5 Amazing Life Lessons You Can Learn From The Simpsons
The Simpsons is regarded as one of the funniest shows in TV history. Despite a general belief that the series is far past it’s best years at this point, there were still a long stretch of seasons where it was delivering the big laughs. But apart from the humor the show has given us, we have also learned a lot from the show over the course of its historic run. Although it’s primarily an animated comedy series, The Simpsons has done an amazing job in teaching and promoting some very important life lessons.
You could take life advice from self-described gurus, or you could turn to America’s favorite yellow family — The Simpsons.
The Simpsons is far and away one of my all-time favorite TV shows. The Simpsons have captivated different generations of audiences over the past three decades. The characters, their wit and ridiculous plot lines combine to create a master piece. I’ve been watching the show since I can remember. No matter how many times I re-watch an episode, it still makes me laugh. It helped shape my sense of humor, and I quote lines from episodes all the time.
The Simpsons focuses on Marge, Homer, and the rest of the Simpson family as they live their daily lives in Springfield.
They may make mistakes along the way, which can lead to some funny moments. But they also let the characters (and audience) learn from them. Here are ten life lessons that we can learn from The Simpsons. Through the lives of the titular dysfunctional family or the mayhem that transpires in the town of Springfield, there’s plenty of opportunities for education on The Simpsons. Sometimes it’s learning the lessons along with the characters, more frequently it’s by learning from the many mistakes they make.
Last but not least, The Simpsons is one of the most entrepreneurial shows on television.
Throughout its more than 500 episodes, the characters engage in, and interact with, dozens of small business ventures. Their hometown of Springfield is Anytown USA, where the citizens participate enthusiastically in the local economy — including establishments like Krusty Burger, Lard Lad Donuts, King Toot’s Music Store, Luigi’s, the Gilded Truffle, Red Blazer Realty, The Android’s Dungeon, the Kwik-E-Mart, and of course Moe’s Tavern.
Whatever the case, these are some of the most valuable life lessons The Simpsons have taught us.
I know what you’re thinking…it’s a show for children. Although you are right, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t watch it because I’ll bet it will teach you a lot about life in general. Over the last fifteen or so years of my life, I’ve probably watched a few hundred episodes of The Simpsons, and I’ve learned a ton. Here are five life lessons that the Simpsons have taught me!
The Simpsons Lessons #1: Don't Be Bitter About Others' Success
As we see episode after episode the embarrassing, painful and demoralizing situations that Homer Simpson finds himself in, you might start to think that he is one of the unluckiest people alive. However, in the classic episode “Homer’s Enemy,” we see Homer’s life from the outside and suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad.
Judging yourself based on others’ metrics also has a very dark side.
When you spend your time thinking about other people’s milestones, it can make your own road feel much, much longer. Like what you’ve accomplished isn’t actually worth a damn. Frank Grimes is a new employee at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant who has worked tirelessly his entire life to reach this point. He is amazed and infuriated that a man of Homer’s incompetence has reached even greater heights. This eventually drives him crazy and leads to his death, all becomes of his own jealousy.
We often think we can’t start doing something because we aren’t smart, educated, or experienced enough.
But if you want to give lessons to someone, you don’t have to know everything about that particular topic. Sometimes it’s enough to only know more than the person you teach. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge just because somebody else knows more than you. There are still many people who don’t, and your advice or lessons can be damn useful to them. When you want to learn from professionals, the amount of knowledge they have may discourage you. Contrarily, looking at the ordinary guy who learned something himself gives you the feeling you can learn it yourself as well.
If your business idea is any good at all, competition is inevitable.
But successful businesses don’t sweat their competitors; instead they focus on what unique value they bring to the table. In 22 Short Films About Springfield (Season 7), the Springfield police crew are enjoying lunch at the local Krusty Burger. The conversation shifts to McDonald’s, a restaurant Chief Wiggum has never heard of, but is told has “over 2000 locations in this state alone.” Krusty Burger doesn’t fear the competition because they have a loyal (and very sheltered) customer base. The police crew discuss the differences between the two restaurants and conclude they’re happy with the familiar fare of Krusty Burger. Later, Krusty’s popular Ribwich sandwich draws a cult following that calls themselves Ribheads.
