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Top 10 Life Lessons Pixar Movies Have Taught Us

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Andrew Tejada
Script written by Andrew Tejada Sometimes Pixar movies teach us some of the most important life lessons! For this list we’ve included life lessons like find the courage to be yourself from “Brave”, look past stereotypes from “Monsters Inc.”, just keep swimming from the “Finding Nemo” franchise, embrace all of your feelings from “Inside Out”, friendship is key from “Toy Story” and more!
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Top 10 Life Lessons Pixar Movies have Taught Us

These stories not only entertained, but also delivered invaluable advice. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 life lessons Pixar movies have taught us.



For this list, we're looking at the best pieces of wisdom that we picked up from Pixar films. Since some of these lessons are tied into important plot points, a spoiler warning is in effect.



#10: Find the Courage to Be Yourself

“Brave” (2012)


At the start of “Brave”, Merida could have simply accepted her fate and followed her mother’s traditional views of what a princess should be. Instead, Merida chooses to climb mountains, shoot arrows and do everything within her power to escape the arranged marriage that’s expected of her. Her defiance of tradition shocks her clan and threatens to tear her family apart, but Merida manages to heal that divide and convince everyone to let her dictate not only who and when she marries, but her fate in general. Her courage inspires viewers to not just go along with society’s expectations. If you’re brave enough to embrace what makes you come alive, others will too.



#9: Look Past Stereotypes

“Monsters Inc.” (2001)


Mike and Sully’s adventures in “Monsters University” taught us that there’s more than one way to achieve success. While the prequel’s message focused on broadening our minds to life’s possibilities, the original film was all about opening our hearts. In “Monsters Inc.”, professional scarers collect screams from children while secretly fearing that those very same kids could be deadly. When a young girl nicknamed Boo sneaks into the monster’s world, Mike and Sully struggle to overcome their phobias about humans so she can return home. Over time however, they grow to accept and deeply care for Boo. Seeing the monsters overcome their prejudices motivates us to challenge our own assumptions and stereotypes.



#8: Family Is More Important Than You Think

“Coco” (2017)

Miguel Rivera has dreams of being a great musician. Unfortunately, since his great-great grandfather left his family behind to pursue a musical career, Miguel is effectively banned from even looking at a guitar. Miguel initially resents his family’s decision and runs away from home. But when he accidentally travels to the land of the dead, his deceased ancestors put themselves on the line to help him. Once Miguel sees what they were willing to sacrifice for him, he understands how important family truly is. By the time the credits roll, you’ll want to hug every family member you have... or at least give your mom a call.



#7: We Can Harm or Heal the World

“WALL-E” (2008)


“Wall-E” initially paints a rather bleak picture of the future. The story begins on an earth full of garbage and almost completely devoid of life. When a robot named EVE discovers a plant on the ruined planet, Wall-E joins her on an interstellar journey to tell humans that life on earth is possible again. Although the robots run into a few obstacles along the way, their efforts allow humanity to begin restoring the world (and the health of the human species). The movie never shies away from displaying how destructive humanity can be, but it also shows us that good that can happen if we’re willing to work together for a better world.



#6: Make the Best of Life’s Detours

“Cars” (2006)


When you’re a professional racecar, there isn’t much time to slow down. But when racing pro Lightning McQueen accidentally wrecks the pavement in the town of Radiator Springs, he is forced to stay there until he fixes all the damage. At first, he sees every moment in Radiator Springs as more time away from his professional career. However, Lightning grows to appreciate where he ended up and begins to make the best of it. His journey reminds viewers that things won’t always go as planned. If you can find the beauty in life’s detours, you may end up in a better place than you imagined.



#5: Your Background Doesn’t Determine Your Success

“Ratatouille” (2007)


Nine times out of ten, seeing a rat in your kitchen means something is terribly wrong. One little rat named Remy, however, might just change your perspective. In “Ratatouille,” all Remy wants to do is make fantastic dishes. But since he’s a rodent, humans shoo him out of the kitchen as soon as they see him. Despite Remy’s outward appearance, his talent eventually breaks down barriers and blows critics away. No one, not even his own family, expected a rat to achieve what he did. Remy is proof that hard work and dedication are much more important than appearances.



#4: Just Keep Swimming

“Finding Nemo” franchise (2003-)


“Finding Nemo” and its sequel, “Finding Dory” both center around protagonists going on impossible journeys. In the first film, Marlin must wander the ocean to find his missing son, Nemo. The sequel focuses on their forgetful friend Dory as she tries to navigate through a marine life institute and her muddled memories to find her family again. In both movies, our heroes face major setbacks and have moments where they’re ready to give up. But through it all, Dory’s mantra to “Just Keep Swimming” encourages the characters to endure their trials and keep moving forward. Her simple advice and its catchy rhythm make this lesson impossible to forget.



#3: Embrace All of Your Feelings

“Inside Out” (2015)


Joy is one of the five emotions that lives inside of Riley’s head. As you may have guessed, she lives to make sure Riley is happy. While working in headquarters, Joy prioritized happiness over her counterparts, sadness in particular. When an accident forces Joy to travel with Sadness, she slowly realizes that each emotion has its own value. When they return to headquarters, the bubbly being stops taking charge and accepts that sometimes she needs to team up with her coworkers. Joy’s journey in “Inside Out” shows us that embracing all of your emotions is crucial to personal growth and emotional health.



#2: There’s Always Another Adventure

“Up” (2009)


At the beginning of “Up”, we see Carl and Ellie grow old together while saving up for an adventure to Paradise Falls. Sadly, after Ellie passes away, Carl abandons their dream and shuts himself away in his home. When people attempt to remove him from that house, he straps a few thousand balloons to it and flies towards Paradise Falls. During the treacherous trip, Carl’s interactions with a young boy named Russell and a couple of special animals help renew his zest for life. Although Carl couldn’t go on the trip he planned, he inspires us by rising above adversity and eventually embracing a new adventure.





Before we learn from our top pick, here are some honorable mentions.



Own Who You Are

“The Incredibles” (2004)



Unique Ideas Can Be the Best Ones

“A Bug's Life” (1998)



#1: Friendship Is Key

“Toy Story” (1995)


Friends can be tough to make, and even harder to keep, but they’re worth the struggle. When Woody first met Buzz, he feared the new toy would steal their owner Andy’s attention. After an accident gets the duo separated from Andy, they are forced to work together to return home. Over time, they learn to accept each other’s shortcomings and strengths. The friendship became so strong over the series that it endured even when their owner Andy moved on from them in the third film. Buzz and Woody remind us that keeping a friendship is not always easy, but if you stick by your friends they will be there for you no matter what.
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