The NeverEnding Story is undoubtedly one of the best fantasy movies ever made, if not the best, in the 80s.
Almost everyone has seen it or heard of it.
Its incredible adventure story, memorable music, and fun characters made The NeverEnding Story a favorite among millions.
The NeverEnding Story is truly the gift that keeps on giving.
Throughout the story, there are many lessons provided that we can all learn from.
Many of them pillar life lessons we often forget.
Here are 7 Life Lessons provided by The NeverEnding Story!
Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
Beating the Odds
The NeverEnding Story does a great job of portraying how unforgiving, complicated and frustrating life can be.
It can feel like life is constantly pushing us down to get us to throw in the towel or not even try.
There are too many obstacles, so what’s the point? What’s the point of anything? It’s too hard!
That isn’t the attitude the protagonist Atreyu took, luckily!
At the beginning of The NeverEnding Story, The Nothing is sweeping through the land, destroying everything in its path.
To the point, the Childlike Empress grows deathly ill and needs a cure.
A cure Atreyu was trusted to find.
Upon the initial save the world and princess sales pitch, Atreyu was told this:
“ No one can give you any advice except this; you must go alone, and you must leave all your weapons behind. It will be very dangerous.”
“ Is there any chance of success? ”
“ I do not know. But if you fail, the empress will surely die and our whole world will be utterly destroyed.”
In this case, Atreyu responds with action.
He removes his weaponry right there and asks when he can begin.
Even though the odds of success are incredibly minimal and failure is likely in the worst possible way, Atreyu decides to take on the quest anyway.
Without the courage to take chances, even if the odds of success are slim, we eliminate the possibility of success by just foregoing action altogether.
As Atreyu said, when the crowds were patronizing him before they knew who he was, Atreyu could have quickly just ridden back to his tribe, rode his horse, and hunted buffalo until the end of the world.
But then there would be zero chance of success, wouldn’t there?
Don’t Allow the Fear of Failure Guide You
Ironically, the best chances to take are the ones that almost seem unrealistic or out of reach like Atreyu’s.
Odds are you may fail, but ultimately, it can’t hurt to give it a shot!
Even a few years ago, I would have never created my blog or put myself out there out of fear of failing:
“ What if it doesn’t go anywhere? What if people hate me?
Or worse, what nobody cares at all?! I can’t take that kind of rejection! ”
You know, similar to how in Back to the Future, Marty’s dad, George McFly as a teenager, was writing sci-fi novels but was too afraid to put himself out there out of fear of failure and rejection?
At that time, George grew up as a wimpy, mediocre pushover with a disappointed wife and embarrassed kids.
Once George met Marty in high school, where Marty pushed him to put himself out there, he became a grounded, confident, well-respected, happy, and successful sci-fi novelist!
All because he took a shot.
Some of the best quotes said about failure are from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Wayne Gretsky:
“ Don’t be afraid to fail, you can’t always win but don’t be afraid of making decisions.”
“ You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Persistence is Key
Roadblocks Are Everywhere
Life has a way of planting roadblocks in our path, especially when we are already struggling.
It can leave us feeling like we have no reason to keep going and to call it quits.
Sometimes we can feel down, especially if we are experiencing what feels like failure after failure.
Or when we start to garner momentum, something takes a fat sh*t on our progress and slows us down or even sets us back again ( I swear this happens to me every month.)
This is when we wonder, is it worth it? Is it worth all the damn hoops and hurdles to jump through?
After what seemed like an uneventful but mellow week of looking for a cure for the Childlike Empress, Atreyu encounters the first massive roadblock of his quest.
Fans of The NeverEnding Story know what I’m talking about here!
When Atreyu and his horse, Artax, enter the swamps of sadness, they must keep it at bay to fight through it.
If not, the sadness will consume them, and they will sink.
No easy task.
I believe this is a metaphor for hopelessness and depression, something we can all resonates with.
Sometimes, we experience a significant blow to our ship on our journeys.
A blow so big we can’t imagine carrying on without the ship sinking.
Pushing Through Adversity
While Atreyu and Artax are dredging through the swamps of sadness, Artax begins to struggle.
At this point, Atreyu notices that Artax is sinking.
Artax’s sadness was becoming too great.
After much effort and struggle by Atreyu, it didn’t matter.
Artax sank into the swamp of sadness.
Atreyu’s best friend and ally died during his journey.
After mourning for a short while, he knows he has to keep going.
Shortly after, he finds out that the only entity that could help him is 10,000 miles away!
