8 lessons Robin Williams taught us
This story was originally published on August 12, 2014. It was updated on August 11, 2015, with new information.
Robin Williams’ life came to an end a year ago today in what many called a depression-linked suicide.
Some, like The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn, have said Williams didn’t get the proper mental care — something that many Americans are dealing with today. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reported that 1 in 4 Americans suffer from mental illness every year.
But Williams’ death is bringing people back to some of his more inspirational quotes and speeches. Here’s a list of eight messages to take away from Williams’ movies and speeches that are sure to inspire fans.
What verse will you be? — From “Dead Poets Society,” this scene shows Williams asking his students to get involved with the beauty and art of the world — telling them that they are all crucial to the growth and progression of society.
Remember to think about your future — In the movie “Jack,” Williams played a young kid who grew up faster physically than he aged mentally. In this scene — at the end of the film during his graduation from college — Williams expresses what it means to contemplate the future and how to celebrate each day.
Don’t focus on what won’t make you unhappy — Williams was primarily known for his comedy. And in one scene as Genie from the "Aladdin" movie series, Williams looks to inspire the character Aladdin by offering him advice..
There’s more than one way to treat a person — “Patch Adams” features Williams as a doctor treating people without a license. And in this scene, he is put up to trial, but Williams counters much of the arguments presented against him by explaining the proper ways to treat people both in the hospital and outside of it.
Just because you know something, doesn’t mean you really know it — Williams won an Oscar for his portrayal of the professor Sean in “Good Will Hunting.” One of the most inspirational scenes comes from when he and his student, played by Matt Damon, are sitting on a park bench. Williams explains that even though Damon might know facts, plays and quotes, he doesn’t have any real life experiences to deepen his understanding of the human experience.
Note: This clip contains a couple of instances of mature language.
Make sure to seize the day — In another scene from “Dead Poets Society,” Williams encourages his students to seize the day and always look at things from a unique perspective.
Don’t always do things by the book — Williams was at it again in “Dead Poets Society” when he asked his students to rip out pages from their textbooks, explaining that books don't always hold all the answers that people are searching for.
Never forget family — He had it all. The Oscar award, the exceptional performance and the crowd’s applause. Regardless, when Williams stepped up to the mic and accepted his Oscar award, he still remembered to thank his wife and his family, saying they were all what kept him going en route to his success.