In life, you can either be your own best friend, or your own worst enemy. The challenge is, most of the time, anyone with a bias for achievement and potential exploration, will often be the latter. Feelings of never being good enough or that there's always more to be done, (over)populate the mind and send us into overdrive.
Instead of allowing yourself to accept the anxiety that comes along with the above (something I am personally all too familiar with), I wanted to share a simple exercise for you to try in order to make sense of the current chaos, and get through it alive.
I want you to imagine you're sitting inside a cinema right now. Except instead of watching Brad Pitt, Ed Norton or Jake Gyllenhaal on the big screen...it's you. We're watching 'Movie You' right now.
The particular scene on the screen is a snapshot of your current life. Your friends are there, your profession is set, you can see your body, your mind, your loves ones, and most importantly, the thoughts running through your head.
Right now, are you the hero, the villain or the victim of that story?
Too often, we accept our lives as they are, without ever questioning the possibility that things could be different. Instead, we allow our body and mind to lay dormant, while our soul screams from the depths of our heart to be released from the prison called 'Fear'.
Thing is, we all long to be the hero and make a difference in the world, and yet, it seems near impossible to ever imagine ourselves as the Clark Kent's or Bruce Wayne's, when we're sitting on the sidelines, struggling to even make it through the month, the week or the day without feeling beat up and battered.
Here's the thing...whether you like it or not, you are already the hero of your own journey...it just depends what stage you're currently in that determines how you feel about it.
Allow me to share with you the general structure of all good storytelling based movies that come out of Hollywood (something which Joseph Campbell called 'The Hero's Journey').
Basically, it goes that a normal guy/gal is living a normal life when something happens that suggests an adventure is on the horizon.
At first, they resist the challenge, before meeting someone (a mentor) who highlights to them that things could be different.
The power of curiosity and becoming a more evolved version of themselves is enticing, so they take on the challenge.
They'll then face a whole bunch of surface level challenges, meet new friends, gain a few 'haters' and continue walking this exciting path.
That is, until they come across the real challenge. The 'innermost cave' - which is the technical term for the thing that scares them the most. Inside that cave is the ultimate 'baddy'.
In order to defeat the fear, however, they'll need to muster every bit of courage they've got and walk into that cave alone to face it head on (it must always be done alone).
After nearly dying, they'll find a way to defeat this fear and return back to the homeland as a completely transformed human being, capable of much more than they ever thought possible.
Now, whether you're conscious to it or not, you're on the exact same journey. The Hero's Journey is life. Instead of wondering why things aren't the way you want them to be, maybe it's time to ask, what am I avoiding? Why won't I enter my innermost cave?
Alternatively, if things are going smoothly for you right now, perhaps you're trying to ignore the next call to adventure, and stopping yourself from becoming more of who you need to be?
It's time to get honest with yourself and decide right here, right now that you are the hero of your own movie, and instead of sitting back and allowing your fears to take control, you jump in (head first) and face the fears that are holidng you back.