1. Value Your Friendships (or Companionships)
As much as we love the Doctor, we know he wouldn’t be able to save the world on a weekly basis without a little help from his friends. In The Edge of Destruction, the First Doctor cannot figure out what is wrong with his malfunctioning TARDIS. Frustrated, he incorrectly accuses his companions, Barbara and Ian, of sabotaging the TARDIS. Despite the fact that it’s his least favourite thing to do, the Doctor admits he was wrong and apologizes to his companions, saying “As we learn about each other, so we learn about ourselves.”
2. Life Depends on Change and Renewal
In the episode The Power of the Daleks, the Doctor regenerates for the first time ever. He becomes the Second Doctor. His appearance and personality are altered in the process, something that happens again in each of the next ten regenerations. The moral of the story? For people to grow, there must be change.
3. Don’t Let Fear Limit Your Actions; Let Courage Liberate Them
The Doctor has encountered his fair share of creepy creatures over the past fifty years. Regardless of what he or his companions are facing, they always face up to what they fear. In the episode Planet of the Daleks, the Third Doctor pithily summed it up: “Courage isn’t just a matter of not being frightened, you know. It’s being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway.”
4. Face the Facts
Though his personality has changed eleven times, the Doctor’s words of wisdom are (so to speak) timeless. So we’ll let the Fourth Doctor say this one in his own words: “The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views.”
5. It’s The Little Things in Life
Okay, so the Fifth Doctor didn’t exactly invent this life lesson himself, but he did pretty much nail the point. While trying to explain human emotion to the Cyber Leader in Earth Shock, the Doctor says that emotion enhances the act of smelling a flower or watching a sunset. The Cyber Leader declares that those things are irrelevant. The Doctor replies, “For some people, small, beautiful events are what life is all about.” So true.
6. Expect the Unexpected
Doctor Who has never been short on surprises. One of the biggest was the Doctor’s unexpected regeneration in the episode The Caves of Androzani, when he suddenly became the Sixth Doctor. Whether it be a journey to a parallel universe or an alien race inhabiting humans, the Doctor has taught us that things are not always as they appear.
7. Face up to the Daleks in Your Life
Since 1963, the Doctor has frequently come face to face with his greatest enemy: the Daleks. As the Seventh Doctor said in Remembrance of the Daleks, “You can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies.” The Doctor isn’t suggesting that you should simply “exterminate” your enemies. In fact, he is usually quite diplomatic in his quests. But he also doesn’t believe you should run away from your problems. Because then they might just follow you around for fifty years.
8. You Don’t Need To Be Around For Long to Make Your Mark
The Eighth Doctor appeared only once, in the 1996 television film Doctor Who. During that time he managed to defeat yet another archenemy, the Master, and save humanity from destruction! This Doctor taught us that it’s your actions, not the length of time you’ve been around, which define your impact on this world.
9. Open new doors - that police box might just be a TARDIS!
Take chances! Getting ahead in life requires you to step out of your comfort zone. In the episode Rose, the Ninth Doctor invites Rose to travel with him. She initially declines, but then decides to take a leap of faith and opens the door to the TARDIS. You never know where the next door might take you!
10. Time Is Not the Boss of You
That’s easy for a Time Lord to say, but there is truth to Rule 408 for the rest of us, too. For the past fifty years, the Doctor has taught us that time should never dictate our choices in life. The Tenth Doctor said in The Water of Mars and Blink, “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually — from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint — it’s more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly… timey-wimey… stuff.” That clears that up, then.
11. Some People Are Worth Waiting For
We all know Amy Pond as the girl who waited. And surely she proved that some people are worth waiting for (especially if they wear bowties, because bowties are cool). Though the Eleventh Doctor has a way of sporadically popping in and out of his companions’ lives, he can always be counted on to come back, even if it is twenty years later. He shows us that when we are in need we can depend on the people we trust.
12. Every Ending Is A New Beginning
We know the Doctor won’t regenerate until the Christmas Special, and we can hardly wait! After fifty successful years of dominating British pop culture and fascinating his many fans across the globe, it’s safe to say the Doctor will be around to save the day for a while longer. Congratulations and many thanks to the BBC on the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who.