point.
We’re naturally drawn and listen this sort of people because what they say is important.
He takes action
His story could be summarized as a series of triggers and actions… And not much in between, he does not ponder or think, he just goes for it.
Two scenes particularly come to mind about this. First when he’s on his shrimp boat with Lieutenant Dan and they receive a radio message telling that his mother is sick, it does not take him the seconds to jump off the boat, swimming to the shore to go to his ailing mum.
The other big moment is when Jenny unexpectedly leave him and he goes on a run that will last years, he just felt like running as he puts it.
When Forrest starts something, he does not give up and continues until it’s done.
When he starts ping-pong, he practices over and over until he becomes a renowned Champion.
When he starts the shrimp business because he promised to Bubba. At first it’s a big failure. He spent all his money on a boat and his catch could not even make a meal for one. But he continues and he eventually gets lucky.
When he goes on a run after Jenny left, he starts for no reason and does not stop until he feels it’s time to, 3 years later! Before this, he just keeps running from one coast to the other and back.
He does things simply
There is another thing about Forest’s way of taking action. He stays basic. First he runs… That sums his football career and his heroism during the war. That’s also the sentence we all remember from the movie.
Run Forrest run!
Then he embraces ping-pong and here again, back to the basics, he keeps playing and playing until he masters he masters the sport.
And when he runs, here too, it’s just about running, not about his gear, or the itinerary, he just keeps running forward.
Basically, it seems to me that Forrest Gump is always in the flow no matter what he does.
He does not pretend
Forrest Gump is and always stays himself all along his eventful life! It’s the same person. No matter who he is with, be it his mum, Jenny, his friends or even the 3 presidents he met. And he just candidly speaks his mind, similarly to when he tells his story later on. In a way, he is a master in assertiveness.
So I hope you’ll be inspired by Forrest Gump as much as I have been.
And what about you? What do you think made him so successful outside of luck?