10 valuable lifelong lessons I learnt from 3 idiots

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Since long, I have been a great fan of watching movies and learning a lot from all the movies I have watched and applying that in my life and business.

It has been quite some time now since the movie 3 idiots released, but it will never be of the time but the value that it delivered to the society.

I know this may be pretty late to post this but again I watched it recently and couldn’t resist my temptation to share some thoughts about it, because learning is a continuous process which should never stop

From the very beginning, I have been a great Raj Kumar Hirani fan as he never fails to hit on the right target every time

In fact, it was this one movie which had a major paradigm shift in my life that gave rise to the real ‘GOOD’ rebel in me.

I don’t think you have missed the movie but by any chance you did, you must dedicate your 2.5 hrs.to have a life changing experience and believe me you’ll not regret it

Keywords – Rancho (Aamir Khan) – Raju(Madhavan) – Farhan(Sharman Joshi) – Director aka Virus(Boman Irani) – Chatur aka Silencer(Omi Vaidya) – Pia (Kareena Kapoor)

Just a glimpse of the trailer to get the flavour of the movie right which would help to understand this article in depth

Play Video

Here are some key takeaways from the movie which I found intriguing

1. Chase Excellence, Success will follow

In the movie – In the entire movie Rancho is seen advising everyone around to chase excellence and not success. Success being the by-product of excellence.

Learning – In the entire movie, Aamir Khan (Rancho) keeps telling his friends through some practical examples that you should always chase excellence and success will follow

Sadly, our education system teaches us the complete opposite of chasing a temporary success and being happy with the present moment

Excellence demands hard work, commitment and perseverance and by doing that you at least become the master of one instead of becoming master of all trades and jack of none

2. Fool Your Heart (All is Well)

In the movie – The mantra that got most viral in those years was “All Is Well” which meant always fool you mind by saying this. It may not solve all problems but will surely give guts to face the problems as to what Rancho narrates.

Learning – There have been many theories talked about the mind-set in a many philosophical ways which may be right but the interests of studying or even going through that never comes because it seems something astronomical.

So this message in the movie was said in such a fun and lighter way thru a example, that it creates interest and seriousness of its application.

Our mind is courageous but our heart is scared all the time and refrains from taking bold decisions in life.

This mantra is nothing but a psychological relaxation to your heart so that you can be courageous during hard times

3. Learning can happen anywhere

In the movie – The rebel attitude of Rancho always kept him outside the class exploring and learning various other new things

 “There is no wealth like knowledge, and no poverty like ignorance”. – Ali ibn Abi Talib

Learning – Rancho’s only aim was learning irrespective of the time, place or year you are in

There is no age bar to learning, it can happen anywhere and anytime Just to demonstrate this he often was found wandering outside class or visiting studios where he didn’t understand anything but just with the sheer motto of learning he was present


I closely resonate with this because even I could not sit in boring classrooms and maximum that I learnt was from external sources always being outside the class

The system preaches us about the learning hierarchy as per the year you study in, but in true sense it is absolutely fine if you are willing to learn from the senior batches being in the initial years.

I can say this with utmost confidence as I personally have practised it by visiting and helping out my fellow senior colleagues without caring of which year I was in

So it needs to be looked upon as leaning thru exchange of knowledge at different levels irrespective of the year you are in.

He conveys this message to his laundry boy when he tells him he doesn’t have money to study and he replies by saying you don’t need money but a uniform to go and sit in class and it is only a matter of changing uniforms if you get thrown away from one school to another.

4. Application Based Learning

In the movie – Various instances in the movie where Rancho applies the basic knowledge of Physics to deal with real time problems. In the last part of the movie he performs a delivery operation of a lady by applying the concepts what he learnt in a simple frugal way. By the way the delivery operation which was performed was known to be 90% right in real life as claimed by the director himself.

Learning – Well, this is a sad truth of our education, we only learn and learn and only learn throughout the entire years completely missing the doing part of it.

So after learning for 5 complete years when you go on to apply these learning’s, most of the things are not even relevant or out-dated and some things even don’t seem to work, so all the efforts go down the drain completely

Instead, the applying our learning’s on a daily basis to test what works and what doesn’t, so you realise out of 10 ideas 4 seem to work and the rest can be improvised but this realisation is within some days and not after years where you can go back to fix the problems

5. Do what you love

In the movie – Farhan (Madhvan) is actually a very good wildlife photographer but has the fear of telling his parents about it as he believes that obviously they would not like his decision and also the investments that they had made for his engineering studies

So Rancho insists on him to gather courage and tell his parents about his passion and dreams without living in the fearful situation.

