The Wizard of Oz is my favorite movie of all time. It is also a timeless American classic. The movie was based on the book series The Wonderful World of Oz, has been remade as The Wiz, has been performed on Broadway and around the world, and has been said to coincide with the album Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd.
Today, I am going to also reveal some life and business lessons contained in the film. I am not sure if Mr. Baum intended for these to be present, or if it just happened that way, but nevertheless they are there.
The Scarecrow is my favorite character, and arguably the most complex. Throughout the movie he not only shows his intelligence even though he lacks a brain, but he also shows his leadership. At the end, The Wizard gives him a degree, but it comes only after he has done plenty of great thinking. Don’t be stalled by your lack of credentials. Yes, education is important, and I wouldn’t suggest anyone not pursue higher education if possible, but it is not mandatory in order to succeed. You don’t have to look far to find the Michael Dell’s and Bill Gates of the world that succeeded on their own merits rather than on credentials. Get out there, be persistent, don’t be afraid to fail, and go after your dreams!
The Tin Man didn’t have a heart, but he still had the capacity to care. I am sure you have heard that it is better to give than to receive, but you also should know that if you want success, the best way to get it is to help someone else be successful. If you focus on providing value first, the benefits will far outweigh the costs. Giving, whether time, talents, or treasure, should always be part of your yearly goals. On a separate Tin Man note, at the end he was given a testimonial by The Wizard. Even if you know you have a heart, you should definitely collect these for your business. While you selling your business is good, there is nothing better than having someone else sell your business. You should always ask for testimonials from your customers. A letter is good, but a video is the best! With technology today it is very easy to capture and present video testimonials from your customer, and for getting new business these are pure gold!
What lessons could be learned from a cowardly lion? Probably the one thing most people have that are reading this, and the one thing that you have to master if you are going to be successful. Fear. I would say fear is the number one thing that keeps people from succeeding. This is universal, and applies to both life and business. Who out there wasn’t afraid of asking that girl or boy out on a date? How many times have you not done something because of what you “think” might be the result? The truth is that things are normally never as bad as we make them out to be. Don’t let fear stand in the way of your success. Realize right now that you are going to fail, probably many times throughout your life, but those failures should not dissuade you from trying again. In words borrowed from another great film, Rocky Balboa, “It ain’t about how hard you are hit it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward!” The Lion was scared, but he didn’t let that hold him back, and neither should you.
Our main character is just a little girl, but she learns something that many business people have not yet realized. You have to surround yourself with good people, and you can’t do everything on your own. She picks up many friends along her journey to Oz, and ultimately back to her home in Kansas, and each of them help her reach her goal in one way or the other. The Scarecrow provides guidance and counsel, not to mention food (remember his cleaver trick for the apples), The Tin Man provides emotional support when the going gets tough, The Lion braves the witches castle to save her along with the others, and The Wizard provides challenges along the way to reveal the strengths that everyone already had but were not aware they possessed. You need to build a team around you that can help you along your road to success no matter the color of bricks. You never want to be the smartest person in the room, find people that are experts in their field, and focus on what you do best!
The Wizard is a very interesting character in that he held dominion over Oz for essentially no reason at all. Unlike the other characters that had their ability within them but did not realize it, The Wizard had no ability yet he ruled on the fact that he presented himself in such a way that everyone thought he was great and powerful. The lesson here is that perception is everything. When you are in business for yourself, you have to pay attention to how other people see you. If you hand someone a business card with a Gmail address, that says you are not a professional enough business to spend the 10 bucks to get your own domain. Even if you are a one man shop currently, it doesn’t take much to appear much larger. Also, pay attention to how you look. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Spend a little money on some clothes, guys, make sure you shave, and always make sure you have some breath mints. Nothing turns someone off quicker than bad breath!
Hopefully some of these lessons will help you on your road to success. I am sure there are several other lessons that the movie contains that I have missed, so sound off in the comments if you have some additional ones that might benefit the readers. Also, let me know if you have a movie that has inspired you, I will definitely check it out, and maybe convey those lessons here so we all can learn a bit more!