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Life Lessons We Learned From Finding Nemo

Enough of us can say that there's a huge spot in our heart dedicted to the Disney Pixar movie Finding Nemo. What many people don't realize is that Finding Nemo isn't just another animated movie. Instead, it is another one of those Disney movies that can teach underlying life lessons. You don't have to be a Finding Nemo fanatic like me to agree that there are dozens of life lessons throughout the movie that are inspiring and relatable. Here are just a few of the things that Marlin, Dory, and the other fish of Finding Nemo teach us about life:

1. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

We will never stop tearing up when Dory realizes that without Marlin, she can't remember things anymore. If that's not fate, I don't know what is. Point is, it wasn't until Marlin tried to leave her that she realized she needed him. Let Marlin and Dory be an example, you really don't know what you've got 'till it's gone!

2. Listen to your parents!

Marlin repeatedly tells Nemo to get away from the boat. The second Marlin knew they were going to "the drop off," he knew Nemo could be in trouble. Nemo was too stubborn and like most of us, wanted to stand up to his parents. Clearly, the lesson Nemo learned here was to always listen to your parents. Although we may not realize it, parents know best!

3. Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone.

Squirt and Crush are a great example of a good father-son relationship. Crush allows Squirt to "fly solo" and swim outside of the EAC (East Australian Current) and Marlin immediately gets worried. Squirt comes back into the current just fine. This teaches us that we shouldn't be afraid to go outside our comfort zone, and that our parents shouldn't be afraid to let us do so!

4. Bullies never win.

Darla is known as the "fish killer" in Finding Nemo. The movie teaches us that bullies never win through Darla. Although she violently shakes the bag that Nemo is in, she ends up with a huge fish in her hair and dirty water spewing from the drain into her face.

5. Don't judge a book by its cover.

When Nemo and Dory first run into Bruce, Marlin immediately thinks he is going to kill them. While he is thinking logically, he is still judging Bruce by his cover. Bruce turns out to be in a group of sharks who try not to eat fish. Hence the classic line: "Fish are friends, not food!"

6. Beware of strangers

Marlin is a father who just wants to protect his son. He uses his fatherly wisdom to teach Dory, and the rest of us, how to be safe in this big crazy world (the ocean for them.) After being chased by a shark that they trusted, Marlin is not about to trust the giant spooky fish that is lurking far away from them. He is right to be careful, even though the whale ends up helping them. 

7. Don't give in to peer pressure.

The three friends that Nemo makes at school are a bad influence on him. He doesn't want to swim out into the open water, but they make fun of him for being too scared. Once Nemo's father arrives, Nemo succumbs to the peer pressure and swims up to the boat. This leads to his capture and shows us that no matter what people try to convince you to do, follow your instincts and don't give in.

8. Find joy in the small things life.

After a rough few encounters, Marlin is pretty down. Dory tries to cheer him up by singing "just keep swimming," but it doesn't work all that well. When they see the light, they realize how beautiful it is and Marlin manages to find joy in it, even though he's having a horrible day.

9. Never give up.

This is of the most significant lessons taught by Finding Nemo. Marlin and Dory face numerous challenges trying to find Nemo, but they never give up. By the end of the movie, they find Nemo. No matter how many challenges life throws us, we must push through the way like Marlin and Dory did!

10. Trust your friends' advice

A lot of the time people have trouble trusting anyone but themself. Dory and Marlin's friendship teaches us to listen to what our friends are saying and to trust them. That's what friends are for!

11. HATE is a strong word. 

I think we can all agree that Nemo ends up regretting the words that came out of his mouth. After telling his father that he hates him, Nemo is taken away from his father and never expects to see him again. No matter how angry you get at somebody, remember how strong of a word hate is! 

12. Addictions are hard to overcome.

As harsh at it sounds, addictions are not easy to overcome. Bruce and his shark friends are a great example of how just one "sniff" can change who you are. Once he smells Dory's blood he immediately starts chasing her for "just a bite." Lesson learned here is to be careful what you get yourself into because it won't be easy to get out!

13. Humans really are selfish.

Most of us don't notice how good we have it. I realized how selfish we humans can be when Chump the Shark said, "Humans, they think they own everything." It's true that we do take advantage of our superiority as the human race. Be kind and gentle to other creatures, they are living beings too.

14. How to be optimistic. 

Dory and Marlin are almost complete opposites. A lot of the time they look at each situation differently. When they are stuck inside the whale's mouth, Marlin is worried that his mouth is half empty with saliva. Dory teaches us to always be optimistic by saying "I'd say it's half-full."

15. Just keep swimming!

Last but not least, the number one lesson learned in Finding Nemo is to "just keep swimming." When life gets you down, you can't give up. You must keep swimming and life will go on!


If you are a sucker for Disney movies and you haven’t heard already, Finding Dory is coming out February 2016!

Who knows what life lessons we will learn in another awesome Nemo movie!

I'm a sophomore business major at URI. I'm from River Edge, New Jersey. I find joy in surrounding myself with my favorite people and making the best out of every situation. But i also find joy in eating food and laying in my bed.
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