INSPIRATION IN UNLIKELY PLACES A LESSON I LEARNED FROM BILL MURRAY
If you think about February, you are likely to think about Groundhog Day. And if you think about Groundhog Day, you are going to think about Bill Murray’s iconic movie of the same title. Most of the time when Murray’s name crops up, it’s because of one of his comic movies, like “Scrooged,” “Ghostbusters,” “Groundhog Day,” “What About Bob,” or, one of our family favorites, “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” But I associate him with something else entirely: the Art Institute of Chicago. Back in 2017, I took a trip to the Art Institute for my 25th law school reunion. While I was there mingling with old friends, a museum guide pointed out a painting they said was one of Bill Murray’s favorites, dating back to a time when he was not a household name. It was a simple painting of a young, barefoot peasant girl. She’s pictured standing in the middle of a field in the dawn light, holding a scythe like she’s ready to do some manual labor. As I took it in, the guide shared something Bill once said about the painting: “I thought, ‘Well there’s a girl who doesn’t have a whole lot of prospects, but the sun’s coming up anyway and she’s got another chance at it.’ So, I think that gave me some sort of feeling that I too am a person, and I get another chance every day the sun comes up.” The painting, which is called “The Song of the Lark” by Jules Breton, and that quote really made an impression on me. When I got home, I did a bit of digging and found out that Bill discovered the painting after his very first comedy show on stage, which didn’t go very well. He was heading toward Lake Michigan, feeling ready to die, when he stopped into the Institute on an impulse and saw it. Apparently, its impact on him was profound, and an article in the
Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of strategies to deal with this tough reality. Lately, I decided not to run from feeling down. Instead, I try to acknowledge how I’m feeling, then look behind the emotion to find out what’s causing my discouragement or sadness. If I accept the feeling, I can move through it rather than cover it up or distract myself from it. I’ve found from experience that those aren’t healthy strategies! Some feelings aren’t there to be solved, but these days, I try to channel even negative ones into motivation. Like Bill said when he looked at the painting, every day the sun comes up again and we have another chance to do better. If a legal problem has you feeling discouraged, my team and I can help you find the light at the end of the tunnel. Call our office or email us at info@ sierracrestlaw.com today to start looking.
Huffington Post even credits the painting with saving his life.
The whole thing made me realize that while it’s inspiring to see people at their best (like Murray acting it up in “Groundhog Day”), it can be even more inspiring to see how they react when things aren’t going their way. Every single successful person out there has probably had a moment of real discouragement when they thought about giving up, but most of them turn it around. The way Bill did it, by looking at art, is pretty cool in my opinion. I’ve definitely had my own moments of professional discouragement. As a lawyer, the more you want to help your clients, the more discouraging it is when there’s not a quick solution to their problems. It can be equally frustrating when you do see a solution and your well-laid plan runs into the reality of other people and their motives. Basically, there are no guaranteed victories in this line of work. It’s great when everything comes together — and I work hard to make sure that happens more often than not — but it can also offer some character-building to come up against adversity.
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