5 things we can learn from the Lion King pt-4 : The power of choices


We are continuing our series on the Lion King.
I trust you have, as I also have, enjoyed the material we have covered so far.

I honestly did not know, we could extract so many nuggets from a Disney animation.
The truth is, inspiration is found everywhere.
Some find it in nature, some in songs, some in science.
I tend to find it a little bit everywhere. Actually, that’s not a correct statement. I don’t find inspiration, it usually finds me.


In the previous post, we saw why Simba was stuck in his comfort zone : a lack of purpose.
We entitled that post “The Purpose of Life is to find a Purpose in Life”.
The whole point of us being on this earth is to really find out why we are here in the first place.

The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why. — Mark Twain

I love that quote.
The day of our birth marks the beginning of our existence. The day we find out why marks the beginning of our life.

What is existence without a purpose? When you add a meaning or a reason to your existence, that’s what we call life.
For to exist, is to have life, to live is to have and pursue a purpose in life.
To exist is to draw breath, to live is to have a reason to spend that breath.
To merely exist is painful, to live is delightful.

Once we find the meaning of our life and have a purpose, we are compelled to leave the comfort zone to pursue it.


The history of free men is never really written by chance but by choice; their choice! — Dwight D. Eisenhowe

We make several choices every day.
According to various sources, an adult makes about 35 000 choices a day.
I would venture to claim that the first choice we make every day is whether we wake up or hit snooze.
I must admit that I have hit ‘snooze’ a few times just to  get another five minutes of sleep which never seems to be a good idea.
From the moment we make the first decision of the day to wake, we are faced with thousands of choices. We have to choose what to wear, if we want coffee, how we want it, when do we want.
Luckily, most of the decisions we have to make in a day are trivial. They are not that consequential.

Choices are exclusive.  Choosing one thing often means rejecting another.

Courtesy of Purpology.com

Choices are also determinant. Your choice of restaurant determines what your experience will be. For example, if you go to an Italian restaurant, you are not going there for the butter chicken curry. Your choice predetermines that you will most likely have an Italian specialty such as pasta and whatever you choose will have an Italian touch to it.

Choices are also opportunities. They open up ranges of more choices. For example, if you make the choice to go on a road trip instead of flying. Each of these choices will open up a new array of choices. For example, on the road trip you might choose to spend a night in a hostel or a hotel and meet your favorite saxophonist performing live.
On the other hand, on the plane you might be seated next to your favorite writer and have a conversation of a lifetime.
Choices open up opportunities, therefore it is vital to make the right choices, understanding that most of the times, choosing is rejecting.

The Power of choices

In light of the context of our story today, we come to realize all these years, Simba was one choice away from the throne.
Think about it. All he had to do was make a decision.
He had a choice to either live the rest of his life in grief and guilt about his father’s death, embrace the temporary solution offered by friends (Timon and Pumba) or go back to Pride Rock and be crowned King.
His ability to fulfill his purpose was attached to a choice. In others words, making the right choice was the key to becoming the King he was inside.

Though, as we covered in the previous blog post, Simba had found a meaning and purpose to his life after encountering both Nala and Mufasa, he still had to make a choice. He had to choose whether he would stay or go back. He had to choose between the comfort zone and the stretch zone. He had to choose between “It means no worries, for the rest of your days” and reality : face the past and take what belongs to you.
Had Simba decided to remain in his comfort zone, he would have nobody else but himself to blame.

I have found that it is very easy to have a victim mentality. We never take responsibility for anything, we blame others for our conditions.
Perhaps, the things that have happened to us were none of our fault, granted. However, to use this misfortune as fuel to keep the fire of bitterness and grief burning is a choice, pure and simple.
Some people hold on to pain with a ferocious grip as if their lives depended on it.
When pain is all you have known, pain becomes all you ever want.
I have known people that were so bitter about things or towards people that they could not let go. The pain mingled with their being that letting go was equivalent to losing a part of themselves.
It is a very sad thing when pain and bitterness become our comfort zone. We don’t want to allow forgiveness and healing to come into our hearts because they are foreign to us.
There is a saying that goes “it’s better to live with a devil you know then with an angel you don’t know”. This is directly applicable to such people.
They would rather live with the devil of hurt and bitterness because that’s what they are familiar with. They lament on their past, and host nightly pity parties thinking their fate is defined by some being other than themselves.
They won’t give the angel of joy and forgiveness a chance to make their acquaintance. They build up walls and will not trust anything other than the pain they have embraced,

The power is in your hands

If choices are powerful, we are more powerful because we are the ones with the responsibility and the privilege of choosing.

