This 1920’s novel may have been filled with indulgences and partying, but even after a century, it still teaches us valuable lessons.
“The Great Gatsby” is such a tragic, yet mesmerizing love story that can only be described as a cinema masterpiece. One of the most direct lessons from the film was how love can truly be a sweet dream or a beautiful nightmare. The film also illustrated how the process of love can be your greatest demise, if you allow it to consume your very being.
The main character, Jay Gatsby, crafted his entire life around getting the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan, back. Gatsby created a life that he thought would capture her heart and make her run away with him forever. He held lavish parties, in the hope that Daisy would show up and they can pick up where they left off. Jay Gatsby has become one of literature’s most enduring characters for his embodiment of hope, relentless love, and the how you can’t always get what you want.
#1 Chase your dreams. Jay Gatsby was relentless when he was after Daisy Buchanan, because he was determined to win her back. So he created the life he dreamed of along the way. He had an extravagant lifestyle and filled his home with an array of people by having larger than life celebrations. Gatsby also created his dream life by building a fortune on bootlegging liquor. He set his sights high and never settled for less.
You should never stop chasing after your dreams, no matter what. If you want to start your own business or travel the world or do the unthinkable, be tenacious and go after it. Life is short! I know we hear this often, but it remains true. Why settle for a conventional and mundane life? If you have big dreams, do not allow anyone or anything to stop you from achieving them. Just like Gatsby, you can relentlessly go after the life you deserve. Do not feel guilty for always striving for better and wanting more. [Read: 12 steps to change your life and find happiness]
#2 Do not hide behind a faà§ade. Everyone has an idea of the person they would like to be one day. However, lying and hiding behind a faà§ade is not a healthy way to live. Sooner or later, you will not be able to keep up with your lies, and people will find out the truth. The saying remains true, “what is done in the dark comes to the light.” Gatsby had several facades that he hid behind to appear rich and empowered. His presence was superficial and no one knew who he really was, until they found out the truth about him in the end.
Facades can only last for so long, and it can become hard to keep up with the lies. Authentically living your life is the best way to go. You should not base your life on the judgments and perceptions of others. People will judge you no matter what, but there is no shame in simply fine-tuning the true image you want the world to see. If you are perceived as a fraud, people will not trust you nor will they believe what you say. It is important to understand that mistakes are common. It is how you bounce back from these mistakes that really counts. [Read: 20 signs you’re too much of a people pleaser]
#3 Greed can lead to self-destruction. Jay Gatsby came from humble beginnings, but he always wanted more for himself. However, he was driven by greed and it led to his demise. He had an excessive desire to make Daisy love him and admit that she never loved her husband, all in the effort to whisk her away with him. Additionally, he was completely fixated on his need for money, power and respect. Thus, his life became a quest to acquire as much as possible, in order to captivate Daisy.
Do not allow yourself to be driven by greed due to your insecurities. Greed is a self-defeating habit that can hinder your happiness. You must remember to show gratitude for the things you already have and remain patient during your pursuits to get the things you want. Constantly feeling as if you need more will only put a void in your heart that nothing can fill. Greed can cost you everything and the worst case scenario is that it can lead to your downfall, just like Gatsby’s.
#4 Let go of the past. Many people have trouble letting the past go, and Jay Gatsby was one of them. He was utterly engrossed in what he and Daisy shared in the past, and he truly thought he could recreate their past in the present. He never allowed himself to move on and share that love with anyone else. Instead, he did an assortment of grandiose gestures to get her back. But if he would have moved on and stopped trying to chase the one that got away, then maybe he’d have lived a much happier life.
You should not continuously live in the past, because the present and the future have so much more to offer. Allow your past experiences to serve as valuable lessons that made you wiser and helped you to become the person you are. All of that extra baggage from the past can weigh you down. By letting go of the past, you can have a healthier and happier life. [Read: How to let go of the past and be excited by the future]
#5 Love conquers all. We will fall in love once or twice at some point in our lifetime. Some people are lucky enough to find their true love early in life. Again, Jay Gatsby was one of them. He was determined to conquer love and go after his one true love no matter the cost. He never stopped believing that Daisy would be his again and when they reunited he discovered that she still loved him too.
Love conquers all simply means that love overcomes all obstacles. If you love someone dearly, stick it out with him or her through the ups and downs. Love is not always easy, but the beauty of love is that it is worth going the extra mile. If you are willing to put in the effort, love can survive distance, separation, adversities and more. The film showed us that when it is all said and done, love truly conquers all.
‘The Great Gatsby’ is not your classic love story where boy meets girl, they fall in love and live happily ever after; but that is what makes it such an intriguing story. It provides valuable lessons on love and life that can inspire us all. Remember to always go after your dreams, try to let go of the past and to always be yourself.
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