So Atreyu just lost his horse and found out that what he needs is far away.
What does he do? He keeps going.
It isn’t pretty, either.
Atreyu stumbles slowly through the swamps of sadness, not knowing what will come, partially sinking in the process.
Sometimes, the result of our richest successes happened due to a very ugly and grueling journey.
The journey to success is not linear.
We, too, need to take it to step by step through the muck to get to something better.
Nihilism is a State of Stagnation
Nihilism is a concept modern culture seems to rally around more lately.
"Nothing matters, there is no meaning, everything sucks, we are all going to die one day on this dead ass planet so what's the point…”
mantra has been borderline nauseating these days.
As someone previously extremely nihilistic and cynical, I realized I was hiding from my potential.
I was more comfortable being cynical and mediocre, blaming it on the “nothingness and nothing matters so what I do doesn’t matter” mantra.
I was never more idle than during my nihilistic and cynical stage as a self-proclaimed edgelord and know it all.
“ I know everything and am all knowing, and everything sucks and doesn’t matter”
is the ultimate way to never get anywhere in life.
It breeds lethargy and stagnation.
Your surroundings and circumstances will consume you, leaving you buried in your surroundings, idle and stuck, like a car in mud.
What does it matter if nothing drives us to move forward and grow?
How can we get anywhere?
Morla is a Metaphor
The NeverEnding Story touches on this as well.
After Atreyu lost his horse Artax in the swamps of sadness, he continued in the hopes of finding Morla, the Ancient One, who had information for his quest.
After coming up to a large hill covered in trees, mud, mold, and moss, calling out for Morla, the hill begins to move.
Morla, a massive tortoise, rises from the mud.
Drowsy from a prolonged state of stagnation, Morla makes herself known to Atreyu, and they have this exchange:
Atreyu: “ Are you Morla, the ancient one?”
Morla: “ Not that it matters, but yes.”
Atreyu: “ I bring terrible news! Don’t you know that the empress is terribly ill?”
Morla: “ Not that it matters, but yes. Actually, we don’t care.”
Atreyu: “ If I don’t save her she’ll die! There is a terrible nothing sweeping over the land! Don’t you care about that?!”
Morla: “ We don’t even care whether or not we care.”
Atreyu: “ You know how I can help the empress don’t you!”
Morla: “ Not that it matters, but yes.”
Atreyu: “ If it didn’t really matter to you, you could tell me!”
Morla: “ We don’t know, but you can ask the Southern Oracle.”
Atreyu: “How can I get there?”
Morla: “ You can’t. It’s 10,000 miles away.”
Atreyu: “ But that’s so far.”
Morla: *Yawning “ That’s right. Forget it. Give up.”
Nihilism Bleeds Unto Others
Nihilistic people generally discourage others from pursuing what they are passionate about.
It’s like that quote from The Pursuit of Happiness:
“ If you have a dream, go get it.
People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can’t do it.
You want something, go get it. Period.”
Nihilism can be like a black hole just sucking the progress and energy from others while simultaneously giving the least amount possible, like Morla.
Throughout that exchange with Atreyu, Morla didn’t know anything and found pleasure in telling Atreyu that what he needed was virtually impossible to get to.
Nihilism loves bringing people down as cynical nihilists tend to be more spectators of life, believing what they do doesn’t matter, so what’s the point of trying?
Despite how unhelpful and condescending Morla was, Atreyu disregarded her advice and kept going because who wants life advice from someone who is molding in an idle and miserable state forever anyway?
Moving forward, even if at an inch, is better than remaining in idle comfort forever.
Luck Will Find You
Shortly after Atreyu has a disappointing meeting with Morla, the ancient one, he keeps treading on through the swamps of sadness without his horse, injured and knowing his destination is 10,000 miles away.
As mentioned, the roadblocks on Atreyu’s quest kept building up, but he didn’t stop.
After a short while, Atreyu begins slowly sinking when he sees something in the air.
It was Falkor, the luck dragon!
Atreyu gets picked up by Falkor at the perfect time.
When Atreyu wakes up, he sees that he has been cleaned, his wounds have been tended to and was rested.
When Falkor wakes up, they have this exchange:
Falkor: “ So, you are on your way to the Southern Oracle?”
Atreyu: “ Yes but it’s hopeless, it’s too far away.”
Falkor: “ I wouldn’t necessarily say that.”
Atreyu: “ You know how to get there?”
Falkor: “ Well sure. It’s right around the corner.”
Atreyu: “ How did all this happen?!”
Falkor: “ With luck!”
