Every man has had a role model he aspires to be like at some point in his life, whether that person is a scientific genius with massive potential to impact the world or an ordinary Johnny-on-the-spot from Chicago with a knack for getting a laugh out of people in the most awkward of ways.
Whether your role model points you in the right direction or a little off road, it's best to have one, even as an adult, to keep yourself checked and balanced, someone whose personality screams fearless, forthright, unique, calming and yet embraces the good-natured playfulness of childhood.
(Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
For many men, including myself, that role model, for better or worse, is Bill Murray. But there's more to the guy than the one-piece jumpsuit, proton pack-wearing, larger-than-life icon that has dominated the silver screen. There's also the guy who is more recently known as the existential, fun-loving all-American man, the little acorn that became the oak tree, and he's the one folks are learning to appreciate more than the improvising movie man of the past. He's the real Bill Murray, and every man should be a little more like him. Here's why:
1. He's dependable, no matter what.
Bill may have his hang-ups about getting back to people in a timely manner or getting back to people at all, business or pleasure, but when the man says he's going to do something, he damn wells does it. And he's not one to commit to something he has no intention of following through on. Not many men have 800 numbers for answering machines or would decline on making a hit movie sequel they know they could cash in on, but men of integrity sometimes do.
Many find commitment and reliability to be a sense a little too heightened for their brains, but it's as simple as meaning what you say and saying what you mean. Anything less is only going to disappoint and upset another party. When you know you're heart isn't in it, speak your mind and people will move on, simple as that.
2. No one can rain on Bill Murray's parade.
Everybody has a little rain in their day, literally and metaphorically, but why should that stop us from getting somewhere? As you can see, Bill is a man who doesn't take rain as a defeat, but an opportunity for growth, and entertainment. Think about these things the next time you think you're down and the world is standing on your head. Umbrellas aren't just for people afraid to get wet; they're symbols of controlling personalities.
Instead of trying to control everything and anally fixating on the details of your life, let the rain in and go with it, maybe just not at a major televised sporting event. Remember, you can always tell who the tourists are by the ones with the umbrellas. Get wet and get weird.
3. Bill Murray doesn't take any guff, and he sticks up for his pals.
How many times has your best buddy gotten roughed up while you sat idly by and watched, perhaps even took photos and videos with your phone? Well, no more. It's about time we set down the phone, rolled up the sleeves and stood up for our fellow man.
There are plenty of goofy-haired, loud-mouth sons of bitches the world over that we polite society types will eventually come face-to-face with at least once in our lifetime. And we'll be a sad sack of spoiled, overweight YouTube watchers if we're going to let our friends be pushed around anymore. So the next time you see some wildly psychotic animal outside of a bar take off his shirt for no apparent reason and charge at one of your friends, just remember how Billy stood up for his friend Davey that one time on that completely unstaged late night talk show standoff.
4. He's comfortable clowning around.
Look at him; he's beautiful. It takes a real sack of marbles to be as comfortable with your self-esteem and sexuality to dress as a clown, especially when it's not All Hallows' Eve. The overlying tip here is to find comfort with who you are and what you like to do. So what if you're into board games and spending most of your time watching "Designing Women" on repeat; that's who you are! It's not worth it to spend your time doing something you hate, trying to fit in with everyone and avoiding the term "weird." Embrace it and get comfortable with it, because it's a long life, gentlemen, too long to pretend you don't love "Designing Women."
There's also something to be said about not taking yourself too seriously, and clowning around is the full manifestation of a man who doesn't take himself too seriously. If we can't laugh at ourselves, then what's the point of living, dammit!
5. Bill Murray has a reputation for trying new adventures.
Although we might be afraid of the outcome, both adventures and misadventures are part of what makes life great. If that means you have to be tied up to the mast of a ship in order to enjoy the wonders of the sea, then so be it. Not everything comes easy to everyone, but what would be the fun in it if things always did? Take a chance on trying something new, and the benefits could quickly outweigh any phantom risk you have fearfully built up in your head. Look at Bill here. He doesn't give a hoot; he just keeps on living.
6. Bill Murray admits when he's wrong, and he's honest with people about their looks.
You can throw a stone in any room and hit a guy who has a hard time owning up to his own mistakes, but it takes a real man to admit when he's wrong. It doesn't matter if it was a small error or if you just hit a guy in the face at a golf course with a bottle by accident, the right move is always to own up to it and make it right.
Bill has surely had a few slight moments of indiscretion, but here he immediately took blame for his actions. How often do you see that? Where there is an accident, there's usually a long list of excuses, whining and lack of accountability. The stand-up move here is to accept your mistakes for what they are and then bend over and take one from your insurance company.
Life can get messy, but it's the guys who have the rags to clean it up that get the nod of respect and the vote of confidence. It's the hit-and-run jerk offs who have another thing coming, but we all know they'll get theirs when everything comes back around. Live well and with a clear conscience. People notice these things.
7. Bill Murray is not afraid to crash a party and ultimately make it better.
The road to success, for some, can be measured by possessions and dollar signs in their bank accounts, but it could more aptly be measured by how open you are to life, how adaptable you are to curveballs, and the number of parties you go to where you don't know anybody in the room.
Murray said it best when he noted that it doesn't really matter who you are as long as you bring something to the party. And how true it is, even if that fiesta is just the age-old party of life. It's really all about manners and the things we learn as children that teach us how to embrace the randomness of everyday living. And if you have a tour that is dedicated to crashing random parties across the country, just like Bill did in 2012, well then that is the tastiest recipe for success yet.
8. Bill Murray doesn't wait for the bartender; he becomes the bartender.
Such is the same in life. Nobody ever got anywhere by waiting for someone to give them a handout. Taking the initiative is the only way to get where you want to be, even if you have no clue as to where that is.
The Buddhist proverb "the student appears when the master is ready" is another way of interpreting what is possibly the most untaught, yet most necessary skill for attaining happiness. It's not just a work thing, but an everyday life thing. Holding an empty cup will only get you pennies, whereas getting up and moving can give you the world, or something existential like that. What's cool is that you don't have to know where you're going, but you do need the gumption to follow your instincts and take advantage of any low-hanging fruit. Then see where the road takes you.
9. Bill Murray is a Cubs fan, so he's loyal as a dog.
It's easy to support the winning team, because then there's a constant stream of happiness that fills every crack in your body. But being loyal to something or someone that is more or less hopeless is a true sign of loyalty, patience and maybe a little insanity. Bill has said that he's learned that being a Cubs fan is a lot like living honestly; things won't always go the way you want them to, but there will be good days and bad days, big wins and little victories.
You don't have to be philosophical to understand that winning all the time is unrealistic and a false hope to have in life, and losing is what makes us humble and loyal and keeps our heads from swelling like pumpkins while making us better at what we do. You're more likely to learn a thing or two about yourself in the face of defeat rather than up high on a cloud where you never have to question your own actions. That's what gods do, and you're probably not a god. But if someone asks you if you're a god, you say, "Yes!"
10. Bill Murray is one of the greatest motivational speakers ever.
Everybody needs a little pick-me-up when they're down once in awhile. The trouble is that most people feel it's someone else's responsibility, an easy task to shirk off and let the next good Samaritan handle. Guys especially should be more in the habit of creating motivation, whether you're pumping someone full of adrenaline or calmly moving them in the right direction.
This scene from 1979's "Meatballs" seems appropriate for teaching people how quickly a person or group can go from sulking downers to optimistic chanters. Sometimes people just need to hear that magical phrase, "You'll be all right." From there you can gauge just how motivational you need to be, but it goes without saying that your encouragement will be well appreciated.