Life Lessons from Robin Williams

This week, I was struggling to come up with a subject for my “Life Lessons” series. I sat at my desk, thinking and thinking and then I looked up. Above my desk is an 11×14 poster with one of my favorite quotes. It reads, ” ‘You’re only given one little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it’–Robin Williams ”

I bought the poster when I started focusing on my writing. In my early days Super Penguin, I was embarrassed to tell people “I’m writing a book about a crime fighting penguin.” It seemed silly, crazy, or even mad, But when I would read the quote, and considered Super Penguin to be my little spark of madness, it helped me keep going.

Many, MANY people know I’m a Robin Williams super-fan. Like most of my personal history, I don’t remember when this admiration started. I presume somewhere between Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire and Flubber. These were some of my favorite movies growing up, and as I grew older I explored more and more of his movies and became a bigger and bigger fan. I also remember being a little kid and thinking it was neat that he and I had the same initials.

Years later on September 30, 2009, I met Robin. He was on is Weapons of Self Destruction Tour. One of his stops was Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where I was going to school at the time. My friend Matt and I attended the show, and afterwards we met Robin. It was one of my all time favorite moments. I got some really neat autographs, and took the picture below. But I will never forget how kind he was to me and the rest of his fans. He posed for several pictures, signed photos, and for a little bit spoke to his fans in the Mrs. Doubtfire voice.

Rob, Robin Williams, and my friend, Matt. 2009

Years later, my friend Gardner and I began going to comic conventions. During those conventions, I’ve met three co-stars of Robin’s; Linda Larkin (who voiced Princess Jasmine in Aladdin), Henry Simmons (co-starred with Robin in World’s Greatest Dad) and Dante Basco (played Rufio in Hook). I asked each one of them, “What was it like working with Robin Williams?” and each one talked about how nice he was to everybody on set, and how much fun he had while working, never taking himself or the job too seriously. There’s my lesson from Robin. Be nice and have fun. It’s so simple, but with all the other crud we have to deal with sometimes, we lose sight of what’s most important. Be nice to everyone, you never know what they are going through, so be nice all the time.

As a super-fan, I have the uncontrollable urge to share some of my favorite life lesson movie quotes from Robin to close out this week blog post. Have a great week, and don’t lose your little spark of madness.

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change this world.” –Dead Poets Society

“Sometimes you can have a whole lifetime in a day and never notice that this is as beautiful as it gets.” The World According to Garp

“The world is your oyster. Never stop trying new things.” –Dead Poets Society

“You will have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” Good Will Hunting

“If there’s love, dear…those are the ties that bind, and you’ll have a family in your hear, forever.”-Mrs. Doubtfire

“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.”-Patch Adams

“Please don’t worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this earth. And if you’re ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky when the stars are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness. Turning night into day…make a wish and think of me. Make your life spectacular.–Jack

“Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary”-Dead Poets Society

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