5 Life Lessons

Key takeaways

  • Certain life lessons are so basic to success, they show up unexpectedly in movies and other storytelling media, whether the author meant to put them there or not.
  • We all get stuck sometimes. Remembering the lessons that help you get unstuck can make things move along to the next level more easily.
  • In brief, the five basic lessons involve listening, taking action, finding your authentic self, trusting, and learning from small mistakes so you don’t make bigger ones.

A few years ago, a movie called What About Bob? hit theaters. It starred Bill Murray as Bob and Richard Dreyfuss as Dr. Marvin, his psychiatrist. There was a young boy, who played Dr. Marvin’s son, Siggy. In one scene, Siggy is trying to learn how to jump into a lake off the edge of a dock and Dr. Marvin, his father, can’t get him to do it. But of course, crazy Bob (Bill Murray) gets Siggy to do it.

Why this story? Recently, I came across an article on entitled The Five Life Lessons from Improv and I think these relate to all five life lessons incorporated into that movie:

  1. You have to listen. Siggy wasn’t listening to his father, but he certainly was listening to Bob. And listening to him helped Siggy move forward.
  2. If you’re standing at the edge of a pool, you should jump in. Many times in life you can’t just keep standing there. You need to take action and move forward. After standing there quite sometime, Siggy took action and jumped in.
  3. You need your true self to do what you need to do. When you’re standing on the edge of some decision in life or the edge of a pool, only your true self can give you the courage to do the thing you need to do — move forward and jump.
  4. Trust matters. To earn Siggy’s trust, Bob had to spend time with him and build a relationship. Many times, trust is a very important factor in all of our relationships. We’ll do things others ask us to do as long as we trust that they’re looking out for our best interest. We take the necessary action because of this trust. And, that’s extremely important when talking about money and anything related to important elements in our lives.
  5. Applaud mistakes made taking good risks. We all take a lot of risks in life and that’s how we learn, by taking a small and simple risk to start off. When one of these risks turns out to be a mistake, it’s ok. It’s failing forward. Many times, we avoid taking even these small risks. We don’t want to fail and think we can do things right the first time. That fear of failure makes us stall. It’s extremely rare that we do things right the first time. We must make mistakes to make progress. One thing we’re fond of saying in our industry is, “Something had better be going down in your portfolio at all times because you won’t have a strong, robust portfolio otherwise.” This constant activity keeps your portfolio diversified. Mistakes happen along the way, but we learn from them and things get easier over time.

I really love these life lessons and, by the way, if you didn’t see the movie What About Bob?, you might consider picking it up. It’s a pretty good comedy. Until next time, enjoy.


Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country.  He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business BattlefieldWhether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.

Inertia, often caused by being overwhelmed, keeps smart people from planning. TransformingWealth™ , Coyle’s proprietary approach, is designed to get your arms around the big picture so you can make informed financial decisions. Take the first step to living the Good Life Managed Well™, and schedule a complimentary TransformingWealth Preview Meeting.
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All information is from sources deemed reliable, but no warranty is made to its accuracy or completeness.   This material is being provided for informational or educational purposes only, and does not take into account the investment objectives or financial situation of any client or prospective client.  The information is not intended as investment advice, and is not a recommendation to buy, sell, or invest in any particular investment or market segment.  Those seeking information regarding their particular investment needs should contact a financial professional.  Coyle, our employees, or our clients, may or may not be invested in any individual securities or market segments discussed in this material.  The opinions expressed were current as of the date of posting, but are subject to change without notice due to market, political, or economic conditions.


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