What ADHDers Can Learn from The Princess Bride

The cult classic The Princess Bride is one of the greatest films of all time. I will not take any arguments on that point. “Anyone who tells you differently is selling something,” as Wesley says. Not only is this movie hilarious, but it also teaches us some lessons I think are particularly relevant for those of us with ADHD.

Yes, there are spoilers in this post, so if you haven’t seen The Princess Bride, GO WATCH IT NOW. Then, come back and read this.

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover or Title

The grandson is skeptical about the book his grandfather wants to read to him, but by the end of the movie, he loves the story and asks for his grandfather to come back and read it to him the next day. I had a similar experience with this movie. The first time I watched The Princess Bride was in February of 2002. My mom, step-dad, my siblings, and I took a trip to Alabama to visit my step-dad’s brother and sister-in-law, Jim and Betty. When we arrived at their house, we were presented with gifts. Jim looked at me and said, “Alex, we hear you like funny movies, so we got you The Princess Bride.” (Jim and Betty have good taste. They gave my older brother a copy of the book The Hobbit.) I took one look at the DVD cover and thought, “They know I am a boy, right?” Oh, how foolish (and perhaps sexist) I was back then! However, my mother taught me at a young age to always be grateful for presents. So, I said thank you and did not complain as we sat down to watch it that night. The movie quickly won me over, and it is now one of my favorite movies.

The lesson here is do not judge something or someone by your initial interpretation of them. If I had stuck to my initial thoughts about ADHD coaching, I would not be an ADHD coach right now. I have friends that I would not be friends with right now if I had not gotten past my first impression of them. You should only judge something or someone by getting to know them, what/who they are.

“Keep Your Shirt on, and Let Me Read.”

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In the beginning of the movie, the grandson is annoyed by how slow the story is movie, and the grand father replies, “Keep your shirt on, and let me read.” Life right now is different than it will be years from know. Let’s say there are lots of things you would like to change about your life. Life does not have to be magnificent right now, and you cannot change things overnight. Change takes time. Be patient, or as the grandfather says, “Keep your shirt on.” Your story is ongoing.


It’s Okay to Laugh

While watching The Princess Bride for the first time, I was expecting something completely different from what that movie actually is. So, as I laughed at Princess Buttercup falling down a hill after realizing she just pushed Wesley down the hill, I found myself thinking, “Why am I laughing at a movie called The Princess Bride?” I was laughing because the movie is a comedy. However, I did not know that at the time. I thought I was watching a sappy movie. I almost felt bad for laughing. Even if it was a chick flick, I could have laughed because laughing is okay. I have previously written on the importance of laughter and why we as ADHDers especially need it. Laughter is good. You need to laugh. LAUGH IT UP!

Your Way Is YOUR Way

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After Wesley defeats Inigo in a sword duel, Vizini tells Fezzik to stay behind to stop Wesley. He says to stop him “your way.” When Fezzik asks what his way is, Vizini tells him his way is to throw a rock at Wesley’s head and kill him. “My way’s not very sportsmanlike,” Fezzik mutters as Vizini runs away with Buttercup. Fezzik decides he needs to fight Wesley in a different way, so when Wesley arrives, they put down their weapons (rock and sword) and fight in a way Fezzik finds more to his liking. The message here is: Don’t let anyone tell you what your way is. Do what you feel is best for you. We ADHDers need to do things our way. So, don’t throw a rock when you would rather fight hand-to-hand. Do it your way.

Seeing the Best in Every Situation

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In the Fire Swamp, Wesley immediately makes a positive comment. "It’s not that bad,” he says. After Buttercup gives him an incredulous look, he says, “Well, I’m not saying I’d like to build a summer home here, but the trees are actually quite lovely.” At one point, he even suggests living in the Fire Swamp. Wesley displays optimism. He looks at a bad situation and sees the good. That’s what we need to do as ADHDers. Does having ADHD suck? Yeah, it does. But, we can find the good in the midst of our struggles. One bright spot is the tremendous community ADHDers have formed. We are there for each other and always willing to help. Examine your life when you are struggling and find the good things.

Don’t Sacrifice What Is Truly Important to You

In a dream, Buttercup is presented to the people as their queen after marrying Prince Humperdinck. She is met with one of the most vicious and hilarious movie insults ever:

The Ancient Booer : “Boo. Boo. Boo.”

Buttercup : “Why do you do this?”

The Ancient Booer : “Because you had love in your hands, and you gave it up.”

Buttercup : “But they would have killed Westley if I hadn't done it.”

The Ancient Booer : “Your true love lives. And you marry another. True Love saved her in the Fire Swamp, and she treated it like garbage. And that's what she is, the Queen of Refuse. So bow down to her if you want, bow to her. Bow to the Queen of Slime, the Queen of Filth, the Queen of Putrescence. Boo. Boo. Rubbish. Filth. Slime. Muck. Boo. Boo. Boo.”

Everyone has principles and values. Do not sacrifice these. We need to live our lives authentically. We cannot sacrifice those things that are most important to us to please others. Life will be miserable if we do compromise our values.

If You Rush a Miracle, You Get a Rotten Miracle

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Getting to a point of proper management of your ADHD takes time. It does not happen overnight. If you want to do coaching with me, I will tell you that it is a process and warn you not to expect immediate results. That does not mean you should not take action to manage your ADHD. By all means, take action. If you want to get some coaching, click here. Just know it will take time. Rushing things will only hurt your progress.

Maybe You Don’t Mind So Much

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Before the final kiss at the end of the movie, the grandfather stops reading, and the grandson objects. “No, it’s kissing again. You don’t wanna hear that,” the grandfather says. “I don’t mind so much,” the grandson sheepishly admits.

There are lots of things that repulse the ADHD brain. Boredom is physically painful to ADHDers. However, sometimes when we actually do something we thought we hated, we realize that we don’t mind so much. Keep that in mind the next time you are repulsed by something you need to do.

Today’s Reset ADHD Challenge:

Watch The Princess Bride again

Post Script:

Shout out to Coach Jay Perry for giving me the idea to write this post!