Act I – 1994: Sitting in the Flower Shop Café in Center City, Philadelphia with Jerry, Kay and Joel. The topic of movies comes up. I loved Forrest Gump, they all pooh-poohed it and said Pulp Fiction would be the hit of the year. The next 15 minutes were spent discussing the virtues of Pulp Fiction.

Now I understand why Pulp Fiction was a popular movie. Leave it to Quentin Tarrantino and a great cast of actors (John Travolta in his comeback, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, etc.) to create an entertaining, dark comedy. However, I was answering the question of favorite movie from a different place – how I felt after watching it.

Forrest Gump was also a great movie (directed by Robert Zemeckis), with an excellent cast (Tom Hanks, Robin Wright Penn, Gary Sinise, Sally Field, Mykelti Williamson, etc.). It was funny, insightful, sad and full of hope.

How Does It Make You Feel?
After watching Pulp Fiction, I felt low – just an underlying sense of emptiness somewhere beneath my outer enjoyment of the movie. After watching Forrest Gump, I felt happy and uplifted. I liked the way Forrest Gump made me feel. And if its’ true that all anyone wants is to feel good (isn’t that one of the reasons Wayne Dyer’s work is so popular?), what would you rather watch?

You Get What You Focus On
Many people, wiser than me, have said you get what you focus on. That if you focus on positive, uplifting things in your life (including people you spend time with, your own thoughts, things you read and things you watch), you will generally be more positive.

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Here’s an example, I was talking to Jane a couple of months ago. Jane is a healthy woman in her 80’s, who owns a lovely house and has plenty of money to live comfortably. She has friends and family who truly care about her and always visit and help her. Yet she is anxious and depressed much of the time. She spends a lot of time talking about things that aren’t perfect, aren’t done, need to be done, aren’t right. She looks around her house and notices all of the “bad” things about it.

When I asked Jane about the good things, what was right, what she loved, her friends, etc., she visibly started to brighten up. A smile came across her face and she started to laugh and have fun. Just for that one moment, Jane was happy while focusing on the positive.

When I talked to my mother about this, we started thinking about my grandmother – who is in the same age range as Jane. My grandmother is very healthy and sometimes, you just forget that she’s not in her 50’s or 60’s. And here’s what my mother said: “You see, that’s the difference with your grandmother. She has always had hope.”

She’s Always Had Hope
So if nothing else, if we can’t bring ourselves to focus on the positive, could we at least surround ourselves with hope? Could hope be step one in the process of creating a joyful life? What would allow us to create hope?

Some people say, go on a “news diet” and turn off the news – it’s all negative. Okay, that’s a good start. I get all current events from Joel and avoid it myself (it’s great!). How about taking an inventory of what you are watching, reading and thinking? See how you feel after you take this inventory.

The Forrest Gump Perspective

  • Forrest Gump is a happy, positive, hopeful movie
  • Shows how anyone can succeed
  • Forrest gump is living in the present moment
  • Has no fear, just does it
  • Loves without asking for anything in return
  • Is loved back
  • Does what he loves
  • Takes risks
  • Triumphs over adversity

The Pulp Fiction Perspective

  • Is funny yes, but also edgy, violent and dark
  • Steeped in negativity
  • Greed
  • Crime
  • Unhealthy behaviors are highlighted
  • Fear
  • Goodness & love buried so deep in negativity so that it cannot survive

Don’t We Already Have Enough Pulp Fiction in Our Lives?

  • Negative focus in the news and world events
  • Advertising that makes us feel less than good about ourselves
  • Criticism from others
  • Self-criticism, self-doubt
  • Crime
  • Terrorism
  • Fear
  • Greed
  • Wanting what we don’t have

All great directing, cinematagrophy, acting and realism aside — if it’s true, that what we focus on expands, wouldn’t you rather have the focus of Forrest Gump than the focus of Pulp Fiction?

Wouldn’t You Rather Have

  • People saying they love & believe in you
  • Loving & believing in yourself
  • Acknowledgement & validation
  • People vested in your best interest
  • Your own team cheering you on
  • A “just do it” success mantra
  • Trust & faith

Law Of Attraction – How To Get What You Want In Life
Michael Losier, author of Law of Attraction, says something along these lines:

  1. You attract what you vibrate – meaning you get back what you put your focus on
  2. Law of attraction doesn’t care what you are doing – watching TV, movies, observing someone else, etc. – if it is negative, you are focused on something negative (see #1).
  3. Law of attraction doesn’t care what you did yesterday or in the past, it cares what you are doing now, at this moment – You can start focusing on the positive NOW to get positive results.
  4. The proof is in the pudding – if you want to know what you are focused on, look at what’s showing up in your life. If you don’t like it, see #’s 1-3.

Just Do It!
Simply put, focus on positive, uplifting thoughts, movies, TV, people, etc. and you may just find that you too are starting to get positive results in your life. Haven’t we heard this before? Does it really work?

I wasn’t always sure myself that it did work, until I committed to giving it a test drive. The main thing is that just like any new habit, it takes practice. Everywhere we turn, there is something negative to focus on. And yet, everywhere we turn, there is something positive to focus on as well. Our minds have been trained to focus on the negative, so the real work here would be to retrain your mind to see, notice and acknowledge all of the positives that are out there – and inside of you.

Remember the Marianne Williamson quote: Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

The more you align with the light inside of you, the more powerful you become. Knowing how aligned you are is easier when you tap into how you feel. And when you are truly enlightened, how you feel might even be as simple as this:

John F. Kennedy: Congratulations, how do you feel?
Forrest Gump: I gotta pee.
John F. Kennedy: [turning to camera] I believe he said he had to go pee. Heh heh.


Reality: Pulp Fiction – More Popular To Viewers, Less Popular To Film Industry

  • Forrest Gump: 8.2/10 (107,065 votes) #98 in the top 250
  • Pulp Ficton: 8.8/10 (160,195 votes) #8 in the top 250


The American Film Institute survey agrees with me in it’s top 100 films of all time – ranking Forrest Gump at #71 and Pulp Fiction at #95. However, there were only 1500 respondents and they were all leaders in the film industry.

When Jeeem’s Cinepad did a poll of regular people like you and me, Pulp Fiction was ranked #48 and Forrest Gump was #104.

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