Atreyu: “ You’ve already brought me the entire 10,000 miles?”
Falkor: “ No, only 9,891.”
Atreyu: “ You’re amazing!”
Falkor: “ Things will work out fine, Atreyu. Never give up, and good luck will find you.”
Seriously, if you are passionate about your project, career, or hobby, KEEP GOING.
You WILL meet a break through if you don’t give up!
Every success story ever started with numerous consecutive failures.
Learn from them and KEEP GOING.
You are so much more capable and resilient than you know.
Don’t Give Up
This is why you hear bloggers, influencers, and YouTubers hitting it big overnight when it took much longer.
When you don’t give up, luck will find you, which brings you a massive step forward in progress after working so hard for so long.
If you give up, you will never know how close you were to that single grain of good luck you needed to propel you forward!
This is why, especially the more time you’ve invested in something and the more you believe in it, do not give up!
You could be so close to a breakthrough.
That is precisely why Morla, the Nihilistic queen is wrong on many levels.
If Atreyu had listened to her and given up right there, he never would have run into Falkor, who ultimately led him most of the way to his destination.
Even when it hurts, you have no idea what is right around the corner!
I can attest to this!
Ironically enough, while writing this piece, I hit every road block a blogger could possibly hit.
My tools were failing, my menu wasn’t functioning and nothing was working and I couldn’t figure out why!
It took me a month to figure it out, I wanted to throw in the towel so bad, but I had came so far, I couldn’t quit.
After trial and error, my husband and I finally figured out the bug that was causing my site problems and I couldn’t believe the freedom flow that came after!
It was like everything fell into place.
If I had given up, I would have suffered for nothing and all of that time would have surely been wasted.
Know Your Worth
You Have to Feel It
The NeverEnding Story does a great job at showcasing how important your self worth is to your success in life.
Many of us go through life feeling guilty or unworthy of our wants.
We don’t believe we are worthy of a job, relationship, or success, a self-fulfilling prophecy of remaining unworthy.
You must believe you are worthy of the good things in life to achieve them.
Life and people will constantly try to convince you otherwise :
“ You will never make it, you can’t do it, why would you think you are any different, you aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, you can’t have it.”
After a while, no matter how much confidence we had, the naysayers and nihilists love to bring us down and make us question our abilities and worth.
Second-guessing ourselves breeds insecurity.
Feel and know your worth, and you will accomplish your worth.
After being saved from Falkor, Atreyu is taken care of briefly by two trolls, a scientist and a holistic healer.
The scientist, Edgywook, is researching the Southern Oracle and knows it very well.
The Sphinx Gate is right around the corner and tests the worthiness of travelers.
“ Most people never get that far. The Sphinx’s eyes stay closed till someone does not feel his own worth, tries to pass by.
Fancy armor doesn’t help. The Sphinx’s eyes can see straight into your heart.”
It’s a lesson: you can’t fake who you are inside.
If you don’t honestly believe you are worthy, no matter how strong your front is, the Sphinx Gates will see right through it and zap you!
In which case, of course, Atreyu is all in and ready to give it a shot.
Taking on a huge task, project, or pursuit is extremely scary.
It is easy to doubt ourselves along the journey.
Our ego is excellent at telling us how unworthy we are.
It’s like our own Morla’s living in our head that loves to rear its ugly head.
The path to growth, success, and happiness is often challenging, scary, and uncertain.
Believing we are worthy and have the confidence to keep going when others doubt us, we must refrain from doubting ourselves to move forward.
As Atreyu slowly walks up to the Sphinx’s gates, he inches closer while looking for their eyes.
They are still closed.
He feels good, stable, and secure as he walks up to the body of the soldier who attempted to cross the gate unsuccessfully shortly before him.
Once Atreyu comes up to the body, he sees his charred face from being zapped by the Sphinx’s eyes.
Freaked out, he scrambled, stumbling back in fear and frantically looking at Sphinx’s eyes, waiting for them to open.
Edgywook watching through his telescope, sees how flustered Atreyu just became and screams:
“ No, don’t start to doubt yourself! Be confident!”
The Sphinx’s eyes slowly begin to open as he continues to fluster.
He pauses for a minute and decides to make a run for it!
In this case, he makes it through by taking a chance!
If Atreyu had remained indecisive, frozen, and idle from insecurity, he would have been zapped by the Sphinx.
Have confidence in yourself to take a chance!
Watch for yourself girl….
Let Your Spirit Guide You
I know we are in an age of atheism and science, and I am all about science dude trust me.
