You love Bill Murray.
Who doesn’t? He’s the epitome of cool, being infamous for showing up at odd places and making the days of strangers.
Over the summer I met an individual who works in the film industry.
Needless to say, I couldn’t help but ask what’s it like to work in the entertainment industry? And who is the coolest and most fun celebrity he’s ever met.
Wanna take a guess? Yup, you got it!
Bill Murray! He said what you see is what you get.
He shared with me stories of Murray. He told me Murray was often found missing from the set.
One time when they found him, Murray begrudgingly got into the car to be chauffeured back to the set. As they were driving back, he decided it would be funny to roll down his window. So with a scotch in his hand and his head out the window, he started screaming, Help, help, I’m being kidnapped as the car drove down one of the busy streets of Northern Ireland.
He reminded me of how much I love Murray and his freedom-seeking nature.
It feels good to know that the stories you read of him in the media engaging in some goodwill shenanigans is likely to be true. He really is someone who lives life by the seat of his pants, who I’ve come to associate and believe.
So today’s post is about the philosophies we can learn from Bill Murray to live in the moment.
1. Just go with it
Like the 3 second rule, when something calls to you, (provided it is legal and you are not going to harm anybody or yourself) don’t overthink it because once you do the moment of spontaneity is gone. Your ego will do everything in its power to convince you why you shouldn’t do it.
Living life in the spur of the moment is hard to do. This is something that does not come easily to me and it takes practice. But what I’ve noticed is when I start to get to know myself more and become more aware of the physical sensations that arise in my body, I’m able to follow my instincts and act without hesitation.
For me, this feeling often starts with a splurge of energy and excitement coming from my gut moving up to my heart area where I find it skipping a beat.
I remember a time when I was out partying with a group of friends at an outdoor venue in the Dominican Republic. There was a water fountain and I suddenly have an urge to dance in it. So without thinking too much, I jumped in and then others started to join in. Shortly after, we were asked by security to come out of it for safety reasons.
When asked about the meaning of life, Bill Murray once said in an interview:
“Somewhere there’s a score being kept, so you have an obligation to live life as well as you can, be as engaged as you can…So the secret is to have a sense of yourself, your real self, your unique self. And not just once in a while, or once a day, but all through the day, the week and life.”
In doing so you open yourself to magical moments and possibilities.
2. Have Faith
In life, you can choose to think optimistically or pessimistically. You can trust that things will work out for the best and you’ll be able to handle whatever comes your way. Or that things won’t work out.
Since there’s only so much action and control we have over our lives until we need to surrender and wait for it to unfold. Wouldn’t it feel better to think positively feeling the universe has your back versus worrying about what’s the worst that could happen?
The truth is more often than not, our imagination takes us on a wild ride. And although the worst possible scenario you envision happening hardly ever happens. The likelihood of you attracting an unfavorable outcome increases when your energy is focused on the negative.
I remember when I used to help people move and relocate. The ones who worried and are constantly fretting about every little thing tends to always encounter more hiccups along the way. Those who are happy go lucky and excited about the possibilities, looking forward to the new life they are going to be experiencing in a new country, tend to experience a smoother transition.
Thus, why not spend your energy more productively? Have faith. Conjure up the positive aspects of what could possibly happen. This will improve your chances of encountering more wonderful moments in your life.
“You have to hope that [good things] happen to you… That’s the only thing we really, surely have, is hope. You hope that you can be alive, that things will happen to you that you’ll actually witness, that you’ll participate in.”
Bill Murray interview with NY TIMES
This brings us to the importance of being relaxed.
3. Relax, Have fun, and Success Will Ensue
Bill Murray is the king of not putting a lot of pressure on himself. He has said in an interview which I am paraphrasing he’s been lucky he has made some good movies and he gives himself permission to not ‘kill’ it every time.
So when you work hard for the results you seek and you achieve it, be sure to celebrate it. Especially the small wins along the way. It makes the process of achieving your ultimate goal more enjoyable. It makes work not feel like work. And you’ll start to find things come more easily to you. When you are going with the flow and relieving yourself of the stress by spontaneously breaking it up with some play and having fun, it can go a long way.
