It is easy to think that Alice in Wonderland is a dreamland fairy tale for children. On the surface it appears to be just that. However, if you look closer, you will realise that Alice’s world translates into much more than a children’s fairytale.
The story has been studied and analysed by psychoanalysts since the early 1900’s and although it is filled with chaos there is lots to learn from its underlying messages.
1. Manage your Personal Growth
The most important metaphor in the story is one of growth. We see Alice grow from tall to short and from big to small. Growing up is about changing body size, dealing with ups and downs, feeling confident or insecure about oneself. When Alice eats she grows, when she drinks she shrinks. She soon learns to use the resources in her world to control her personal growth.
We spend our lives ‘growing up’ in one way or another. What are you doing to manage your personal growth?
2. Be Specific about What You Want to Achieve
Alice learns about the importance of knowing what she wants. We can learn a great deal about the importance of goals from her conversation with the Cheshire Cat.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
“‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to”‘ said the Cat.
“‘I don’t much care where” said Alice.
‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
Think about what you will achieve over the next 90 days! Write it down together with the steps that you will take to achieve that. Imagine specifically what you will see and hear as you achieve your goal. Think about it until you can run a mental movie of what you want over and over again. In particular think about how achieving your goal will make you feel, and build the intensity of that emotion in your mind.
3. Develop your Identity
The characters in wonderland continually ask Alice who she is. As a result, she questions her identity. When we have doubts about who we are and what we stand for it affects our entire life. Consider the roles you have in your life, for example; a parent, a spouse, a son or a daughter, a colleague, a leader or a friend. Write out the qualities you believe you have in those roles. E.g. “I am a caring father” or “I am a creative business person”. Remember that you will assume different behaviours in each role. As you learn more about yourself in each role, you will reinforce your self-belief and learn to develop your capabilities within each role.
4. Say What you Really Mean
Alice is continually told to say what she means. How often do you really say what you mean? When did you last have a conversation really meaningful conversation? When you connect with people who share similar values, you will find that you share more meaningful conversations.
5. Challenge your Creativity
In the latest movie Alice’s father, a successful entrepreneur, tells her that he thinks of 6 impossible things before breakfast every day. Imagine if you just thought of 1 impossible thing per day. You could find ways to solve problems or create something that was never invented before. Get your creative juices flowing by thinking of 1 impossible thing everyday.
6. Follow the Advice you Give Yourself
“Alice generally gave herself good advice (though she very seldom followed it).”
Do you give yourself good advice and do you follow it? Or are we better at giving others advice and expecting them to follow it?
Whether you enjoy this fairytale for its entertainment value or search for the deeper meaning like I have, there is lots of value to be had.
We spend all of our lives “growing up” in one way or another. The underlying messages in Alice in Wonderland are about personal growth and development. Growing up is about learning who we are, what we stand for, what we want to do, be and have. It is about dealing with difficulty, hurt and pain as well as love, laughter and fun. It is about overcoming fears, embracing new challenges and nurturing relationships. It is about using our talents and learning to be the best we can be.
This may be a children’s story at heart, however we can learn a great deal from a young girl who acquires the confidence and courage to break free from rules to become that person she aspires to be.
Perhaps you have read the story or been to see the movie. Was there something in particular from the story that resonated with you?