Imagine your life as an epic, three-hour movie. In this saga there are numerous high points and low points, and both drama and comedy. There are coming-of-age moments and passages of growing older.
There will likely be some real challenges, and maybe even a few moments when you think you won’t make it. The movie may have some scary scenes. It will be tough! But there will also be scenes of joy and victory. There will be times when you’re proud of what you’ve overcome.
Sooner or later, every movie and every life comes to an end.
But let’s not consider the end just yet, with all the credits and the debrief over whether sitting in the theater for three hours was worth it. Instead, let’s consider the scenes that transpire along the way.
In the epic, three-hour movie of your life, every scene exists for a reason.
Where do these scenes come from? Presumably they come from the director, who determines the plotting and sequence of events from start to finish.
Who directs the movie of your life? Well, you do—of course. It’s your life!
So here’s the interesting part: in the movie of your life, what happens when something goes wrong? What happens when an unexpected challenge appears?
If you believe that your life isn’t determined entirely by chance, but instead at least partially through your own choices, perhaps the unexpected challenges are there for you to grow. If something happens that isn’t what you want or expect, ask yourself, “Why do I put this in my movie?” and “How will I respond?”
We know that we grow through hardship, but we don’t often purposely choose hardship. Or do we? Maybe we write these scenes into the movie of our life, either consciously or otherwise.
I don’t believe “everything happens for a reason” or that the world is fair. If we pause for even a moment to consider the victims of war and violence, as well as those who live in true poverty, I’d never want to suggest that somehow they imposed those tragedies on their lives.
But if we leave trauma aside and focus instead on our lives of ordinary ups and downs, perhaps it’s helpful to consider the scenario of our life as a movie, with scenes added or deleted by the director.
If something goes wrong in the movie of your life, where did that scene come from? Why did you put it there, and what can you learn from it?
Chris Guillebeau is the New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness of Pursuit, The $100 Startup, and other books. During a lifetime of self-employment, he visited every country in the world (193 in total) before his 35th birthday. Every summer in Portland, Oregon he hosts the World Domination Summit, a gathering of creative, remarkable people. His new book, Born for This, will help you find the work you were meant to do. Connect with Chris on Twitter, on his blog, or at your choice of worldwide airline lounge.
Image courtesy of 350543.