3 Things I Learned From Willy Wonka

As a kid, I remember wishing I could go to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.  What could be better than having an unlimited supply of candy?

The other day I watched Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory for the first time in many years.  All I remembered from seeing the movie as a kid was the crazy candies and the oompa loompas.  I was surprised to find that the film also contains some very important lessons.

Here are 3 things that we can all learn from Willy Wonka:

1 – The Importance of Imagination – Willy Wonka showed us that amazing things can happen with a little imagination.  Wonka dominated the chocolate factory world because he invented such creative candies.  His competitors could not keep up with Wonka because they could not match his dreams.

Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory also had an amazing imagination.  According to Wikipedia, when Dahl was just a boy in school, Cadbury, the chocolate company, would send boxes of new chocolates to the school to be tested by the kids.  Dahl used to dream of creating a new chocolate bar that would win the praise of Mr. Cadbury himself.  Later Dahl would turn these dreams into the book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

As we become adults, we spend less time dreaming.  Our imagination doesn’t disappear, but we rely on it less and less.  That is really too bad.  I think we should all spend a little time dreaming up new candy bar ideas.

2- It is Better to Give Than Receive – What was the last really great gift you received? Do you remember how happy you were to get it? Now, what was the last great gift you gave?  Do you remember the look on your friend or family member’s face when you gave them the gift?

I hope each of these questions elicit strong memories.  Chances are the gifts we receive create more powerful memories than the gifts we give.

This wasn’t the case with Charlie.  Upon receiving his first paycheck, he couldn’t wait to buy bread to share with his family.  And not only that, he wanted to give his left over money to his mother and his grandpa Joe.  He earned that money and could have kept it for himself, but he chose to share it with the ones he loved.

Even when Charlie was given a Wonka bar for his birthday, the first thing he wanted to do was share a piece with his mom and grandparents.  In fact, the Wonka bar that contained the golden ticket, Charlie bought to give to his grandpa Joe.

Nearly everything good that happened to Charlie was a result of him choosing to give rather than receive.

That is an important message that is often lost on our society.  We would much rather get a candy bar than give one to someone else.  Charlie’s joy in giving is something we all need to remember.

3 – The Power of Marketing – Willy Wonka’s idea to open up his factory to five lucky kids created a worldwide phenomenon.  His intention might not have been to sell a billion candy bars, but that is exactly what happened.

Stores could not keep Wonka bars on the shelves because everyone wanted to win that golden ticket and see what was in Wonka’s factory.   It became the biggest news story of the time.  Had Twitter been around back then, I am sure #Wonka would have been trending.

As I look to gain popularity with this blog I should try to think of my Wonka strategy.  What can I come up with that will take off like the golden ticket?

I suppose I could open up my “factory” to five lucky kids, but somehow I think that would land me in jail.  So I guess I will just have to keep on thinking.

Who knew that we could learn so much from a movie about candy?  In fact, I actually learned 6 lessons from Willy Wonka, unfortunately, the last three are not as valuable as the ones we just covered.

What are the other three lessons, you ask? Stay tuned to Blog by Bake and tomorrow I will explain the 3 things that I learned from Willy Wonka that Roald Dahl probably hadn’t intended for me to learn.


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