One of my favorite movies when I was in high school was Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray as Phil Connors and Andy MacDowell as Rita Hanson. I liked it because it was hilarious. How could you not like a movie with Bill Murray who still makes me laugh from "Caddyshack" and "What About Bob?" I grew up in Pennsylvania as well, so Groundhog Day was a thing that we actually celebrated every February 2nd. Let me elaborate on the plot. A Pittsburgh weatherman, Phil Connors was assigned to go to Punxsutawney on February 1st. He has this assignment every year and he lothed going. The small town hicks as he called them drove him crazy. He was too big for this town and he made his contempt known. Phil was a total jerk and made every effort to get through the day of February 2nd, 1993. He scarred everybody in his path. When he finally laid in bed, he was so thankful that the assignment was over. Phil then awoke to the Sunny and Cher hit, "I've Got You Babe". Was it Deja Vue all over again as Yogi Berra once said? Yes it was. Phil experienced February 2nd all over again and everything was exactly the same as yesterday. It was the worst nightmare in Phil's life, but it was really happening.
This character is the total opposite of the last "Don't Be Like" episode. In "Don't Be Like Clark W. Griswold". Clark was a total optimist. He never saw the potential for bad, only the potential for good. There wasn't a shred of realism in him. Phil Connors is a total pessimist. He sees only the bad in the forsaken town he was stuck in and none of the good that was all around him. As Phil wakes up day after day, you can see the transition. First, Phil realizes what is going on. He is stuck in Punxsutawney on February 2nd, 1993. This caused severe depression and in the first several days, he just tried to end his life. He was successful each time, except that he woke up to the same Sunny and Cher "I've Got You Babe" song again. He had hit rock bottom and many times people with serious mental problems need to get there before they can start climbing out. Do you know anyone in your life that hit rock bottom and did a total 180? It happens all the time. And it happened to Phil Connors. Along the way, he found the futility of trying to kill himself. He had to accept his fate. He was in Punxsutawney hell. That's where Rita enters in. He thought his producer was attractive, but didn't really care for her. He stopped trying to kill himself and made it his aim to impress Rita.
Phil had every part of February 2nd timed to the second. He could save the cat as it fell from the tree. He studied Rita and learned about her as much as he could. Then on a new day, he would wow her with his understanding of her. This started to win her affection. Over time, Phil's heart changed like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. He turned into a man of extraordinary skill and compassion. Some calculate (the movie doesn’t say) that Phil Connors endured 12,403 Groundhog Days or 33 years and 358 days. It took that long for Phil to change before he experienced February 3rd! It's a crazy story line, but makes for a fun movie. Phil changed from the cold-hearted, pessimistic man to a warm-hearted, optimistic one in a mere 33 years. In the end, he wins the girl and sees the beauty in the small town that he hated before. Do you see the lesson here?
Phil Connors was a total jerk. He was an arrogant, self-centered pessimist. He was unlikable and no one wanted to be around him. Clark was likable, but others had trouble being around him for the other extreme. And that's what this podcast is about. Don't be an extreme on the optimist or pessimist side. Be optimistic with a healthy dose of reality or be a realist with a healthy dose of optimism. Either way, you'll do well in life and attract others to you versus repel them.
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