“I realized the more fun I had, the more relaxed I was working, the better I worked.” said Bill Murray
By incorporating more play into your life you create an opportunity for your brain to reboot. Once it has been rebooted, like an electronic device, it enables you to solve problems with more focus and clarity. It improves your mood and boosts your creativity and efficiency.
4. Choose Yourself and Take Personal Responsibility
“One of my habits is I don’t do exactly what you want me to do. I really didn’t get the guideline about your life. I was just trying to live my own right now.” Bill Murray
Following your bliss and what you want to do also comes with responsibility. To simply just do whatever it is you want to do without the willingness to take personal responsibility for the consequences is selfish.
Bill Murray’s antics have gotten him in trouble with the law a handful of times. Be it driving a golf cart down the streets of Stockholm getting to a club, to the alleged claims in his marital life.
Whatever the situation is, it’s not for me to judge and conclude what he did was wrong or thoughtless, because behind every story there’s always more than what meets the eye. From our vantage point it is just one perspective.
Like many of us, a lot of times we do the best that we can making choices based on what we know and who we are at a moment in our life. Sometimes we may unconsciously make choices based on other people’s expectations.
And it is through time, experience and a willingness to choose to have your own adventure will you learn and grow into becoming the essence of who you are. This will lead you to make choices more aligned with your values and what makes you happy.
The irony of this is as long as you are alive, this is a never-ending process.
Change is a constant. So as you grow out of your box, it is natural for you to have to expand your container and grow into it. The good news is, it will get easier as you start to follow what makes you feel naturally good.
Back to Murray, early in his career, he realized having an entourage to manage his career meant his value of freedom and having life in his own hands is compromised. So he chooses to not have an agent, business manager, etc. to not be reachable.
“When the phone started ringing too many times, I had to take it back to what I can handle. I take my chances on a job or a person as opposed to a situation. I don’t like to have a situation placed over my head.”
In relationships, he recognizes the most important relationship he needs to have is with himself in his interview with Vanity Fair.
“I don’t have a problem connecting with people. My [issue] is connecting with myself. If I am not really committing myself to that, then it’s better that I don’t have a different person.”
So true non?
Yet in his choices and through his experiences, Murray recognizes it can get lonely and there is a need to also take care of others. “It’s lonely to really effectively live your life, and anyone you can get help from or give help to; that’s part of your obligation.”
With every choice we make be it in our personal or professional life, even though it may be aligned with who we are, there’s always a downside.
Murray recognizes being who he is can get lonely and perhaps that’s why he enjoys randomly showing up and being a bit nutty to help lighten up and make people’s days.
And as I have traveled solo many times in my life while building a freedom lifestyle I can relate. This journey can get lonely.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my freedom. It enables me to experience and see some amazing places and meet people from all walks of life while doing what I love. I’m not tied down to anyone’s obligation but mine, choosing who I want to connect and share a space in time with.
But the downside is these pockets of moment are short, transient and bittersweet. And as much as it adds to my life experience, which I so appreciate, I still yearn to find that someone who I can connect and share the journey of my life over a life span with.
So far though, the upside outweighs the downside. And so long as this is the case, I will continue my journey and commit to doing the best to be me. Making choices that are in line with my values and happiness, while maneuvering myself to minimize the effect of the downside. This leads to the next point.
5. Be the Best Version of You
In a Q&A at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival, Bill Murray was asked, what is it like being you? His response captured by Vulture was a reminder you can only be the best version of you.
“So what’s it like to be me? You can ask yourself, What’s it like to be me? You know, the only way we’ll ever know what it’s like to be you is if you work your best at being you as often as you can, and keep reminding yourself: That’s where home is.”
6. Move on From Failure and Mistakes
Bill Murray is candid enough and readily admits to making mistakes.
In an interview with the Guardian he talked about his early days as an actor, “I made a lot of mistakes and realized I had to let them go,” he said. “Don’t think about your errors or failures, otherwise you’ll never do a thing.”
And even though he is referring to work, his view on failure and how to show up for life is something he seems to transfer to all aspects of his life. Based on the interviews I‘ve seen and read of him he recognizes that with every experience he’s only learned to be more true to himself. Making choices that are more right for him than wrong. Being authentic while finding moments in life to make someone’s day “just a little bit groovier” along the way.
Over to you
What are you going to practice more to live life more spontaneously and in the moment?