The Answer to Boredom isn’t Variety

Everyday Phil wakes up it’s February 2 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania – Groundhog Day.  That’s what happens to Phil Connors (Bill Murray) in the comedy classic, Groundhog Day.

Maybe you feel like it’s 2:00 a.m. and you’re on a long freeway with no exits. You do what you’re supposed to do and say what you’re supposed to say. But there’s no joy.


Boredom and futility turn to suicide in Groundhog Day. Phil tries to kill himself by driving off a cliff, electrocuting himself in the bathtub, stepping in front of a truck, and jumping off the bell tower.


Surprisingly, Phil Connors shifts from suicide to fulfillment, but his circumstances don’t change. What if futility can’t be answered by changing your circumstances?

Feeling stuck is a choice.

Meaning in the mundane is found when you shift focus from yourself to others. In the movie, Phil shifts in two important ways.

  1. Show up to serve. Phil meets the pressing needs of others. He catches a falling child, changes flat tires, and performs the Heimlich Maneuver on a choking man.
  2. Improve yourself. Phil learns to play the piano and he also learns how to save a sick bum.

The pursuit of happiness isn’t the answer. Phil pursues meaningful service. He shifts from a self-centered egotistical jerk to servant.

At the end of the movie, Phil wants to live in the town he wanted to escape. What if changing your circumstances isn’t the answer? What if you need to change?

What shifts elevate perspective in leadership?

Movie trivia:

Bill Murray was bitten by the groundhog twice.

Premier Magazine lists Bill Murray’s portrail of Phil Connors in Groundhog Day as the 48th greatest performance of all time. Jack Nicolas is #47 in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Bill Murray’s character is Phil. The groundhog’s name is Phil.

Added resources:

How To Understand The Philosophy Of ‘Groundhog Day’ And Live Life By Its Message (NPR)

Groundhod Day (Library of Congress)

It’s Time to Celebrate Groundhog Day: 10 Life Lessons You Can Learn from the Bill Murray Comedy (People)

Reliving Groundhog Day (The Atlantic)