I read an inspiring quote of Brit Marling (“Another Earth”) recently, on why she decided to become a screenwriter on top of being an actress:
How terrifying to surrender your life to being chosen all the time. Having to be chosen and re-chosen. Writing so that I can act became a way of having not more control over my future but not having to wait for permission. You can choose yourself. Hmm, who should play this part? I nominate me!
I love this quote, because – if we’re really honest with ourselves – how much time do we waste “waiting to be chosen”? How often do we wait for approval of others, or to be rewarded, promoted, loved, etc.?
Here’s a short story about a cosmonaut, that Brit’s character tells in the movie. It wonderfully displays how we can choose our attitude (you can also watch the short scene in the clip below):
…So the cosmonaut is in there and he has this portal window and he’s looking out of it and he sees the curvature of the earth for the first time. He’s the first man to ever look at the planet he’s from. And he’s lost in that moment and all of a sudden there’s this strange ticking…
A few days go by with this sound and he knows that this small sound will break him. He will lose his mind. What’s he gonna do? He’s up in space. Alone. In a space closet. He’s got 25 days left to go with this sound. So the cosmonaut decides the only way to save his sanity is to fall in love with this sound. So he closes his eyes and he goes into his imagination and then he opens them. He doesn’t hear ticking any more. He hears music. And he spends the remainder of his time sailing through space in total bliss and peace.
Especially in our thirties, as we evaluated our lives, we often find ourselves wishing things were different: We’d like to have a job that’s more fun or start a creative business that promises fulfillment; we’d like to weigh less; we’d like to have a family instead (or on top of) a career; we’d like our parents to be closer/be healthier/live longer; we’d like time for meditation, and we’d like work life balance, financial security and lasting relationships with our partner and friends. Did I forget anything…?
If any of the above is missing or not perfect, we tend to worry about it. But complaining about the flaws in our life and wishing and hoping things will change rarely ever leads to success. It’s like waiting to be chosen for a better life.
Let’s promote ourselves to directors!
So we need to step up: we need to change our attitude and promote ourselves to directors of our lives! A good director looks at the bottom line and at the desired outcome: Where am I now? Where do I want to go?
Everything starts with acceptance. Accept the way things are right now. Resistance only makes it worse and keeps you stuck. Why? Because when you resist, you send lots of negative energy to the very thing you don’t want. And by that you keep it in your life and let it bother you more and more. Therefore that ticking sound would have driven the cosmonaut insane.
Acceptance is the first step to change. It’s a reset; a letting go of tension. When you let go of tension, you open yourself to a broader view (tension always comes along with tunnel vision…). A broader view lets you see more options. More options mean more possible solutions. And then, all you need to do is get creative and take action!
“But I have no clue what I want and where I want to go!”
I hear you. The good news is, it’s perfectly acceptable say, “I’m lost. For the first time in my life I have no plan and don’t know what I want.” That’s your bottom line right now.
And the desired outcome? It could simply be, “To find out what I want!” That would be a start. An even better option would be stating how you want to feel (when you are or do whatever it is you don’t know yet you want), for example, “To live a life in total bliss and peace.”
Always put your focus on how you want to feel. Every decision we make in life is driven by how we think it will make us feel. But we are the directors of our feelings. We don’t need to wait for something that will make us feel good. We have free will, remember? We can choose! It worked for the cosmonaut.
Watch the cosmonaut scene in the movie here:
Are you choosing? Or are you waiting to be chosen?
Are you creating? Or are you reacting?
Are you producing? Or are you just consuming?
Which part are you playing in your life?
How do you want to feel every single day from now on?