I will now pull the curtains of my own privacy to share with you something I have learned few years ago.
I am a very sensitive person. I don’t have a photographic memory as such but I remember microscopic details about negative events, sadly.
For instance, if I was to go to a soccer game and experience first hand my favourite soccer team (Manchester United) winning against their bitter rival, I would go back home ecstatic but would not remember the event in a lot of details except that it felt amazing.

In contrast, if I was to get in an argument with a person I trust and love, I would remember specific details about the argument. I would not recall with precision the words that were used. I would most likely paraphrase them except if the argument was a short then I can quote them verbatim.
What I will remember though is the tone, the facial expression of the person when they uttered those words. I will remember the look in their eyes. I will remember their body language. If there was a random honk of a passing car at the moment, I will remember that. I would remember the look on the persons face when the honk of that car resounded.
I tend to hold details about sensory data collected during an intense emotional moment.
Because my making was such, it was so easy to be hurt by people I cared about.

As I would go back to my house and ready myself for bed, I will live the argument again in my mind with the same details and end up miserably hurt.

One day, as I was hurting because of something someone did or said, I realize that I was in my bed, incapable of sleeping, grieving and hurting while the other person was probably in the felicity of dreams.
I made a decision that day, and it was in 9 words : No-human-can-have-that-much-power-over-me.
That did it. I had the power in my hands and my made use of it.
I was free. I could only be hurt if I made the conscious choice of accepting hurt. No other human could have power over how I felt, over my health, over my heartbeat, and blood pressure. No human could by his or her words decide whether I would be smiling or hurting.
I still see many people who have not used the power that is in their hands to choose. Consequently they are constantly targets of emotional abuse.

There is a quote I hold very dearly :

Every slave holds the power to break his bondage. — William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar.


What is it that you want ? If you have found your purpose in life, what hinders you from pursuing it? If you are a victim of pain and heartache, what’s stopping you from pulling yourself together and being in control of your emotions?
The answer to all the above is one word : choice.

You are ONE decision away from your objective.

5 Things we can learn from the Lion King Pt-3 : The purpose of life is to find a purpose in life.


Here we go again for another chapter in this series that we started a few weeks ago.

I trust, or should I say hope, that you have enjoyed what we have covered so far from the adventurous story of Simba.

As usual, I will start with a flashback.


In the previous chapter entitled “Your comfort zone is your enemy”, we have discussed how Simba’s biggest enemy wasn’t his uncle Scar but his own comfort zone.
Nothing else kept him away from the throne. Nothing prevented him from claiming what was rightfully his. Nothing else kept him living according to the “Hakunah Matata, it means no worry” cloud of illusion. His enemy, the comfort zone was more dangerous, vicious and efficient than Scar.


The Purpose of Life

Philosophers, writers, musicians and other artists have wondered about and discussed the purpose of life in the variety of their crafts.
You have perhaps also wondered about the purpose of life. Another word for that is “meaning of life”.

I distinctly remember the phase of my youth where I asked myself a lot of existential questions. Why did I have to be born? What is the point of existing. What is the meaning of life.
These are deep questions that each one of us, I can now assuredly affirm, have asked ourselves.

Having exposed Simba’s comfort zone as his most threatening enemy, I feel obligated to assess why Simba was OK to be comfortable.

simba hammock

The Hakuna matata lifestyle seems like an awesome philosophy at first. It’s a propaganda. A falsehood that we can go through life with no worries once the past is behind us.
It entices us to believe that it takes strength to put the past behind us. Perhaps it does, but it takes greater strength to face it.

