What Madagascar 3 Taught Me About Facing My Fears

I love cartoons. I love Disney movies. I love animated classics.

So it came as no surprise to me that one of the perks of having a kid is that you get to watch all the cartoons you want. And – for the first time since I was 12 – not feel a little bit ashamed to be doing so.

Anyway, we recently received the Madagascar set from my in-laws. I shouldn’t say “we.” My son received the Madagascar set from his grandparents. But let’s be honest, I get a lot more value out them then he does at this point.

I’ve seen the first two movies a couple times and I got a kick out of them. They’re cute. The characters are loveable. I like it whenever they break into, “I LIKE TO MOVE IT, MOVE IT!”

Call me a weirdo. It’s okay.

But then I watched Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. It still has the same great characters. They still go on another wild adventure before making it back to NYC. But something is very different about this movie. At one point near the end, I got chills. I was so gushingly happy for the characters and for the changes they had affected that I just got chills. And every time I watch that scene now it’s like a part of me just beams.

That’s weird, right? Okay, just making sure I wasn’t the only one who thinks that’s weird.

Possible spoilers and plot details.

So here’s my assessment of what provoked that reaction. The overall story is that the group of lovable zoo animals happens upon a group of circus animals that are having a rough go of it. Their act is lousy. No one wants to see their show. They don’t know how to get it together. The zoo animals decide that their only chance to help them get a tour over in the US (and effectively, finally get them back to NYC) is to revamp the show and make it an experience that people really want to see.

In the beginning, the circus animals protest. They have a way of doing things. It’s what they’ve always done. They know their roles and they know what the people want. But it’s obvious that they’ve just grown accustomed to what they think the people want, and really, their act is very outdated. After a rousing pep talk, the leader of the Zoo animals convinces them that change is good and that this is what they need to be successful.

So they go through all of this training, each of them personally confronting their own fears about doing things differently, and the result is just AMAZING. It’s so amazing. It’s just. Chills. Seriously (I’m so weird, I know).

Here’s a clip of the end product, but really, it helps to see the whole movie in order to grasp how far they’ve come…

What I took away from that…

1.  Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to see objectively.

This happens to me all the time. At work, at home, in life in general – people constantly correcting me, giving me advice, showing me their methods. Yes, sometimes it’s uncomfortable to get those outside perspectives, but it almost always helps you grow in one way or another.

2. Just because you’re doing something a certain way now, does not mean that’s the only way…or the best way of doing it.

Working in the digital world, I’ve learned that if you’re not readily open to change – in all manners – you’re essentially a hoarder of bad business practices. You need to be willing to let go of things that you hold so tightly in your control. Again, yes it may be uncomfortable. Yes there may be a learning curve for others, but in the end you’ll be so happy to find a better way of doing things – it may even free up time for you to reach even greater heights. Imagine that, eh?

3.  (This is a biggie) Really amazing things can happen when you face your fears or try something new.  

Right now, I live in a safe little bubble. I have a dependable job. I have a daily/weekly routine that I stick to. I try to make only rationale decisions that are made in safe environments. The biggest risk I’ve taken in the last six months was changing up my hair color. And trust me, that wasn’t risky. I’ve been blonde dozens of time. So I really can’t practice what I preach here. And that is where I think the chill factor comes in. I’m seeing what happens to characters that face their fears and the amazing after math of those decisions.

Am I really where I want to be…

And could I ever be brave enough to push through my fears to get to where I want to be? Well, that’s the question I keep asking myself.

If you have any advice, I’m all ears.

In the meantime, I think there are some hidden gems in Phineas and Ferb that I need to go uncover. 

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