The recent Joaquin Phoenix movie that triggered a huge fan following around the globe became an instant success despite portraying negative characteristics of Joker the character. The question that intrigued many is, “Why did the movie make it to the top?” It made it to the top not just because of the unbelievable performance by Phoenix, but also because of the story that forced people to think about so many aspects of their lives. The story teaches us following lessons that I will discuss in this blog one by one.


The character of Arthur wanted to be known as a joker throughout the movie and he miserably failed due to several reasons, but he kept trying and trying until he finally was invited on TV as a joker. He messed it up that’s a different story, but what I am saying is that his persistence lead him to the success he always dreamt about. Never ever give up on your dreams, keep trying and one day you will achieve success. You may not get exactly what you want, but you will get something probably way better than you were aiming for.


Arthur (Joker) had severe childhood trauma, and a family history of mental illness. The severe brain injury lead to the neurological illness of pseudo-bulbar Affect (pathological laughter), which made his life miserable. Because of that misery he couldn’t get the job of his dreams. He struggled continuously, finally until he succeeded, despite his illness.

Many of us have excuses that my anxiety, or bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia is not letting me succeed in my life. Yet there are so many examples of people suffering from different mental or neurological illnesses and they succeeded and achieved beyond normal success. The scientist Stephen Hawking with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and John Nash with schizophrenia are an example of successes with neurological and psychiatric illness respectively.


Arthur never learned to forgive and held grudges. He ultimately killed some people to take his personal revenge that eventually destroyed all the success he had achieved. The lesson here is, to forgive others and don’t take revenge. Had he forgave and ignored what others said about him, he would have had enjoyed this success that eventually was to come because of his persistence. He just simply could not forgive and ignore what others said about him and eventually ruined everything by his own hands. Many people in their lives just cannot forgive and cannot ignore what others have to say about them. Remember, someone laughing at you and disrespecting you doesn’t make you disrespectful, it actually exposes the person who tries to disrespect you. Like some people occasionally comment negative on my videos and lectures, and try to insult me, eventually who loses respect? Do I lose respect or I keep gaining more respect. You tend to earn more respect by not responding and the person who is abusive loses respect in the eyes of the world. We tend to forget that and we hold grudges. Holding grudges and taking revenge can take everything away from you just like the Joker lost everything he had in his life.


Learn to set higher goals and don’t give up on your dreams. Sooner or later you will achieve what you want. No hindrance or problem can stop you from your success. However, you can lose all the success in an instant by hatred, negativity, grudge, and revenge. Learn to forgive anyone who hurt you. All those who hurt you will one day see your success and will themselves feel embarrassed. At that time forgive them and help them grow with yourself and make this world a better place.

Dr. Hassaan Tohid

Hassaan Tohid


Dr. Hassaan Tohid MBBS, CCATP, CSOTP is a TEDx Speaker, Entrepreneur, Neuroscientist, Motivational speaker, Trainer, Certified Life Coach, and a Published author.

He has a career with three domains. An entrepreneur, an academic (neuroscientist, and a teacher), and a clinician (Addiction treatment).

As an entrepreneur, he is the founder of California Institute of Behavioral Neurosciences and Psychology. Where he leads the organization as the CEO. He is a trainer, a coach, and a teacher. His training includes Public Speaking, Research Writing and Research Data Analysis, Business training and coaching, life coaching, and Sales.

An academic he is a Neuroscientist and delivered a TED talk on his specialty Mirror Neurons and Dissociative Identity Disorder at TEDx UCDavissf and TEDxUAlberta. He has published over 40 scientific articles and written 3 books.

A clinician with substance use disorder treatment specialty. Dr. Tohid graduated as a medical doctor and chose mental health and substance use disorder as a domain of his clinical career.

Dr. Tohid has delivered lectures on the subjects of success, motivation, business, sales, and research writing and publishing in different languages to thousands of medical and non-medical students.

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