Lessons From after watching The Intern (2015)
“Everything I learned I learned from the movies.” ― Audrey Hepburn

I wonder if authors, script writers, directors, or actors are purposeful in their intent to teach lesson.  Or, is the lesson unintentional? Just serendipitous that the lesson exists at all?

Kind of like the prize in a Cracker Jack box.

I suppose in the end, it doesn’t matter. The lessons are there. We just have to pay attention and pick up on them.

For me, movies are a great source of life lessons in general. But that’s just how I go about watching them. For sure, I want to be entertained by movies. But I also want to take any opportunity to learn.  “The Intern” is worth its weight in gold with its life lessons especially if someone is on an entrepreneurial journey like me.

It’s Never Too Late to Learn Something New

Robert De Niro aka Ben in the movie is a 70- year old retiree who is full of life and is always exploring new things. He gets an opportunity to work as a senior intern in a booming online fashion site. The new technology doesn’t scare Ben. He learns from scratch how to use a computer with the help of his younger colleagues and his grandson who explains him the meaning of a USB. He has a child like enthusiasm learning new things even at the young age of 70 years. He understands the importance of embracing the latest in the field of innovation and honors the energy and creativity of the younger generation who are driving today’s tech economy. Like Ben we should be willing to change with changing times and should be willing to come out of our comfort zone to explore the new World. 

Healthy Habits are Key to Success

Ben goes to bed by 10 pm and wakes up at a regular time. He also exercises regularly, his favourite being Tai Chi.  Regular sleep schedules allows the body to get the proper amount of sleep, regenerate, and strengthen the immune system. Likewise, regular exercise helps with strengthening and improving body functions no matter whatever the age. Healthy habits are very important to the success of an entrepreneur.

It's never too late

In the company, Ben develops a romantic relationship with the in-house massage therapist, Fiona (Rene Russo). He's a widower, she's divorced. They both have kids and have come to a place in their life where many people just resign living. They don't. He, as the gentleman he is, ask her out and she says yes right away. Their first date it's at an unexpected funeral but they take it very well. Are they old? no, just older. They're still willing to commit in a relationship, to love, live, laugh, who cares what other people says? who says there's an age for happiness? for learning something new? who says there's a time to stop chasing your dreams?

Walk the Talk

Set an example, because your followers are watching you. In one scene, Hathaway shows up at the warehouse and shows her employees how the merchandise should be boxed and packaged for shipment, to create a superior customer experience.

She doesn’t write a memo, or make a phone call, or send a text. She shows up in person and shows them what she wants.

In another scene, De Niro comes in early to clean up a perpetually messy area where the employees have been piling up all kinds of items no longer needed. No one asked him to do this. He sees the mess and takes ownership. He leads by example.

Treat Everyone With Respect and Don’t Hesitate to Help

This is De Niro, over and over. He treats all of the employees with the utmost respect, takes it upon himself to help a coworker when he is left without a place to live, and offers a helping hand to Hathaway’s assistant. He helps everyone, from Hathaway down.

Dress to Impress

Now this has always been a rule for interviews and day 1 on the job, but Ben demonstrates it perfectly — never quit dressing to impress. This skill will get you places you never thought you could go. It’s becoming less popular to wear a full “old-school” suit to work, BUT there is something about dressing up for work that creates a new driving atmosphere and makes you realize new points of view. Remember, if you’re stuck on a project and want a new perspective – maybe try dressing up one day, you never know what will make an idea pop in your head!


Lessons From after watching The Intern (2015)
James Wong
30 January, 2021
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