Once you know the reason why you’re envious, you can instead focus on the positives in your life.
Even if you don’t have everything your friends have, you still have something to appreciate. Perhaps you love your smile or you have some dogs that mean the world to you. Even if it’s something as simple as a nice routine each day, being more positive will lead to a better you. Keeping up with the Joneses comes from constant comparison, and this breeds unending envy. Take a step back when you feel the urge to compare, or correct yourself if you catch yourself slipping up.
The Simpsons Lessons #2: Be Yourself
Lisa Simpson has always been smart and sweet throughout The Simpsons, but she hasn’t always been comfortable with that. In the season seven episode “Summer of 4 Ft. 2“, the Simpsons take a vacation together, where Lisa meets some new kids. Wanting them to like her, Lisa pretends to be cool and not as smart as she actually is. But when her new friends find out how she really is, they embrace her and are glad to finally know her. This teaches us to never change who we really are for other people.
It isn’t worth changing yourself to impress people.
The episode “Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield” depicted Marge’s efforts to fit in with a group of aristocratic women at the nearby country club. While Marge was enjoying the attention of her new found affluent peers, she was constantly stressed to live up to their standards, while pushing away those who already loved her for who she was. In the end, Marge felt more at home chowing on Krusty Burgers than at a posh Country Club ball. Everyone’s felt a desire to be cool or part of the popular crowd in their lives. But those who liked you for who you already are truly are the only ones worth your time.
As a business owner, not all business models will be a great fit for you, and that’s OK.
Some people are natural-born salespeople, while others are better suited to different roles. In Season 7’s Bart Sells His Soul, Moe transforms his tavern into a family-friendly restaurant. Uncle Moe’s Family Feedbag enjoys some brief success, but the surly bartender isn’t cut out to be friendly and polite to this new demographic of customers. He eventually snaps at a little girl and decides the family restaurant business isn’t for him. Rather than continue to pretend to be something he’s not , he returns the bar to it’s previous state — and with the transition is visibly more relaxed and content.
I’m sure you’ve experienced those moments of doubt — when you feel like you just don’t fully believe in yourself.
An even worse feeling is that of self-loathing or lack of self-acceptance. What I’ve learned over the years is that one of the main reasons I used to feel unworthy was because I was listening to what other people were saying about me and telling me to do. Therefore, I was NOT true to myself. I would do things just to please others. And that is toxic behavior, or at least that’s my opinion. I ended up comparing myself to others and I felt hopeless. But, I was just lacking self-acceptance and confidence, which is so important these days. Learn to love and appreciate yourself wholly, and you will notice the world around you change for the better. Your relationships will improve, and life will feel a bit more satisfying.
Being authentic is at its core about being in total integrity with what is true for us.
But most of us were not raised to be truth tellers, really — we were raised to people-please. We were taught that white lies are totally okay. We were taught to pretend and perform and make nice. But pretending — even if it’s relatively meaningless, even if it is meant to protect someone else — is a form of lying. What is true for us tends to make us feel stronger and more free. And lies tend to feel like constraint and constriction. Loving and accepting ourselves — and all our flaws, including our anger and fear and sadness and pettiness — is, in the end, the only thing that enables us to be authentic. It is also the greatest gift we can give ourselves. It is the reason why authenticity makes us happier and healthier and more connected to those around us.
The Simpsons Lessons #3: Stupid risks are What Make Life Worth Living
Although he perhaps takes a few too many stupid risks, some that a even real life person should certainly not take, there is an element of truth to Homer’s advice. All of the brilliant adventures and memorable events that stem from The Simpsons usually come from one of Homer’s ideas, and there is something to be said for his impulsiveness.
You regret the things that you don’t do, and this appears to be Homer’s philosophy as he is a YES man who enjoys living life to the fullest.
