The Two "Super" Important Truths Revealed In Groundhog Day (And One Giant Fib)

Remember the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray? If you're not of my vintage (or just don't particularly like Bill Murray) and didn't get to see the movie, the story revolves around a weatherman who is stuck in a time loop, and is forced to relive the same day over and over again until he gets it right.

By the end of the movie Bill Murray's character can play piano, speak French, and play hockey. He's also learned to fly a plane, whip up a perfect ice-sculpture using just a chainsaw, and can rock out on the bagpipes (and of course he also gets the girl).

Groundhog Day is a great metaphor for two very important truths about the human condition. The first truth is that you can become a master in just about anything if you are prepared to commit to daily sustained practice.

The second truth is that mastery takes many many many days to achieve, and a lot of the time it's a long boring grind, practicing the same skills over and over until they become body memory.

We implicitly understand this and the words "Groundhog Day" have entered the lexicon as a metaphor for living the same tedious day over and over again. We use it to describe the feeling of being stuck in a rut, or the feeling of being stuck in a job that we hate.

We'll talk more about those two truths in a moment (as my 4yr old would say, they're super important), but first let's take a look at that one giant fib we mentioned earlier.

The Big Fib.

Unlike in Groundhog Day, we don't get to relive the same day over and over again. Whatever we manage to achieve in a day is locked in. And if we don't achieve anything that day, we're stuck with that too.

Either way, that day is gone forever.

As of the writing of this page, I'm 46 years old, married, with a boy in pre-school - no dog yet, but having just house-sat a pooch for a week, I'm pretty sure the family will be voting one in very soon - and a dog.

Assuming I choose to retire at 65, I've got roughly 19 productive years left. That's 19 years to put aside all the money I'll need to enjoy my later years. 19 years to become a master at something. 19 years to make some sort of positive difference in the world.

All in all, that's not all that many years. It's just 6,985 days.

Considering I've already spent over 17,000 days getting to where I am now, that's a pretty small number of days left get a whole lot of stuff done!

I don't know about you, but when I stop to really think about it, that's some pretty scary shit.

And therein lies the big fib... Unlike in Groundhog Day, we don't have all the time in the world. In fact, overall we don't have much time at all. We certainly don't have any days to waste doing nothing more than existing.

Take a moment to let that sink in.. and feel free to do a little mental arithmetic... Maybe figure out how many productive days you have left in the kitty. It's a useful-while-not-being-very-pleasant reality check.

Now consider this quote:

“When it comes to our ideal-related regrets, we let them linger… a year goes by, we don’t do anything. Two, three, 20 years go by and that small increment of negative builds up to a big feeling of regret when, unfortunately, a lot of times it’s too late to actually do something”

- Shai Davidai

With that said, it's important to acknowledge that achieving our goals, even the minor ones, is often easier said than done. Life, yeah? The truth is you've probably got a lot of different reasons why it's different for you, right?

Let's explore that now.