Like many Shonen anime characters, Naruto has captured the hearts of many fans.
After the anime boom in the early 2000s with Toonami, like many people, I went online to look for more anime. Something that hit the spot like Yu Yu Hakusho and Dragon Ball Z.
When I stumbled upon Naruto I found more than just a new action-packed anime. I found a new friend and a new philosophy of life.
One of the reasons why anime tends to be so popular in the west is because with anime you can learn more than with western cartoons.
Naruto taught me so much about how to deal with my life’s problems and most importantly, loneliness.
Naruto was an underdog and despite his goofy behavior, he taught me so much more than to stand up for myself. But it was not just Naruto himself but rather, the entire cast of characters.
Rock Lee, Neji, Kakashi, Sasuke, the whole gang.
So for those who claim you cannot learn anything from anime or that anime is for kids, laugh at their faces or show them this article.
I thought my life was difficult growing up.
Most of the time I felt like an orphan like Naruto. Watching this anime, it really got to me to look at life a different way.
It sounds funny that I learned this from some animated characters but that is the impact that these shows have on the human psyche.
It’s not just entertainment, it reaches your soul. It becomes part of you and that is why we love it.
Here are 5 ways to handle life’s difficulties according to Naruto:
1. Do the things that you hate doing
In the very first season, Naruto sucked at using the shadow clone jutsu. However, after doing it a hundred times, it became his signature justsu.
Forget the fact that he stole the scroll from the Hokage to learn the jutsu correctly. Naruto practiced the shadow clone jutsu so much that when it came time to fight Zabusa, he had his own spin on the jutsu.
Naruto became good at it because he did what he sucked at. He failed a test because he could not do a shadow clone jutsu.
That one thing that you hate doing or that thing that you suck at doing is usually what you need to become stronger.
Whether if it’s weight loss, financial problems, relationship problems or learning something new. You have to do the things you hate doing to become a better person.
I used to hate approaching girls because my fear of rejection was way higher than my desire to be with a pretty girl.
Once I decided that I was going to approach at least 5 to 10 girls per day, my dating life changed.
2. Sometimes you have to do the boring work
Look, I know that we all want to have fun and get things done as fast as possible.
Now in this technologically advanced age we want everything at the click of a button. However, many times you are not going to get what you want by expecting things to be easy.
Most of the time you have to do a lot of boring things so that you can have amazing things.
Naruto did a lot of boring work. When he was learning the Rasengan and then learning the art of the toad sages to go into sage mode. It’s a lot of boring work.
When your life gets tough and things start to happen like losing your job, getting into debt, getting evicted from your apartment or getting dumped by your girlfriend, you are going to find yourself doing a lot of boring things.
Some people go to college so they can party and meet new people but the real reward is in doing a lot of that boring work.
I remember watching episodes of Naruto when he was learning the Rasengan.
The episodes started to feel like filler episodes and we all know how anime fans feel about filler episodes. However, when he finally learned the Rasengan and used it on Kabuto, watching those other episodes was so worth it.
Boring work is required.
3. It’s okay to be alone
As human beings, we really are wired to be around other people, as part of a tribe. However, during times of loneliness, this is your time to get your mind straight.
Naruto experienced a lot of loneliness in his life.
Being neglected and rejected by the village.
In his times of loneliness, Naruto practiced throwing kunai and Shurikens by himself. That loneliness drove him to find his purpose and that was to “become Hokage and have everyone acknowledge him.”
Loneliness made Naruto stronger.
It might be difficult to wrap your head around that.
Some would say, “well being around friends and family is better.” Sure being with loved ones is a great feeling. However, in solitude, you can grow. You can get to know yourself better.
Naruto was not afraid to make a fool out of himself because he learned to love himself in solitude.
When no one is around to care about you, you need to learn to take care of yourself. This teaches you self-reliance and to enjoy your own company.
If you have trouble enjoying the solitude and being present with yourself, that means you are uncomfortable with yourself and need people to validate you.
Naruto taught me that solitude is good.
It’s easy to feel good about yourself when you have friends and family but what about when you are alone like Naruto, will you be able to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I love myself.”?
4. Real friends will stay with you during difficult times
We all have had those friends who we hang out with. We might have known them since high school.
We party with them and go to the movies with them. However, when the going gets tough or when you lose everything or are in serious trouble, all the fake friends disappear.
The people who stay in difficult times are your real friends
This lesson is not from Naruto but rather Sasuke.
Sasuke is a horrible friend but Naruto still pursued him. Sasuke was too much of a jerk, too selfish.
Naruto took a team of lead ninjas to find Sasuke but he just spat on their faces and their efforts.
Sasuke also used Naruto to awaken his Sharingan. It seemed Naruto was nothing but competition for Sasuke.
It wasn’t until the final fight after they defeated Kaguya when Sasuke realized that Naruto was a true friend.
Now realistically speaking, nobody chases after someone who is constantly ignoring them. So, to translate anime to real life, a real friend will stay during your difficult times.
There’s no need to go chasing after people who do not appreciate your loyalty.
5. Find a mentor or seek help
Naruto did not learn Rasengan or sage mode by himself.
He had a mentor. Jiraiya taught him the Rasengan and then took him for two years to become stronger.
Naruto learned from a legendary Sannin and thus returned to the leaf village much stronger.
You can learn on your own but if you are stuck then you need to find someone that will help you grow.
It could be from books, a person that you know, someone you look up to, even if you have to pay that person it could be worth it.
Apprenticeship is a lost art and few practice it. This really is the fastest way to learn and I value it more than a college education.
Learning from someone who’s already solved a problem you are having or lives the kind of life that you want, that is the person you need to listen to.
These are the five lessons I learned from the Naruto anime.