What ‘Groundhog Day’ Can Teach Us About the Power of Personal Development

UPDATED: February 3, 2023
PUBLISHED: February 2, 2023
bill murray playing piano in groundhog day

Rita: “Do you ever have déjà vu?”

Phil: “Didn’t you just ask me that?”

Have you ever seen the 1993 movie Groundhog Day? The film tells the story of self-centered and self-serving weatherman Phil Connors, played by Bill Murray, who is doomed to repeat the same day over and over again on February 2—Groundhog Day.

“Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today,” Connors says.

Connors tries to take advantage of this glitch in time by pretending to be somebody he isn’t, using manipulation and self-indulgence in order to do what he thinks will satisfy him. Eventually, however, the time warp leaves him in complete despair. It’s only when he decides to set an example of personal development and work on himself that he not only finds happiness and fulfillment, but also achieves his goals.

The turning point is when Connors shares his circumstances with his television producer Rita (Andie MacDowell), the lady he’s fallen in love with. He tells her that he has to relive the same day on repeat. He confesses that no matter what happens today, no matter how pleasant it is, tomorrow she won’t remember their time together. She’ll once again think he is a jerk.

She asks him, “Is it such a curse to be able to replay each day over and over again? Think of all the opportunities and things you could do.”

An example of personal development

The light begins to break through and Connors starts the process of self-improvement. He learns to play the piano and sculpt ice, he reads the great literary classics, he learns medical techniques to help a dying man, he becomes a captivating reporter who brings together a whole city—and he gets the girl. But he only wins her while in pursuit of personal development and service to others.

Initially, Murray’s character thought he had just 24 hours to get through, and he viewed them as an opportunity for self-gratification. But, newly enlightened, he sees those same 24 hours as an opportunity to become skilled and knowledgeable, to make a difference in the lives of others.

We might not get to relive each day in the literal sense of the word, but every day is a new opportunity to use yesterday’s mistakes and shortcomings—as well as victories—to create a new today.

So no matter how implausible the concept of a 24-hour loop is, the power we possess to become someone great is not. It is not just a fantasy or a feel-good idea. It is one of the most real concepts we have the opportunity to embrace. And it leaves us with two important questions:

  1. What are we investing our time in?
  2. What will it make of us and how will it affect others?

Choose to make this a powerful and meaningful week and become an example of the power of personal development!

This article was published in February 2016 and has been updated. Photo © Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

SUCCESS is your guide for personal and professional development through inspiration, motivation and training.