Most of the movies I like follow a similar pattern. 1) We’re introduced to a guy and a situation in which all the odds are against him. 2) Guy goes through a hellish struggle that almost kills him. 3) He pulls inner greatness out of his gut, destroys the bad guys, and helps innocent people along the way.
These movies are condensed and exaggerated, but they contain an essential truth. We humans enjoy watching determined individuals pursue their mission to the end of the world.
Think of your addiction as the “all odds against you” phase. This is where the movie begins. If you prevail here, you’re further ahead than 99% of everyone else who auditions for the part.
Now your struggle has just begun. From here on, being a hero instead of a tragic anti-hero, or even a bad guy, is up to you.
Being a hero doesn’t mean impressing other people. It means identifying with your own struggle, knowing exactly how you’re going to prevail, and becoming someone you enjoy watching. Day in and day out.
But how do you become someone you enjoy watching?
Just as we judge movie characters, we form small judgments about ourselves every single day. This is called having a conscience.
When you do something that furthers your life’s purpose and helps other people, your opinion of yourself improves. You start to embrace your struggle. You start killing the demons, zombies and bad guys with ease, and you look cool while doing it.
When you cave to temptation or hurt other people, you degrade your opinion of yourself. You feel like a mess and a loser, and your struggle seems impossible. You stop watching the movie of your life and you stop rooting for yourself. You slide toward relapse and failure.
Stay tuned to your own conscience, and make every action count.
Once you identify your mission – presumably, beating your addiction and embarking on your life’s purpose – don’t EVER give up. To hell with what other people think you can or can’t do. Vindicate yourself first in the courtroom of your own mind. Your past doesn’t define you. Your present does. Your future will.
Be the hero you know you can be. It doesn’t matter how old you are. Time is running out, and if you want to be the one who saves the day, you have to stop auditioning for the hero’s part and start acting like one.