 “Do what you love and love what you do ”. – Steve Jobs

Learning – You can hardly get remarkable results by going against your heart, because it will be a forceful way of striving hard for success

On the other hand, when you love what you do it will no longer be a passion for you but it will start to become an obsession soon and the results would be phenomenal without a doubt.

Apart from the results, there would be satisfaction and thrill of having accomplished it successfully.

This message is demonstrated by Rancho persuading his friends to quit engineering and choose photography

6. Quit the Rat race

In the movie – Just to give a small demo to his director as to how ideally it should be taught in school, he conducts a simple exercise just to test the common sense of the students.

Not a single person gets the essence of this exercise as they are driven by the same taught formula of following the herd without stepping out to question things

Learning – The rat race is all about competition and only competition of memorization apart from receiving real time knowledge and experience.

Memorizing without understanding is like feeling nice and on top of the world for some time but screwing up your entire life

It is not about competing with someone but you yourself to excel and grow better each day

This serious message though is beautifully conveyed through some nice and funny incidents.

7. Be bold, Be Fearless

In the movie – Farhan ( Sharman) belongs to not a very well to do family and his parents can barely afford his education. Owing to this every time he is scared to make the jump and take bold decisions and which is also the reason why he wears a lot of rings in all his fingers hoping to achieve success

Again it is Rancho who insists upon him to be fearless and confident, and also throw away all the rings before appearing for his interview

Learning – Do whatever it takes to pursue what you love. You have to leave your comfort zone and take calculated risks to stand higher than your competition

You fears are the barrier to your success

Fears are tricky; they affect your life in numerous ways

The most common fear is the fear of failure, rejection, of not being good.

Most people try to ignore and let go rather than face them head on and overcome them

Taking a leap of faith and making that big jump will either be a benefit or a lesson learnt

Just like how Raju courageously refuses to change his bold attitude for a job

8. Idiot Friends Are Necessary

In the movie – Raju and Farhan owe their life to Rancho who pushed them forcefully to pursue their passion against all odds.

There have been instances where he made them take the hardest impossible decisions due to which they could come out with flying colours.

Learning – The word idiot in the movie doesn’t mean foolish but people who inspire you to think out of the box

No battle was won alone, so it becomes necessary that you have great minds with you who can guide you in the appropriate direction and motivate you to push beyond limits

This has been prevalent everywhere,

Steve Jobs had Wozniak,

Bill Gates had Paul Allen,

Mark Zuckerberg had Eduardo Saverin

9. Enjoy lightness of moments

In the movie-There are many scenes attached to this message of how ideas or lessons can be put forward with lightness and at the same time being humorous which gets registered in the minds quickly.

Learning – This message is mostly dedicated to teachers out there of how things can be put across with a pinch of humour in it, whatever the concept may be it just gets plugged in permanently in our brains, because our photographic memory remembers the situation in which it was conveyed first so it gets registered permanently and there is no memorisation involved

Also, the overall style of storytelling is so astonishing that at the end of the movie you never realise that it conveyed so many life lessons in a fun and gentle way

10. Success should never lift you up

In the movie – Aamir khan actually being Phunsukh Wangdu, the scientist who they are eagerly searching for does not reveal until they discover it thru his signature

Also, In spite of being the topper in the class he remains silent and grounded to the extent that even after their convocation he silently escapes without making too much noise as compared to ‘Silencer’ in the entire movie.

Learning – In the entire movie Silencer (chatur) is in search of the scientist Phunsukh Wangdu for an important meeting without realising the scientist is none other than Rancho himself until he discovers it through his signature

They say,

 “Never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart ”.

The point here was even after achieving success and becoming the greatest scientist he was kind and humble as compared to the flashy styled attitude of ‘Chatur’


After all of this one major thing I realised is it is not about what you say but how you say matters the most, be it even a simple thing.

He hammers these life changing messages thru his gentle lightness of delivery

This movie is all about messages plugged with humour so if you take the humour out of the situation the movie would be like a 2 hr. philosophy lecture which even various other great philosophers have been said for age long but it never hits our mind which is where the genius of Rajkumar Hirani’s craft lies.

What have you learnt from this blog post and which message would you like to implement in your life?

Which is your favorite movie that has inspired you the most?

Let me know below in the comment section

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