Important Lessons David Bowie’s ‘Labyrinth’ Taught Us About Life

If you’re like me, the first time you saw Labyrinth you were about four years old, and the five-year-old who picked out the movie was threatening to duct tape your mouth shut if you didn’t stop talking through the film. Many lessons were learned on that initial screening. Many from the movie itself, but outside of watching (and talking during) the film, I learned how not to give into threats and what duct tape is.

For David Bowie’s birthday, let’s look at one of his most magical movie roles — Jareth the Goblin King — and the lessons this movie can inspire in us all.

Sometimes Marking Your Path is Futile

Jennifer Connelly’s character, Sarah, marks stone with lipstick as she travels throughout the Labyrinth, only to discover that the stones are being flipped around all willy nilly. The lesson to take from this: sentimentality can kill you.

You’re Going to Be Reminded of the Baby

If you kidnap a baby, you’re going to look at it and feel a bit guilty. And then you will want to dance to make up for your guilt.

Life Is Not Fair

Sarah screams “That’s not fair!” to Jareth the Goblin King. To which he retorts, “You say that so often, I wonder what your basis for comparison is.”

All You Have To Do Is Ask

Being logical is an effective approach to life. When Sarah encounters Didymus, who is guarding a portion of the Labyrinth, he warns her that no one shall pass through without his permission. She simply asks and access is granted.

Deadlines Are Crucial

Without deadlines we would never finish anything. Drive would cease to exist. Jareth gives Sarah 13 hours to solve the Labyrinth, and as a result she actually tries to save her baby brother.

Love Your Baby Brother (Or Any Other Sibling If You Have One)

Cherish your kin, even if they are annoying, for if you wish ill upon them then you will be forced to hang out with muppets and be serenaded by David Bowie.

Too Much Help Can Hurt You

Sarah encounters a bunch of helping hands that cause more harm than good. Too many opinions and advice can be confusing, cumbersome, even dangerous! Sometimes it’s best to be independent, rely on your own capabilities and a few trusted advisers.

Don’t Give Crystals To Just Anyone

Jareth has this beautiful Crystal that will show you your dreams. “But this is not a gift for an ordinary girl who takes care of a screaming baby.” The takeaway is only give the greatest gifts to those who deserve it. Don’t be one of those people who says “I love you” to everyone to the point where these words lose all meaning.

Don’t Give Up

“She’ll soon give up when she realizes she has to start all over again,” Jareth says with a cackle. But Sarah does not let the challenges he puts her through de-rail her mission. Accept the challenges and attain your dreams. Save your baby brother!

Bad Smells Can Bring You Down

Sarah and Hoggle stumble upon the Bog of Stench. Once you step a foot in it, you will smell bad for life. Think of the Bog of Stench as a metaphor for smelly horrible people. If you allow these foul-smelling people into your life, they will cling and stay with you forever, weighing you down like the noxious smell of rotten eggs, sulfur, gasoline, et cetera.