the hakuna matata way


“Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase. Hakuna Matata! Ain’t no passing craze.

It means no worries for the rest of our days. It’s a problem-free philosophy.

Hakuna Matata!” ~The Lion King

For 2 years now, I have been waking up to that song from The Lion King. But since 1994, I’ve been living by that motto. That’s right, I got my life’s motto from a Disney movie that I saw when I was 8. Crazy? No. Genius? I think so.

But what exactly does it mean to me? Yeah, the song kind of explains it but doesn’t really get too in-depth into it, which is fair. It’s a movie for kids, but as I found, a movie with a damn good message too. One that I think can resonate with anyone.

get mad – then get on with your life

Just think about the last time you got really mad at something. Maybe someone cut you off on your drive to work. Your DVR didn’t record your favorite show. Someone broke into your car and stole your CDs. You get the idea. Instead of getting all pissed off though, try this. Say “Hakuna Matata” and move on.

Now don’t get me wrong. It’s okay to be mad. In fact, I think it’s unhealthy to not get mad. It’s an emotion and suppressing your emotions is never a good idea. But think about it this way. If you were on the Titanic when it hit the iceberg, would you spend 10-15 minutes yelling at the iceberg and/or the crew, or be figuring out a way to get on a lifeboat and save your life? Exactly. Instead, vent about it and move on.

You can’t control that guy who cuts you off, or your DVR from screwing up, or that douche who broke into your car. And you sure can’t ask that iceberg to move. Remember, shit happens. It’s what you do after it happens that really matters.

stress? what stress?

Another great way to employ the “Hakuna Matata” philosophy in daily life is when you feel overwhelmed or stressed. It’s a common feeling but one that is so incredibly unnecessary. I love reading the Facebook statuses of college students around exam time. They all seem so stressed as if their life is gonna end because they have 3 exams and 2 papers to write. I mean, really? Is it that bad? Two words for ya: Hakuna Matata.

Just make a to-do list. Focus on one thing on the list, finish it, and then move on to the next. Trying to tackle 3-4 things at the same time though is counter-productive. It’ll just frustrate you. And when you get frustrated, you just go slower. Asking for help isn’t bad either. No one is Superman or Wonder Woman. I work in TV, where everything is about deadlines. But you’ll never see me freak out. That’s because if you stay calm, things get done faster. And because you have a clear head, you know when to ask for help when you truly need it and not when it’s too late.

So if you have 3 tests and 2 papers, prepare for the tests but once you get tired, just stop. If you’re planning a big event and running out of time, get what you can done and then ask for help. Don’t succumb to that overwhelmed feeling. I’m pretty sure President Obama has much more to worry about than you do — and even he has time to play some basketball.

dying? fuhgeddaboudit

Oh, and here’s a big one. Why worry about dying? I know Jeff has touched on this many times but it really makes sense. Live each day like it’s your last. When you simply look at any problem, say Hakuna Matata, and then make a decision. It’s what cancer patients do all the time. They make the decision to fight the disease, promote awareness, and do things they always dreamed of. By doing that, it leaves more time for them to enjoy life to its fullest. Sitting around and saying “why me?” just wastes precious time. And none of us know when we’re going. So stop thinking about the bad in your life and focus in on the good you have and hope to get more of.

I complain a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean a ton. And about anything. Such as about people who wear jeans and sandals. Or how people misspell words. Or anything involving the Cleveland Indians. But I don’t let it consume me. Once it consumes you, you’re letting it affect your life, kind of like how Wile. E. Coyote was consumed with killing that damn Road Runner. That’s stupid. And as Forrest Gump wisely said, “stupid is as stupid does”.

Now, the “Hakuna Matata” way may not be for everyone. There are some people that just love to be miserable. They enjoy the roller coaster of emotions they go through every day. But those are people who are also more stressed, less happy and not making clear decisions. Not the best prescription for a great life.

So next time you’re feeling stressed, depressed, frustrated, pissed off, sad, overwhelmed, worried, etc…, remember the wise words of a meerkat and warthog named Timon and Pumbaa: “Hakuna Matata”. And then, move on.

Guest post courtesy of Matt Barnes


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