However, I am about the soul and spirit too.
There is still so much about our world and existence that we don’t understand.
A world that is actually way more concious and organized than we may realize ( personal opinion).
That being said, throughout the entire film of The NeverEnding Story, Atreyu wears the Oran around his neck to guide and protect him.
Atreyu frequently looks inward while holding it and sometimes says a prayer.
Right before he took the leap to walk through the Sphinx’s Gate, he paused, held the Oran, closed his eyes, went inward for a brief moment, and then carried on.
After The Nothing destroyed Fantasia, leaving Falcor and Atreyu looking to see if the ivory tower still stood, Atreyu clutched the Oran, closed his eyes, and said this:
“ If the Ivory Tower still stands, take us there.”
Right after, a pathway cleared to showcase the Ivory Tower still standing.
Looking inward for guidance and clarity is a healthy practice in general to do, even if you aren’t religious.
Spirituality and religion are not synonymous.
You can be spiritual and in touch with your energetic plane and not be religious.
Going inward for answers and guidance can be more enlightening and helpful than asking for perspectives or advice from anyone else.
Especially when you feel you have exhausted all of your resources and have nothing else to give, looking inward and asking for guidance and clarity can help open up pathways we wouldn’t have found otherwise.
Never Lose Your Sense of Wonder
Continue to Dream
What is the whole premise of The NeverEnding Story?
Fantasia is a fantasy world concocted by humanity’s collective hopes, dreams, and creations.
The more hopes and dreams people have, the more magnificent Fantasia becomes.
The Nothing is a physical manifestation of the loss of humanity’s hopes and dreams.
As more people start to lose hope and give up on their dreams, The Nothing grows stronger, destroying all of Fantasia and destroying the remaining hopes and dreams.
In the beginning, Sebastian’s dad lectures him how to put childish stuff behind him and grow up.
Or, in his words, “ Keep your feet on the ground.”
As we get older, if we aren’t careful, we lose our sense of wonder, curiosity, childlike nature, and openness.
This limits our existence when we all want to break through that glass ceiling to see what comes after.
Setting a limit on wonder and dreaming as you grow up halts curiosity.
With no curiosity, there is no moving forward.
It’s like what Walt Disney said:
“ We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things because we are curious.
Curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
That is spoken like a man who hasn’t surrendered his inner child wonder and dreaming!
Don’t Let Go of Your Hope
The NeverEnding Story really pumps the idea of never losing your hopes.
You have to work and hope that things can be better.
Lose sight of all hope, and it’s the ultimate surrender.
Losing hope is the ultimate form of nihilism. What is nihilism? The ultimate form of stagnation.
What happens when we are stagnant? Nothing.
Then, there is no hope.
When Atreyu reaches the end of his journey, he runs into the servant of The Nothing, Gmork, who aids in helping The Nothing destroy Fantasia.
Some people want to see humanity self-destruct and destroy themselves, including helping make that a reality.
Gmork and Atreyu have this exchange:
Atreyu: “ Why is Fantasia dying?”
Gmork: “ Because people have begun to lose their hopes and forget their dreams, so The Nothing grows stronger.”
Atreyu: “ But what is The Nothing?”
Gmork: “ It’s the emptiness that’s left…it’s like a despair, destroying this world. And I have been trying to help it.”
Atreyu: “ But WHY?!”
Gmork: “ Because people who have no hopes are easy to control. And whoever has the control, has the power.”
This statement holds so true today it’s uncanny.
When your faith and hope get annihilated, you no longer believe you have control and voluntarily hand over that control to another.
Often, to someone who defintely doesn’t care about your best interests.
You are nearly impossible to control when you have power, will, faith, perseverance, conviction and hope.
Give all that up; you might as well be a puppet.
The NeverEnding Story is a True Gem
I have loved The NeverEnding Story since I was a kid.
Growing up watching it throughout the years, you start to see things differently you never saw before.
After watching it recently, I noticed many of these messages and lessons within the movie that never seemed so clear.
What stood true when The NeverEnding Story was made in 1984 remains true in 2022.
Many have lost hope, become nihilistic, idle, anxious, lonely and depressed, especially after the lock downs, and so wrapped up in life that they forget their dreams and passions.
The things make us feel alive and give us a life worth living!
Don’t allow the external world and the powers that be to beat you into submission, insecurity, and stagnation.
Believe in your worth, don’t lose hope, pursue your dreams, don’t be afraid to fail, take chances, take risks, keep moving forward, and never give up!
Remember, you never know if your luck dragon is right around the corner🥰