The Real Gift The Wizard Gave Dorothy and Her Friends
This weekend I was channel surfing to pass the time before dinner.
I opted for the Wizard of Oz, even though there was just thirty minutes left in the movie.
I watched as 14 year old Dorothy kills the Wicked Witch of the West with a splash of water meant to save her friend the Scarecrow from a fiery death.
It’s amazing what you can do when you’re threatened.
Grabbing the broom she needs to approach the intimidating Wizard with her request to go home, she and her three friends head to the Emerald City.
As they arrive in the Wizard’s throne room, Dorothy and her friends tremble as she steps forward and lays the witch’s broom on the floor.
(What follows is an excerpt from the script)
“Can I believe my eyes?” the Wizard’s voice booms. “Why have you come back?”
“Please, sir.” Dorothy pleads. ”We’ve done what you told us. We’ve brought you the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West. We melted her.”
“Oh, you liquidated her, eh? Very resourceful.”
“Yes, sir. So we’d like you to keep your promise to us, if you please, sir.”
”Not so fast! Not so fast! I’ll have to give the matter a little thought. Go away and come back tomorrow!”
“Tomorrow? Oh, but I want to go home now!”
“You’ve had plenty of time already!” the Tin Man chimes in.
“Yeah!” the Lion exclaims.
”Do not arouse the wrath of the Great and Powerful Oz. I said, come back tomorrow!”
As the Wizard speaks, Dorothy’s dog Toto pulls back the curtain.
Behind the intimidating voice of the Wizard is a washed up huckster who suffers from an overwhelming sense of inferiority and insecurity.
“Who are you?” Dorothy wonders.
“Well, I — I — I am the Great and Powerful — Wizard of Oz.”
“Uh — yes…”
“I don’t believe you!”
“No, I’m afraid it’s true. There’s no other Wizard except me.”
(End script excerpt)
Calling Out the Wizard
Dorothy and her friends go on accusing the Wizard of being a scam artist.
They have certain things they want, and they want them now.
- The Scarecrow wants a brain.
- The Tin Man wants a heart.
- The Lion wants courage.
- And Dorothy just wants to go home.
At this point, the Wizard says something extraordinary. It comes across as simple, so simple you’ll miss it if you’re not paying attention.
The Wizard did promise everything the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion asked for. When they demand he deliver, the Wizard responds,
”…but you’ve got them. You’ve had them all the time!”
Wait a minute.
If they had what they wanted — a brain, a heart, and courage — why didn’t they see it?
They told themselves the wrong story.
We see this unfold as the Wizard gives each character a gift. It’s not a literal brain, heart, or courage itself. What he gave are symbols.
What’s in your head?
We send our kids to school so they’ll learn how to live. At least that’s what we hope will happen.
Sitting in a classroom is no guarantee the student will get educated. If you don’t use the Pythagorean Theorem after school, you’ll forget it. Unless you’re a grammar nut, you won’t spend your free time diagramming sentences.
The Wizard gives the Scarecrow a diploma. Why? It’s proof he’s smart.
Or is it?
No, it’s a symbol. He’s smart now because he believes he is. So he acts smarter.
He’s telling himself a new story.
The old story becomes irrelevant. “Sure, I used to be dumb. But not anymore. I’ve got a brain, and I’m gonna use it.”
Do you believe you’re smart? You’ve already got a brain. And it’s ready for you to use to accomplish great things.
A heart for good deeds
You show people your heart by your actions.
People talk a lot about following your passion. Do that, and everything you want will come your way.
Well, it should anyway.
But what if it doesn’t? What if you give and give and no one cares?
Then maybe you’re just doing good deeds so people will notice you. That’s understandable. You’ve got to be seen to be followed.
You’ll succeed more at this if you think backward.
Ask yourself, “Who can I serve? What can I do to make their life better? How can I use my talent to make a difference?”
Serve others and they’ll serve you.
The Wizard didn’t give the Tin Man a heart. He gave him a testimonial. Proof he has a heart.
The clock is a symbol. It’s ticking rhythm mimics the beating of a human heart.
And it’s a new story the Tin Man can tell himself and believe in.
His tears when Dorothy learns she can’t go home prove he’s got that heart he always wanted.
What can you do to show your friends and clients that you’ve got heart? Serve them regularly and they’ll rave about you.
And you won’t even have to ask.
Be strong and courageous
If fear has gripped you so hard you think courage is a gift for the privileged few, you’ll always be afraid.
The Lion was scared of his own tail. Worry plagued him day after day. He never felt good enough, strong enough, or bold enough.
If you’ve ever felt this way, you’ve probably spent a ton of energy hiding your gifts.
What if someone laughs at me?
What if I offend someone?
What if I overlook a typo and destroy my credibility forever?
When you’re scared, your mind will feed you every worst case scenario imaginable. Doubt leads to more doubt. And soon, you’ll do everything you can to protect yourself from getting hurt.
That’s why the Wizard gave the Lion a medal. We prize symbols that show we’ve stood up to fear.
When you’re courageous, you risk exposure, injury, and ridicule. Anything worth having comes with a price. The price you pay is courage.
The good news is when you spend courage, you get more.
You’ve got courage inside you now, waiting to be tapped. You release it by taking risks. When you act, you get the proof you need to tell yourself a new story.
The more you do, the more evidence you’ll gather. And your story will become stronger and more believable.
Write your new story now
Like the Scarecrow, you’re smarter than you think.
You’ve got heart.
And deep inside, the courage you need is ready to tap.
If you believe you don’t, you’re telling yourself the wrong story.
The key to change is awareness. When you know you can, you’ll find the resources to do it.
Sure, there’s a gap between you and what you want. But that’s not the problem.
Believing you don’t have what it takes to close the gap is.
Maybe you have to go to your own Emerald City and see a Wizard to help you unleash your potential. Maybe you have to stare fear in the eye and ask for more than you ever have before. And maybe you need a symbol to remind you of what’s possible if you believe.
You’re not alone.
You can do this.
Just imagine having a full measure of what you want right now — courage, heart, intelligence — and go after your goals with gusto.
Take a selfie of yourself with a symbol of your superpower. Wear a cape. Hold a trophy. Stand next to your diploma on the wall. Then post it on your smartphone or computer screen so you’ll see it every single day.
What story will you write with your life? Aim high and you’ll become the hero you always wanted to be.