He dolls out this profound piece of advice to Lisa, who becomes lost after Homer allows her to take the bus by herself to go to a museum. He goes after her and manages to find her, and they then later break into the museum together and Homer accidentally makes a historic discovery. Across 26 seasons, Homer Simpson has held over 200 different jobs (the highlights being an astronaut, a boxer, a CEO, a teacher… the list goes on). Homer loves to take risks and he does not let his average intelligence prevent him from taking on opportunities, that traditionally, would be beyond his capabilities. While most of us will not amass an impressive resume as Homer but we can still take various risks in our careers. We just need to let our passion lead and take the risk of saying yes to the opportunities that come our way.
Failure might turn us into better people, but that doesn’t make it any less difficult to take risks.
It turns out that building confidence can help in overcoming the fear of risk-taking. Entrepreneurs must go up against tremendous odds to build a successful business. That means taking big risks without knowing the outcome. What makes them do this? Confidence, and a lot of it. Taking a risk to achieve a goal requires courage to face the fear of uncertainty. No matter the outcome, either way, we grow through the process and become more resilient and confident. Better yet, building those skills helps in taking more risks and improves the chances of achieving future goals.
Life is a series of calculated risks — nothing more. Everything that you decide to do has a margin of risk.
No outcome is ever 100 percent certain and, therefore, any attempt at anything has a chance of complete failure. We risk everything, every day of our lives without knowing it. There is always a chance that walking outside will kill us. There’s a chance that we’ll never make it to our destination, a chance we won’t get to see our loved ones again, a chance that tomorrow will never come. Life is all about risks — you take some and you avoid others. The life you live depends on the choices you make, the risks you take, and how lucky or unlucky you’ve been. Depending on how lucky you feel you’ll most certainly want to avoid certain risks — like walking across a highway with a blindfold.
If life is really like a game, then the key difference would be that you really don’t have a choice in whether you want to play it or not.
It’s one big table and everyone has a seat. But that difference doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to risk. In fact, I think of life and risk as the same thing. Everything about life is a risk. You could get into an accident or become ill at any moment. These are the everyday normal kind of risks that you often can’t avoid. It’s the risks you have to actively search for and make a part of your life that matter most. They can bring you pain if they go wrong which is the biggest reason people avoid them. But they also make life worth living when they go right.
The Simpsons Lessons #4: Success Is the Dividend of Sweat
Bart Simpson drearily thought he had lost all hope when he failed his history exam in “Bart Gets an F”. But after he verbally displayed his knowledge, earning him the additional passing points and an unintended smooch for his teacher Mrs. Krabappel, Bart had persevered and was granted passage to the next grade. Even when your goals and dreams seem impossible to grasp, hard work and perseverance will always see you through to the finish line.
At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words.
Maggie Simpson doesn’t speak. That is what she is known for (that and being the cutest character). But she doesn’t even need to. She always has a huge influence on any storyline. She has simple actions that make a big impact. We all have dreams, goals, career aspirations, new year’s resolutions .etc. But the best of us rely on the power of consistently taking proactive action to turn our dreams into reality. Actions turn intentions into existence.
Dedication leads to improvement.
Many times in the show, Bart has been described as an underachiever and proud of it. While that might be true most of the time, sometimes that attitude has led him down a path that even he is scared of. Terrified by the possibility of flunking, Bart begins to apply himself to work. We see, for the first time, Bart’s real struggles with learning and the dedication he’s willing to put in. While he still flunks his test, Bart shows that he did learn and that his hard work did pay off.
Everyone has the ability to work hard.
The difference between someone mediocre and someone who has achieved greatness is the determination and drive they put into what they do. Through hard work even the mediocre can achieve success. There is never any short cuts to success, but hard work complimented with the desire to achieve, determination, and always being motivated to get after your goal, it makes success becomes bigger. Hard work only works as hard as you do, and the level of success reached will only be as high as an individuals work level.
If you stumble along the way or fail at something, don’t give up. Forming discipline, work ethic, and productive habits is a marathon, not a sprint.
