10 Life Lessons from Super Mario Bros

Posted by Maria Vicente

1. The princess will always need saving.
No matter how many times Mario saves Princess Peach, she’s captured again in the next installment of Super Mario Bros. Life’s annoying like that too. The moment you finish one thing, something else will appear. Just keep on playing.

2. Dinosaurs really aren’t that scary.
Ever since Jurassic Park, we’ve lived terrified that dinosaurs will somehow resurface on Earth and take over. I understand why people are frightened (dinosaurs are huge!), but Mario teaches us that all we have to do is grab that T-Rex by its tail and swing it around a few times. Dizziness will mess with anyone, no matter how big or reptilian.

3. Traveling to the unknown usually results in rewards.
Half of Mario playing time is spent frantically looking for tunnels where the down button works. And what do we find 9 times out of 10 in those underground spaces? Coins! Free men! Power-up mushrooms! Take a random path and see what happens.

4. Red is cooler than green.
This is so obvious that I can’t believe I wrote it down. I mean, come on.

5. When you can’t solve a problem, jumping around like a maniac will lead to a solution.
We all get frustrated. Instead of sitting at a desk, over-thinking all possibilities, get up and jump around. I promise it will help. Mario’s jumping often leads to hidden vines that carry him above the clouds. A little bit of movement might help to clear your head.

6. You can only hold your breath underwater for so long.
Mario’s not a very good swimmer. Those pie pieces disappear before you can get anything accomplished. Chances are, you know the feeling (or aren't such a hot swimmer yourself). You can only force yourself to do hard things for a limited amount of time, so don’t procrastinate and get them out of the way fast.

7. Ice is dangerous.
Seriously, be careful on that stuff. If you don’t have ice skates or a penguin to carry you to safety, you’re probably better off avoiding it altogether.

8. It’s ok to live in a bubble sometimes.
Floating in a bubble can be a lifesaver, especially when you’re in multi-player mode. Strategic planning turns bubble seclusion into an art. In life, it’s also ok to hide in a bubble. Until two people bubble at the same time and you’re kicked out of the level, anyway.

9. The best way to avoid a bullet is to duck.
This applies to both figurative and literal bullets. Avoidance is key. Watch that bullet soar on by. Now stand up and brush off those unharmed overalls.

10. There’s a fine line between confident and cocky.
You’re running as fast as you can possibly hold down the buttons, doing flips in the air, tackling every Goomba and Koopa in your way. The music starts to fade and the warning bells go off, but you’re determined to get rid of that last fire-jumpy-thing before the star is gone for good. …And now you’re dead.

Maria Vicente is an associate literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency. She likes books, coffee, design, & magic. You can find her on Twitter (@MsMariaVicente) or her blog, ibelieveinstory.com.