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A Big Life Lesson From Little Hugo

Posted on: March 1, 2012

Hollywood has given us thousands of memorable movie quotes. “There’s no crying in baseball!” “Houston, we have a problem.” “Life is like a box of chocolates.” And these are three of just one actor’s (Tom Hanks) famous lines.

Few lines rise to the level of meaningful: Jerry Maguire‘s “You had me at ‘Hello'” comes quickly to mind for its simplicity, memorability and impact. Last year’s The Help gave us a sleeper line: “Nobody ever asked me before what it’s like to be me.” In Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams delivers: “Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself.”

Most of us plunk down our $9.50 to be entertained; to be taken away from ourselves for a couple of hours. So it comes as a surprise when something truly important is said; the more surprising when it comes out of the mouth of an innocent child.

Hugo is a movie about fixing things — a subject with which we can relate; who among us hasn’t experienced brokenness? Surely, twelve-year-old orphan ‘Hugo Cabret’ is one of us. He gives one of cinema’s most meaningful lines:

“If you lose your purpose, it’s like you’re broken.”

Perhaps moviegoers missed this. I did not. It stuck to me and almost made the remainder of the film a distraction as I considered the wisdom of these words.


It is my belief that each human comes to this earth with a purpose. It’s planted in there somewhere; in our DNA, maybe. Each of us is wired in a special, specific way so as to enable us to accomplish our purpose. It could be the thing you do with the greatest of ease. It might be something you have to practice before being able to perform it. Years of education or apprenticeship may be necessary.

Most of us never realize our purpose. Family and societal influences often obscure it from us. There comes a sense that something’s missing; we are not satisfied. We are not reaching our true potential.

“If you lose your purpose, it’s like you’re broken.”

Understanding this may help to explain personal and societal dysfunction. The vast majority of us are missing the peace that comes from operating within our purpose. The world is missing out on the product that is uniquely yours to give.


Get away from the noise. Go inside. Make the effort to touch the core. You can only realize the fulfillment of acting within your purpose if you know your purpose.

7 Responses to "A Big Life Lesson From Little Hugo"

Thanks, Fred. Very profound, yet simple. Your purpose in life makes it worth living.

So true Fred. Thanks for the remInder. 😉

Wow. I liked this one makes me want to go see movie

I look forward to seeing it too. Thank you for the reminder to keep my eye on the purpose…

Just saw this movie yesterday and really enjoyed it. Chloë Grace Moretz, who plays Isabelle, is going places. I have been mesmorized by her ever since I witnessed her jaw dropping performance as “Hit Girl” in the movie “Kick Ass”. That movie is certainly not for everybody as it is very violent but she absolutely nailed that role!


Per your opening sentence – “Hollywood has given us thousand of memorable movie quotes.”

One of my favorites is “I don’t look as stupid as I am.” from the movie Fatal Instinct!

David & I just watched that movie Monday night and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s an amazing movie and that line definitely grabs you.
Off the beaten path, I’ve been watching reruns of Law & Order – Criminal Intent. A line that jumped out at me was when Vincent D’Onofrio is interrogating two brothers on a murder charge. The greedy, entitled, educated brother tried to frame his brother who is a paranoid schizophrenic. D’Onofrio’s line was “He may be crazy – but you’re evil.” Okay, so it’s not necessarily a meaningful or memorable quote, but I enjoyed it.

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