Mama Gump famously told Forrest, “Life is like a box of chocolates … you never know what you’re gonna get.“
It was a mother’s loving way of explaining to a child that life – like choosing a chocolate from a box – is uncertain, has its ups and downs, and comes with its fair share of disappointments.
Not directly stated, but implied, is the concept of taking responsibility. Making a choice. Accepting the consequences for your choices. Staying positive. Keeping your chin up. Believing that you do have a choice and that you are not a victim.
The analogy of life being like a box of chocolates is meaning neutral. We – as individuals – create and attach our own meaning.
Life is like a box of chocolates… let’s examine.
First, it’s a box. Next, the box filled with chocolates. There are many chocolate options. Finally, you have a choice. You get the choose the chocolate you want.
The analogy is you get to choose the life you want.
An optimist views life as a glass half full. The optimist attaches a positive meaning to the chocolate box and says things like:
- Wow, so many great chocolates to choose from
- No matter which one I choose, it will be sweet
- From my previous experience, I’m sure I’ll make a great selection based on the chocolate’s shape and decorative color
The pessimist says:
- I’ll probably get a chocolate I don’t like
- I always make a bad choice and never get one of my favorites
- All the good ones have already been taken
A third perspective lies in the middle. This person is looking for a short-cut:
- They poke their finger in the bottom and puts it back if they don’t like it
- They poke their finger in all the chocolates before making a selection
Life is a series of choices. Each choice comes with uncertainty.
Life is can be viewed optimistically or pessimistically.
Life can be lived with a long-view or by taking a series of short-cuts.
People with Gumption take responsibility for their thoughts, actions, and interactions with others.
People with Gumption know that they get to choose whatever chocolate they want. They know there is uncertainty in their selection – there is no guarantee. They accept (i.e. take responsibility) for their choice. They find sweetness and joy in their choice.