Life Lessons from How I Met Your Mother

My decision to watch How I Met Your Mother started off innocently. I saw that there were seasons available to stream on Netflix and decided to start with the Pilot. Suddenly, three weeks later I was seven seasons into the show and frantically perusing the internet for illegally-uploaded copies of episodes from the current season.

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Make it happen for yourself: Ted Mosby, Architect.

While Ted has turned into one of the most frustrating characters on television (it’s time to move on from Robin, Ted), I have to give it to him- he is persistent. Whether it’s searching for his future wife or starting his own architecture firm, Ted never gives up. He knows what he wants in life and while it’s not always easy, he is not going to stop until he gets it. When he finds himself at a crossroads in his career, he decides to step up and create his own opportunity. And so, Mosbius Designs is born. Although Mosbius Designs ultimately fails as a small business, this does not deter Ted. He channels his passion for architecture into teaching and becomes a professor at a local university. When an opportunity presents itself later on in life to design a building that is later to be a prominent part of NYC’s (fictional) skyline, he jumps on board. Ted Mosby, Architect indeed.

In life, things don’t always go your way. However, if you work hard and don’t lose focus on what you are passionate about, you will have a fulfilling life. There is always a backup plan.

No regrets: Lily goes to San Francisco

Lily Aldrin and Marshall Eriksen are the college sweethearts you just know are going to end up together forever. So imagine everyone’s surprise when Lily gets into an art summer program in San Francisco…that she applied to in secret. This was a major moment for the couple–and Lily decided not to go. That was, until she did. She knew that if she went to her program, she risked losing the love of her life. But she also knew that if she passed up this opportunity to try out something new, she would:

  1. Grow to resent herself for never discovering what might have been
  2. Grow to resent Marshall for making her choose him over new experiences
  3. Regret the life path that she chose

Lily went to San Francisco and then returned in Season 2 with her tail between her legs. She was miserable in San Francisco for 3 months, but who knows how miserable she would grow to be years down the line if she never gave art a chance in her life? Fast forward to the current season, and she is an art buyer for the Captain. If she never would have gone to her art program in San Fran, she wouldn’t have had the qualifications for her current opportunity.

Don’t let opportunities pass you by. Some people would never risk their relationship over trying something new and that’s ok–for them. As scary as change is, it is essential for personal growth. Embrace change, support your loved ones, and have no regrets.

You can’t hide your past, but you can embrace it and move on: Robin Sparkles

Robin Sherbotsky has a dirty little secret. One that she keeps hidden for quite some time. When Ted and Robin date in Season 2, Robin shows discomfort at the thought of going to the mall. The truth eventually comes out: Robin was a Canadian teenage pop superstar whose hit single was “Let’s Go To The Mall.”

After this embarrassing fact about Robin comes out, she is (understandably) mortified. In fact, one of the gang, Barney, becomes obsessed with finding out the truth about Robin Sparkles. Later on in the series, after revealing that Robin Sparkles had a second hit, Robin actually gives up the music video to Barney. By then, Robin had decided that it was time to embrace her past and be honest with her friends.

You can’t change where you come from or where you’ve been, but you can change where you go. No matter what happened in your past, rise above it, spin it in your favor, and make it work so that it doesn’t plague your future.

Wait For It…

If there is one life lesson that I can gather from How I Met Your Mother, it is to have a point in everything you do, and to GET TO IT. While HIMYM has dragged on so painfully long (have Ted’s kids aged?), we understand that it was dragged on for pure entertainment value. But in life and in your career, everything you do should have a point.

Create an attainable goal, map out your plan to get there, stay on track, and become legen-wait for it-dary. Don’t waste your time at a job you know will not help you get where you want to go. Getting what you want in life does not come quickly, but if you know where you are headed, it is easier to stay on track.