Hakuna Matata is not escapism
Consider these lines from The Lion King:
Nala: “Why didn’t you come back to Pride Rock?”
Simba: “Well, I just needed to…get out on my own. Live my own life. And I did. And it’s great.”
Nala: “We really needed you at home.”
Simba: “No. It doesn’t matter. Hakuna Matata.”
Simba: “Hakuna Matata. It’s something I learned out here. Look, sometimes bad things happen…And there’s nothing you can do about it. So why worry?”
Nala: “Because it’s your responsibility!”
I believe this scene captures the true essence of what Hakuna Matata really means. The phrase is NOT a life advice on how to escape responsibilities. The philosophy should be used sparingly to help you face certain challenges and focus on problem solving instead of worrying.
Hakuna Matata is a way to pick ourselves up
In the Disney movie, Timon and Pumbaa use the Hakuna Matata philosophy to help Simba cope with heartbreak and find strength to deal with his current situation after he lost his father, his home and almost everything he had. Hakuna Matata showed him a way to stand back up. But it should only be used in the right moments and in the right doses. Simba used Hakuna Matata as a way to escape his pain until he met Nala as an adult. He hid himself from all his responsibilities as the future king and used Hakuna Matata as an escape. He refused to face his fears and take responsibility to help his loved ones. Granted, Simba was scared. But that’s no reason for you to look away from your responsibilities. However, after Rafiki knocks some sense into Simba, he decides to go back.
Simba: “Going back means I’ll have” to face my past. I’ve been running from it for so long.”
When Simba returns to Pride Rock, he faced terrifying truths from his past, literally faced his fears and took responsibility as the one true king. I believe this is the best way to use the Hakuna Matata philosophy in your life. We are all afraid of doing certain things that often mean the most to us. The value that specific thing holds in our hearts and lives, makes us scared…afraid that if we fail we might not be able to live with ourselves. Real life may not be as dramatic as an animated movie about lions, hyenas, a meerkat and a warthog. But you get the point.
Simba shows us exactly how believing in Hakuna Matata can help us to pick ourselves up when we are down without losing sight of our responsibilities. After all, we are all kings and queens in our own stories. Right?
How you can use Hakuna Matata…the RIGHT way
Worry can keep us awake at night and slowly eat away our our passion for life. Fear and anxiety about the uncertain can make us feel physically and emotionally exhausted. Worrying about uncertainty can often come to us automatically and quickly become a habit before we know it. However, just like most other bad habits, the habit of worrying can be changed.
Here are 5 ways you can adopt the Hakuna Matata philosophy in your life to stop worrying and living life happily and responsibly:
What you focus on will expand
Our mind is like a camera, we see and capture only what we focus on.
When your mind focuses on problems, you will find new and unique problems that don’t even exist. But when you start focusing on the positive aspects of your life, you will see new opportunities popping out from unexpected places. However, it does not mean you will ignore your problems. It only means that you shift your focus to finding a solution to your problems instead of just worrying about them.
This will not happen in a day. Shifting your mindset takes time but with determination and practice you will soon start realizing what Hakuna Matata really means and how you can be more positive.
Don’t avoid risks cause you’re afraid to fail
The fear of failure inside our minds is often greater than the actual probability of failure in reality. We avoid taking risks in the short term, so that we don’t have to experience pain and suffering. However, when you look at the long term gains, you will realize that taking risks and being courageous usually pays off.
Mufasa: “I’m only brave when I have to be. Being brave doesn’t mean you go looking for trouble.”
Face your fears. What is the worst thing that can happen right now? Why are you so worried about the worst-case scenario? Why do you believe you can’t overcome what comes your way? Why do you even think that you will fail? Think about what this can mean 5 years from now. Life is not about just paying bills. Stop worrying. Hakuna Matata. Simba took the risk of failing when he went back to Pride Rock and faced Scar. We all know what happened. He became the rightful king. Go ahead and claim your throne.