The Hakunah matata lifestyle can only go for so long. At some point, Simba had to”wake up and smell the coffee”.
Simba was comfortable because he did not have a purpose. All that mattered to him was to roam about life and have as much as fun as possible as long as the memories of the past were constantly blown away by the turbulent winds of entertainment.

An imitation of happiness is a clear limitation of happiness. JP

Anybody who acts, lives in a pretence of happiness is living a life with self-imposed limits.
Substituting true happiness with a smiley face is the saddest reality.
Those who  build walls of appearances to come across as strong are actually weaker than those who publicly tear because, in the words of Victor Frankl ,” tears bear witness that a man has the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”
It’s better to have the courage of suffering than the cowardliness of false happiness.

This is the reason why Simba was stuck in his comfort zone. He thought he was happy. He felt like a new world opened up to him and certainly a new world of illusion and la la land opened to him. He was without purpose.

And there was Nala…

Nala reminded Simba of his purpose. He was meant to be King. No matter how many miles away he ran from his past, he was bound to face it.
She wanted to do something about her reality. Not run away from it but face it. She ran to find help and she help she found indeed, disguised in the skin of a coward Lion, who by the appearance had every kingly attributes but with the feeble character of the lowest in food chain.
The encounter with Nala got Simba thinking. Is she right? Can I go back? I can’t go back.

Only at this point did he start questioning the comfort zone.
We need such people as Nala, or circumstances and events that will shake us up a little bit and cause us to reflect on where we stand in the race of life.
At that point, we question everything. The foundations upon which we have built a wall of insecurities, the truthiness of our belief systems, the possibility of a different outcome; Everything that can be shaken is shaken. In moments like these we start thinking about the purpose of life.

The Purpose in Life

If Simba’s encounter with Nala dealt a great blow and fissured the walls of Simba’s comfort zone, his encounter with Mufasa certainly caused every brick to shutter.
This encounter was not about the past. This encounter was not about things that He could not change. This encounter was not about his mistakes. This encounter was about his purpose in life.

The purpose of life is to find our purpose in life.
Simba’s purpose was now plain and clear.
Finding his purpose had an effect on him. It compelled him to come out of the comfort zone. It gave him a new breath and inspired him to become, in the words of Nala “The king I see inside”.



We often stay in our comfort zone because we lack a purpose. Once we understand that the purpose of life is for us to find our purpose in life, and once we have indeed found that purpose that Simon Sinek calls “our Why”, we can no longer enjoy the coziness of the comfort zone. We begin to hear a voice : the voice of the stretch zone where grows takes place.

In you find yourself stuck in your comfort zone, fearful to try anything that is estranged to you, seek deep inside for your purpose.
Living to fulfil your purpose is the greatest inner strength there his. Even the steel of the comfort zone melts before the flames of determination. The fire of a purpose sets everything ablaze.

I conclude this third part with this wonderfully inspired quote:

Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

5 Things we can learn from the Lion King pt-2 : Your comfort zone is your enemy

I hope you enjoyed part 1 : Your past is past.


In the first part of this series, we discussed how our past is past and we are each and every one of us, called to face it. In the words of Timon “you have to put your past behind you”.

We discussed that putting our past behind was not to ignore it but to face it and stand tall before it and say : you have no power over me.
We cannot and should not forget our past. Whether good or bad, it is a part of the storytelling of our lives and I don’t know about you but on the planet where I live, there are some stories that end with “living happily ever after” but I don’t any story that is void of negative experiences such as pain or hurt.
it’s part of life, embrace it.

The past can be painful but we have to overcome it and deny to past events, the power to impact, alter and shape current and future events.


Do not underestimate the destructive power of the past. Events that have occurred 10 years ago can have such a stronghold on a person today and paralyze their chances of any success in the future, making them victims of something immaterial and intangible. It’s very crucial to overcome it to live a successful life.

Let’s get back to the second thing we want to discuss today: your comfort zone is your enemy.

