Many of us live for tomorrow and miss today. However we cannot reach tomorrow without living today.
We forget that the only thing we have is the present moment.
We find ourselves stuck in jobs that don’t give us fulfilment, with the illusion that it will buy us happiness; get into relationships that are not fulfilling, even abusive, hoping that they will change; sign up to the gym and paying monthly fees hoping that will motivate us to attend regularly; promising ourselves that we will start the diet tomorrow; etc
It has become normal to indulge in conversations about drama and stress. If you are not stressed, you are seen as not living a full life and you certainly don’t fit into the “normal club”. Therefore, many of our conversations revolve around complaining about: stress at work, not having enough money, not thin enough, not being praised enough, not having a partner and so on.
This “not enough” culture has created a population that is suffering from anxiety and depression
It brings me back to two movies that I have watched Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise (Cage) who must fight the aliens and Groundhog Day with Bill Murray (Phil) who is a middle-aged weatherman. In both of these movies the actor lives the same day repeatedly until they get it right. They constantly have to move out of their comfort zone, make mistakes and learn from them.
There are points in the movie where they get frustrated, angry and almost give up. However, deep down inside them they know that the only way to get out of the loop is to change their behaviour, their outlook on things, the way they treat others and approach situations. In the process they learn more about themselves and those around them. Eventually, their awareness expands, they connect with others and work together.
Change starts with you
Everything we do affects others and at the end of the day we are defined by how we have affected others. Even when you are open to change, accepting the part you played in a situation is the hardest thing to do, but it is the only thing you can do to become the best version of yourself.
Phil, in Groundhog Day, is egocentric, bullies his cameraman and flirts moodily with the producer Rita and considers the local festivities and the festive goers unworthy of spending time with. A snowstorm blocks his way back to Pittsburgh and he finds himself stuck in Punxsutawney for the night. Instead of spending time with people he signs off and goes to bed disgruntled. When he wakes up in the morning he discovers that it is Groundhog Day again with the same people, same routine, same conditions. He wakes up again the following morning and the next, the world is repeating itself and he lives the Groundhog Day over and over again. Phil learns gratitude, contentment, forgiveness and kindness.
Some of us find ourselves in situations repeatedly. For example, you move from job to job because you are bullied at work. You find that all the colleagues are cordial and friendly in the getting to know phase but then you find that there is someone who starts making jokes – initially you take it, but soon it turns sarcastic and then turns more and more intense and threatening. By this time, you have given the power to the bully and they have free reign and you start looking for another job at this point.
Stop and ask the next time it happens, “What is the common denominator in all these workplace relationships?” It is YOU! Once you realise it is you, ask yourself….
‘What is it that I have to change about myself to stop being bullied in the relationships I have with people?’
This is not to excuse the bully. It is unacceptable in ANY situation.
However, ‘What is it that I am saying or doing that is making me open to these types of situations? What am I doing differently to others that frequently makes me a victim of bullying?’
Everything we do affects others and at the end of the day, we are defined by how we have affected others. Even when you are open to change, accepting the part you played in a situation is the hardest thing to do, but it is the only thing you can do to become the best version of yourself.
Failure is part of the journey
We all experience failure whether we are trying to make our marriage work, our business start-ups successful or trying to write up a winning bid for a project. Viewing mistakes as failure and regret, pushes you to give up. In Groundhog Day, Phil attempted suicide several times.
Instead of viewing mistakes as failure; see them as opportunities for growth, opportunities to show where we need to learn new skills and become grateful then we will be able to get out of the loop.
It is key to turning failure into success.
Perseverance is defined as “persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” Cage in Edge of Tomorrow first starts off as lacking confidence and refusing to go into fighting with the aliens. When he finds himself stuck in this loop he learns from his mistakes, grows in confidence, courage and leadership skills. He persevered.
The true meaning of life comes from sharing our love: sharing our skills, joy, adventure, experiences and knowledge. Dr Brene Brown emphasises that “humans are hardwired for connection”.
Phil in Groundhog Day brushes off anyone who wants to connect with him. Getting stuck in Punxsutawney, he starts to let people in that he would have normally ignored. He passes a homeless man and ignores him many times. However, once Phil allows himself to give him money and talk to the man, he takes him to a restaurant and feels compassion towards this man. Phil tries to save him many times, but the homeless man dies. He allows himself to feel the emotions that come up for him.
True connection happens when we don’t have any expectations from the people that we share our moments with.
“Live like there is no tomorrow”