Stop Looking At Me, Swan – Life Lessons Learned From Billy Madison

I realize that my last few posts have been quite heavy and serious, but don’t think that means I’m all done with making ridiculous connections and analogies between healthy living and seemingly unrelated movies. For today’s article, I decided to draw inspiration from one of the funniest and dumbest movies of all time:

Billy Madison

If you haven’t seen this gem of a movie, well…shame on you.  Here’s a quick synopsis: Billy Madison (played by Adam Sandler) is waste of space 20-something who lives with his billionaire father in a mansion.  He finds out that his father had paid of all of his grade school teachers so that he could graduate.  In order to prove that he’s fit to one day take over the family business, Billy goes back to school and repeats each grade, first grade through twelfth, in the most comedic way possible.

I watched this movie for the eight-millionth time this past weekend, looking at it through the eyes of a motivational fitness blogger, and realized there’s quite a few lessons to be learned from Mr. Madison.  I’ve pulled my favorite quotes and turned them into motivational moments…because that’s what I do.

Here we go!

Stop looking at me, swan!

At one point in the movie, Billy is sitting in a tub and decides to yell at the swan faucet fixture for looking at him.  Now, what the hell does this have to do with self-improvement?  This.

Are you like Billy every time you go to the gym, paranoid that everybody around you is a staring ‘swan’? I get one or two emails a week from people who are either afraid to go to the gym, afraid to take a group class, or too afraid to use anything other than the treadmill because they’re worried people will stare at them for being out of shape or uncoordinated.

Don’t worry about the swan Billy!

Besides, they’re just people – you’d be surprised how many of them are so vain that they hardly notice anybody other than themselves anyways.  Or, they’re just like you and too busy being self-conscious about themselves to worry about you.  So, get out of your head, put in your head phones, and do what you need to do at the gym to take care of business.

If you want to try free weights, take a fun dance class, or go to yoga for the first time, do it because it makes you happy.  I guarantee the people around you will either:

  • Not notice you because they’re just as self-conscious as you.
  • Admire you for taking control and trying to better yourself.

If they ARE giving you funny looks, I’d recommend not free-balling it to the gym next time.

First and second grade were easy, but social studies, division? This is gonna be tough.

Sure Billy breezed through first and second grade, but as soon as he made it to third grade he instantly became nervous about all of the new things he’d have to learn.  Do you spend all of your time on a treadmill or elliptical simply because you’re scared to wander over to the free weights section?  Maybe you’re not afraid of ‘swans’ looking at you, but you simply don’t know what weights to lift or how to lift them.

It’s time to graduate sucka!

Weight training has been proven to be more efficient at burning calories than straight cardio. Don’t be scared, the weights won’t bite.  Unless they’re killer zombie weights, in which case you have bigger problems to deal with.  Let’s assume they’re not.  You can start here:

If you’re not ready for weight training, you can start with body weight training instead.  Think of this as grade 2.5:

Veronica, I thank you, for kicking the sh** out of me!

Every once and a while, you need somebody to tell you like it is.  After getting screwed over, Billy drank himself stupid and gave up on his quest to graduate high school.  It took an actual ass-kicking by his first grade teacher, Ms. Lippy, to realize that he wasn’t living up to his potential.  Billy pulled his head out of his ass, stepped up his game, and ended up winning the competition.

I had a good friend last year who was overweight and had recently lost his job. This is one of my best friends and favorite people on the planet, so when he had started getting down on himself for everything that had gone wrong, I gave him a virtual kick in the ass and told him that he wasn’t living up to his potential.  Of course, I only did this because I knew he could handle it, and it was exactly what he needed to hear.

This same friend, now a completely different and improved person, recently yelled at me when he didn’t think I was living up to my potential.  I needed it.

I know for a fact there’s a better person hiding inside of you (not literally, that’s creepy) – it’s up to you to bring him/her out.  Be honest with yourself, or find a friend who is willing to be honest with you, and start taking steps to improve your life.

Don’t make me send Veronica Vaughn to kick your ass.

Of course I peed my pants.  Peeing your pants is the coolest!

While on a school field trip, one of Billy’s 3rd grade buddies accidentally peed his pants.  Suck.  Now, rather than rip on the poor kid, who’s already having the worst day of his life, Billy turned the situation around by “peeing” his own pants and then claiming that “you ain’t cool unless you pee your pants!”

Sure the quote might be random, but the lesson behind it is incredibly important: never underestimate how important your friends are!

They can pick you up when you’re down, make you laugh when you’re crying, motivate you when you’re lazy, and even splash water on their crotches when you’ve pissed yourself.  If you can find somebody to try this whole exercise thing alongside you, you’ll be far more likely to succeed and get better results.  I know this is absolutely true for me.  If you don’t have anybody local who can keep tabs on you and keep pushing you, join the Nerd Fitness Message Boards, where we’re all motivating each other.

Take care of those closest you, and they’ll take care of you in return.

You get your ass out there and you find that f***ing dog.

Remember when Miss Lippy read The Puppy Who Lost His Way to Billy’s first grade class – the kid in the story lost his dog, looked for a little while, and then gave up.  Eventually the dog found his way home, and everything was happy!  Not for Billy.  He delivered one of the funniest monologues ever:

The part of the story I don’t like is that the little boy gave up looking for Happy after an hour. He didn’t put posters up or anything, he just sat on the porch like a goon and waited. That little boy’s gotta think ‘You got a pet. You got a responsibility.’ If your dog gets lost you don’t look for an hour then call it quits. You get your ass out there and you find that f***ing dog.

If you’re trying to get in shape, you can’t eat a couple of carrots, do two push ups, and then give up when things don’t go your way. Don’t just sit on the front porch like a goon and wait for your gut to disappear either.  It’s going to take hard work, consistency, strong will, and determination.  This ain’t no cake-walk.

You need get your ass out there, eat right and exercise, and turn your f***ing life around!

Hopefully this gave you a few laughs and the kick in the ass you needed to stay motivated.  Either that, or you thought this was one of the most insanely idiotic things you’ve ever read.  Fingers crossed for the former.

O’Doyle rules!



Here are some other ridiculous movie analogies I’ve made:

The Last Fitness Program You’ll Ever Need

Workouts, nutrition guidance, and habit-building. Never wonder where you should put your limited time, energy, and effort.

Get our FREE Starter Kit with dozens of resources today!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.