In the tale of the Lion King, I think both the reader and the writer agree that Simba’s enemy is the evil dark maned uncle Scar, whose name might suggest that he never healed from the scars of his past…
Scar is responsible for Mufasa’s death, betraying the innocent trust of his nephew, making his way to the throne and treating Simba’s family with very little dignitiy.
There is no doubt that if Simba has one enemy, you would concur with me that Scar would be his name. And perhaps you are right.

What if I told you that there is another enemy, far more dangerous than scar? An enemy that pretends to be a friend and a safety zone but silently sucks the life out of you and ensures that you never become anything more than the shadow of what you are meant to be. It paralyzes your potential and prevents you from truly becoming who you ought to be. This enemy is your comfort zone.

Scar never stopped Simba from fighting for the throne.
Scar never told simba that life was good and void of worries.
Scar never told simba he could never become King.
Scar never stopped Simba from going back to Pride Rock.
Who did? Simba’s comfort zone, an enemy far more dangerous than Scar.

By, embracing the Hakuna Matata philosophy, Simba got comfortable in a life that meant “no worries, for the rest of his days. A problem-free, philosophy” which is an utopia, for we know that real life does not resemble nor adhere to this philosophy.


The comfort zone is so comfortable, to state the obvious. It is a place where we do not have to face our fears, our past, and for that matter we gamble on the future. We love this place. To the musician it is the key he’s comfortable with. To the baby, it is the warm bosom of mother. It is the security of the nest to the bird and to the traveler, it is the relaxing feeling of watching the sunset from a hammock,

There are lots of problems in this comfort zone. I have identified two major issues and I believe all others can be categorized in either one.

The unknown

Simba, no doubt, had a lot of questions. Was his mom alive? What had become of Nala? Has Scar turned Pride Rock into a dictatorship regime? Will he ever become king? Did Zazu get married (ok not that far).
All these questions can be answered. Simba knows what it would take to get the answers : leave the comfort zone.
As long as we stay in the comfort zone, we will  bathe in a sea of questions and live under clouds of uncertainty. We will never know what we can achieve, we will never have answers to a lot of questions, we will deprive ourselves from exceptionally rewarding experiences.

The only thing that is certain about the comfort zone is uncertainty. -JP

The little chick living in the shell of an egg knows nothing about the world outside. All he knows is his comfort zone, surrounded by familiar barriers that limit his horizon and sight. If he stays in his shell, he will never experience the sun, never bond with his siblings and family, never experience dust on his feet, or the texture and taste of a worm.
By staying in the comfort zone, we are making a very dumbfounding statement : This is all I ever want to know and experience in life. 
I hope you can see the fatality of this.

Mother nature will not allow the chick to stay in its shell, neither should you allow yourself to stay there. This should be enough to make one realize that staying in the comfort zone is unnatural. That’s why there is no growth there, which brings us to our second problem.

Zero Growth

Not growing is an unnatural phenomena just as unnatural as staying in the comfort zone, as previous stated.
In Simba, there was potential to be a father. There was potential to be King of Pride rock. There was potential to grow in wisdom by experiencing things in life. There was potential to be courageous, overcome fear. There was potential to conquer evil, lead and unite the people.
All this potential laid dormant within him.
The comfort zone has the smooth voice of a mother singing a bed time lullaby to a restless baby until it sinks in the deepest sleep. The comfort zone sings to us and makes sure the potential within us remains dormant, prisoner of a false perception of security and peace.

I say false indeed because the irony is that the comfort zone is created out of fear.

In each one of us there is potential to become. This potential can only be realized by leaving the comfort zone and getting into our stretch zone, also known as the optimal performance zone.
By stretching, we grow stronger and become more flexible.
We experience new things, we learn how to cope with them, we ultimately grow and the potential that was once within, very soon begins to outwardly show.

To conclude on this second part of this series, I invite you meditate on this quote :

Complacency is the enemy of progress. – Dave Stutman

If you enjoyed this, please share.

you can also find this series in a storytelling format on Medium.