Romer: Just keep swimming
In the Pixar movie “Finding Nemo” (and its sequel, “Finding Dory”), Dory (played by Ellen DeGeneres) is a wide-eyed, blue tang fish who suffers from memory loss every 10 seconds or so. Dory is a friendly, optimistic, innocent fish who tries — and tries — to be helpful. She becomes friends with Marlin, a clown fish who has just lost his only son.
For those not familiar with the movie, careful and overly cautious clownfish Marlin wants to overanalyze every situation, think through the options, and make a calculated thoughtful decision about what to do next. For Dory, a blue tang fish with short term memory loss, the solution to every problem is to just keep swimming.
Dory offers to help Marlin find Nemo. In fact, she insists on it and doesn’t take no for an answer. The search is very difficult. Along the way, they face a variety of challenges in their attempt to solve the problems facing them which leads Marlin to want to give up.
Every time Marlin feels like giving up Dory says to him, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.”
Dory: “When life gets you down, you know what you got to (gotta) do?”
Marlin: “I don’t want to know what you got to (gotta) do.”
Dory: “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.”
With these words, Dory is telling her friend that he should not give up. He should keep looking for his son.
Here’s the thing: At some point, we all face a difficult situation (think COVID-19 impacts). Our natural inclination might be to be Marlin – analyze, plan, review every alternative, think things through. These difficult situations cause us to maybe feel frightened, sad or overwhelmed. And we may want to give up. We want to quit. It is at this point that we realize that sometimes we need to be Dory and “just keep swimming.”
The idea of just keep swimming gives us the hope we need to reach our goal — to finish strong, and to persevere through the hard times. Essentially, to never give up. This is of the most significant lessons taught by “Finding Nemo.” Marlin and Dory face numerous challenges trying to find Nemo, but they never give up – they just keep swimming. And spoiler alert (the movie came out in 2003 – if you haven’t seen it by now…) by the end of the movie, they find Nemo.
The expression may come from a children’s film, but its meaning is not childish. And of course, it applies to our current situation: We are at the point that we need to finish strong. We need to survive right now (just keep swimming) in order to thrive in the future. No matter how many challenges COVID-19 throws us, we must push through the way like Marlin and Dory did.
2020 is a year that any of us will likely remember for social distancing, face masks, racial unrest, a historically charged presidential election, and a struggling economy. We need to respond like Dory by just keep swimming. By doing so, it is possible to also see an opportunity to rebuild an economy that creates economic vitality, supports our businesses, drives tourism and economic development, and helps our community members not only survive today but thrive tomorrow.
We’re going to just keep swimming. When things get tough like they are right now — just keep moving forward and change will come.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at www.vailvalleypartnership.com.
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