The hit movie Ghostbusters is more than 35 years old, yet it still is highly popular and enjoyed by fans both young and young at heart. The reasons for the continued success of Ghostbusters goes beyond comedy, there are important life lessons to be learned.
The lessons I learned as a kid are still relevant all these years later and will be long after I’m gone from this world, or perhaps still around in ghostly form only to be captured by some future version of the Ghostbusters.
Here are 5 Life Lessons I Learned from Ghostbusters
Believe in Yourself
One of the funniest moments in the movie is when Gozer asks Ray “Are you a God?”. When Ray replies in the no, Gozer then tries to kill the Ghostbusters. Surviving the attack, Winston tells Ray, “Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say YES!”.
Yes, it is a very funny moment, but the point is if Gozer asked Dr. Venkman, who had given Dr. Stantz a positive nod before Ray replied, he would have no qualms about saying “yes”.
And while I may never face mighty Gozer, the lesson taught is that you should believe in the best version of yourself. It will boost confidence and stretch your boundaries. Whether you are a human or a God.
Break the Rules When Necessary
Living life to the fullest means following a set of rules that helps to keep you on track. But sometimes circumstances dictate that you must break the rules in order to advance.
A great example in Ghostbusters is when Dr. Spengler warns his fellow Ghostbusters that they should never cross the streams. Egon explains the power from the resulting implosion would destroy them and everything surrounding them.
Yet at the climax of the movie, He realizes they must cross the streams as it is the only way to rid New York of Gozer. After a little thought, Peter gets excited about this new plan.
The lesson to understand is that sometimes you have to break the rules in order to succeed, but only do so when you have no other option.
Expect the Unexpected
During the climax, Gozer threatens our heroes by choosing a form of destruction that would come from one of their own minds. The night air is quiet and Ray tries to think of the most harmless thing and winds up having to face it in the form of Mr. Stay Puff.
This hilarious sequence which may be the funniest in the film is also an important lesson. Sometimes you must face your worst fears and sometimes that may come in an unexpected form.
Life is full of unexpected events, and you can not predict all the bad things that will happen to you. It may not be a live Stay Puff Marshmallow Man, but how you handle yourself when faced with the unexpected will help you grow as a person.
First Impressions are Not Always Correct
I have lost track of the number of times I had a first impression about a person, place, or thing only to be proven wrong over time. While most of the time my false impression did no harm, there have been a few people, places, and things where my false first impression led to situations that I later found uncomfortable and flat out wrong.
It can be hard to shake a first impression. But in Ghostbusters, Winston thought that Gozer was a man, even though it had taken the form of a woman. The impression that Winston had was based on his own experience and expectations, but Dr. Venkman ultimately said, “Whatever it is, it has to get by us.”
I have had first impressions of people where I believed that they could not get the job done, that there was something I should not trust, or I feel I would not like them. In most cases, I was proven wrong, and all that came from a first impression that had no bearing itself on the person.
What I learned from the Ghostbusters is that first impressions are always going to be there, but I should not invest in them. Give it more time and put aside that impression until that person has a chance to prove themselves.
It can be easy to get down on yourself. I’ve been in many situations where I felt that everything was coming to an end. Getting fired from a job was one of them.
When I got fired from a job that I loved, I was at the bottom. And yet a chapter from the Ghostbusters helped me put some perspective on what had happened.
Early in the movie, all three doctors get fired from their university jobs. For most people, this would seem to be the end of the world. After all, the pay was good, they could experiment to their heart’s content, and now that was over.
But Dr. Venkman looked at what happened as an opportunity. As he told Dr. Stantz, “For whatever reasons, Ray, call it fate, call it luck, call it karma, I believe that everything happens for a reason.”
He was right, things do happen for a reason, and rather than wallow in my own misery, I picked myself up and went on, much like the Ghostbusters did by starting their own business.
And while I didn’t start a mission to rid New York of ghosts, I did manage to clear the air, pick up my spirits up and move to a better place.
For me, the lessons I learned from the Ghostbusters matter just as much today as they were when I originally saw the movie many years ago. It is one of the reasons why the film still resonates to this day and its teachings are timeless. So if you haven’t already, sit down with your kids and watch this American classic, they just might learn something.