8 lessons Robin Williams taught us

Compiled by Herb Scribner, Deseret News National Edition

Published: Tue, Aug. 12, 2014, 10:55 p.m. MDT

 Robin Williams passed away on Monday from what some are linking to mental illness. But Williams was known for his inspirational quotes and messages, seen here in this list.

Robin Williams passed away on Monday from what some are linking to mental illness. But Williams was known for his inspirational quotes and messages, seen here in this list.

(Associated Press)

Robin Williams’ life came to an end Monday in what many are calling a depression-linked suicide.

Some, like The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn, have said Williams didn’t get the proper mental care — something that many Americans are dealing with today. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reported that 1 in 4 Americans suffer from mental illness every year.

But Williams’ death is bringing people back to some of his more inspirational quotes and speeches. Here’s a list of eight messages to take away from Williams’ movies and speeches that are sure to inspire fans.

What verse will you be? — From “Dead Poets Society,” this scene shows Williams asking his students to get involved with the beauty and art of the world — telling them that they are all crucial to the growth and progression of society.

Remember to think about your future — In the movie “Jack,” Williams played a young kid who grew up faster physically than he aged mentally. In this scene — at the end of the film during his graduation from college — Williams expresses what it means to contemplate the future and how to celebrate each day.

Don’t focus on what won’t make you unhappy — Williams was primarily known for his comedy. And in one scene as Genie from the "Aladdin" movie series, Williams looks to inspire the character Jasmine by picking her up and out of her despair.

There’s more than one way to treat a person — “Patch Adams” features Williams as a doctor treating people without a license. And in this scene, he is put up to trial, but Williams counters much of the arguments presented against him by explaining the proper ways to treat people both in the hospital and outside of it.

Just because you know something, doesn’t mean you really know it — Williams won an Oscar for his portrayal of the professor Sean in “Good Will Hunting.” One of the most inspirational scenes comes from when he and his student, played by Matt Damon, are sitting on a park bench. Williams explains that even though Damon might know facts, plays and quotes, he doesn’t have any real life experiences to deepen his understanding of the human experience.

Note: This clip contains a couple of instances of mature language.

Make sure to seize the day — In another scene from “Dead Poets Society,” Williams encourages his students to seize the day and always look at things from a unique perspective.

Don’t always do things by the book — Williams was at it again in “Dead Poets Society” when he asked his students to rip out pages from their textbooks, explaining that books don't always hold all the answers that people are searching for.

Never forget family — He had it all. The Oscar award, the exceptional performance and the crowd’s applause. Regardless, when Williams stepped up to the mic and accepted his Oscar award, he still remembered to thank his wife and his family, saying they were all what kept him going en route to his success.

Email: hscribner@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: @herbscribner

1. patriot
Cedar Hills, UT,
Aug. 12, 2014

1. don't take drugs
2. don't drink booze

2. jeanie
orem, UT,
Aug. 12, 2014


While I do not condone drugs or alcohol be careful not to assume those were the source of Mr. Williams problems that led to his death. Most people who struggle with addictions have deeper issues that they are running from through the abuse of many things. How many of us turn to food when we're upset or stressed and are therefore overweight?

Alcohol and drug abuse were likely symptoms of a more painful illness. Judge not seems to fit here.

3. Tennor
Orem, UT,
Aug. 12, 2014

1a. If you have depression, seek and follow medical counsel.

4. Tennor
Orem, UT,
Aug. 12, 2014

And thanks for a great little collection. Williams made us laugh and cry and inspired us through many of roles. He was a great talent and he'll be missed.

5. Yorkshire
City, Ut,
Aug. 12, 2014

Too bad some from his movie "Awakenings" were not included. One of Robin William's best rolls and best movies. Too undermentioned and under appreciated.