Take some time to refocus and try again. Don’t see failure as a failure. Learn from it and adjust your plan using that knowledge. The most successful people in the world are where they are because they failed more than anyone else. Michael Jordan got rejected from his high school basketball team, then came back, played in college, and became the greatest player ever. Be like Jordan and others; have the discipline to get back up, dust yourself off, and live your life to your fullest potential.
The Simpsons Life Lessons #5: Sacrifices Must Be Made For The Family
Homer Simpson is not a perfect family man. He is a lazy and inattentive husband and father who makes a lot of trouble for his family. However, on occasion, we have seen examples of just how much he truly loves them all and what he’s willing to do to keep them happy. In “You Only Move Twice,” Homer gives up his dream job when he discovers the rest of the family is unhappy in their new life. Even more touching, it is revealed the reason Homer stays at his abusive and terrible job is solely so he can provide for his family once Maggie is born.
Your family is definitely worth fighting for, too.
Homer was reluctant to fight for his employee’s dental plan only until he saw Lisa unhappily trudge upstairs with her rusted jaws of death. The sight of his daughter’s struggle pushed Homer to do what’s right and get their dental plan back. It’s not always easy to support your loved ones, but their improved happiness (and dental hygiene) will make it all worthwhile.
Although your family may be embarrassing, they still love you.
In “Lisa the Vegetarian”, Homer and Bart constantly chastise Lisa over her decision to no longer eat meat. This pushes Lisa to her boiling point, where she kidnaps Homer’s suckling swine and runs away to the roof of the Kwik-e-Mart to hang with fellow non-meat eaters Paul and Linda McCartney. While Lisa was frustrated with how she was being treated by her family, she realized that they loved and accepted her. Even if your family says or does things you find embarrassing, they’ll still love you until the end. Just make sure you don’t kidnap one of their pigs to prove it.
Your family is also one of the most priceless gifts that God gave you in your life.
The relationship that you have built at home countersigns what kind of person you are today. Your family has a big contribution in molding you as a person. Mostly, your family is the very best thing you have in your life today. You could only have one family in your entire existence. Family is something you can’t replace with anyone or with something in this world. They are unparalleled with the others. You could only have one family, hence cherish them. Your parents and siblings are your loyal armors in your battle through a lifetime. They are your priceless treasures.
In a family, we love each other unconditionally, despite our failings.
Love can take the form of guidance or consolation, or also punishment or reproach. These are all valid expressions of love, through which we help each other to weather difficulties, learn from our mistakes, grow, and become better people. Our family is the atmosphere in which we’re loved for who we are, and not for what we do or do not do. This pure love is what gives us the energy to develop all aspects of our personality — physical, emotional, and spiritual — strengthening our personality and giving meaning to our lives.
Okay, so there you have it — some of the things that make up The Simpson’s philosophy of life. Enjoy what they say for the laughter they bring you. So next time your peers berate you for wasting time watching The Simpsons, you can now tell them that you’re learning valuable lessons about life!
There are a lot more lessons to learn from The Simpsons (especially centered around family and friendship).
I believe that the show would not be the success it is today without intending for such lessons to be subtly embedded in it’s story. Whether you clicked on the blog post because you want to learn about life and personal growth, or you’re here for the Simpsons references, let me leave you with this: the crux of it all is to give yourself the best chance of success. Push yourself without wearing yourself out.
There are very few shows that can boast the same brilliance, the longevity, or the cultural impact The Simpsons can.
It has been consistently on TV since 1989, and even those who have never took an interest in the show know who Homer Simpson is. Yes, the majority of the last episodes are nothing to write home about, but occasionally there are big moments that deserve to be seen and appreciated, or at least acknowledged more so than they have been.
And don’t forget spreading the word: peace and chicken 🙂
Did I miss any of your favorite life lessons about The Simpsons? Let me know in the comments below. With more than 500 episodes, I’m sure I missed some good ones! And if you liked this post, please share it!
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.