Five crucial business lessons from the movie “Up”

If you thought the Pixar animated movie Up was strictly a children’s film, think again.  In reality, it’s a cleverly disguised business-building primer.  Here are five of its key lessons that every successful entrepreneurs should learn and apply.

1.     Think outside the house. Up box cover

Carl Fredricksen, a widowed, retired balloon salesman travels to an unnamed continent to take up residence next to Paradise Falls.  How does he manage this?   He ties thousands of balloons to his house and floats there.  (Yes, this does require a certain willing suspension of disbelief.)  In other words, while Carl used what was at hand and drew on his existing knowledge and resources, he didn’t get stuck in thinking of only conventional ways to achieve his goal.

He also demonstrated his creativity when, during a fight with the bad guy, he spat his false teeth at the villain and stunned him just long enough for Carl to get away.  Bottom line: There are a lot of ways to accomplish what you want

2.     Lack of focus can make you crash and burn.

The bad guy has a pack of dogs, all of whom have special collars that enable them to speak.  However, they remain dogs and are totally susceptible to distraction by rodents with long fluffy tails.  They often interrupt themselves in mid-sentence or mid-activity to watch a SQUIRREL!! run by.  Sometimes this does nothing more than delay a conversation.  However, at one point, two of the bad-guy dogs lose control of their airplanes (yes, yes, willing suspension of disbelief) when one of the good guys yells SQUIRREL!!

While sometimes a distraction just slows things down, sometimes it can create a world of hurt for you.  But, having said that, you also want to remember that…

3.     Tunnel vision can also kill you.

The bad guy, in his youth, had been a widely admired explorer.  However, he was disgraced and thrown out of the explorer community when accused of fraudulently claiming he’d found a huge, unique bird.  He was so intent on vindicating himself that he assumed anyone he encountered in the jungle was after the same big bird, and he killed these threats.  He tried to do the same to Carl, but ended up being killed himself.

Focus is all well and good, but if you develop tunnel vision, you’re likely to not see the dangers around you until it’s too late to save yourself (or your business).

4.     “Act as if” is an extremely effective way to grow into your own power.

The one good guy among the dogs, Dug, was at the very bottom of the pack hierarchy.  However, at one point he managed to trap the head of the lead bad-guy dog in the dirigible’s steering wheel (really, you need to watch this movie).  When the other dogs saw the chief bad guy wearing the Cone Of Shame, they immediately switched their allegiance to Dug.  Dug was good-hearted but not necessarily super bright, and he started to point out to them that he was not the Alpha.  Fortunately, he stopped himself just in time and ordered the other dogs to sit.  Because he acted like the Alpha, the other dogs treated him as such.

When in business situations where you feel less than confident, act as if you are.  You’ll be delightfully surprised to find how acting a certain way soon leads to you feeling that same way.

5.     A big enough “why” will get you through (or over, or under, or around) whatever challenges come your way.

The reason Carl went through all these trials to get to Paradise Falls was because he’d promised his beloved wife, Ellie, that they would go there some day.  Carl initially had planned to travel there conventionally and had even bought airplane tickets, but then Ellie fell sick and died.  Since Carl didn’t want to stay in the old neighborhood without her (the developers were putting skyscrapers up all around him), he decided to take the house with him when he fulfilled his promise to Ellie to get to the Falls.

If the goal is important enough to you, you’ll still have challenges to get through.  You’ll just be bigger than they are.

 

So…What are some of the creative ways you’ve to reach a big, important goal?  Let us know so we can try them, too!

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