A lot of people live their lives in a state of constant anxiety and discontent because they feel life has not turned out the way they thought it would. They are not in a position they wanted to be in – they have underachieved, others have been luckier, life has been unfair – thoughts of this nature disturb every waking second. Getting past each day is a drag and everything is a reminder of failure.
More often than not, this malady stems from having unrealistic expectations and trying to control what is not in your hands. It’s important to understand your role in your life story. In order to know what to do and how to do it, you must first know who you are.
Life as a film
Think of life as a film: The analogy should not seem too far off, for every life lived is a story told. The script of this film is bare-bones, consisting of the basic facts of your life – your community, your upbringing, your immediate environment, etc. As you become a teenager, you begin to take control of your story.
This is where things can go wrong. People get ambitious and plan everything in advance. They basically act as the director, to continue the film analogy.
A director tries to execute the film on the basis of the script given to him. They typically have a final say over all artistic matters in a film. A film is, in many ways, a product of their vision.
A director, it must be noted, has extensive control over every aspect of a film. We, on the other hand, have very little control over our lives. We can plan and think and plot in advance but everything can go awry on the day of the shoot, so to speak.
This is what happens in real life. We set ambitious long-term targets and are certain of achieving them if we work hard, but forget to take into account external factors. So even if we do our best, we might be let down by someone or something else and fail as a result.
To be sure, there is nothing wrong with aiming big in life. In fact, we must do that in order to achieve anything worthwhile. But we should also think of other elements influencing our life and be mindful of what life is trying to tell us.
We must remain flexible and understand that in actuality we have no control over how the future is going to pan out. ‘Go with the flow’ should be our mantra.
It’s best to leave the direction part to life itself and assume the role of the lead actor.
Actor, not director
An actor works under the guidance of the director.
The director has an overarching vision and the actor helps him bring it to life. Actors can make suggestions and even collaborate with the director up to a certain extent, but they must know their limits.
Similarly, we ought to let life direct us. Our director is pretty accommodating so we can play around with our character a bit, explore, make mistakes and still be back on our feet. However, we should remember that the plot and the execution of this film story are not in our hands. We must try not to be overly controlling when it comes to life.
There might come a twist in the story which we are unaware of that might cut the ground under our feet. We must accept that we have no say in directorial choices. Learning to stay humble is an essential step in our journey to be a good actor.
Being an actor does not mean you are tied down by your role. Many an actor have transcended the boundaries of their field and single-handedly transformed mediocre scripts into great films.
In the same way, you can rise above ordinary circumstances and achieve greatness, provided that you work in conjunction with the director that is life.
A healthy actor-director working relationship is key to a film’s success. In life as well, we ought to live harmoniously with nature and pay heed if life gives us any signals. If we try to ram through the natural course of life, we will find ourselves without guidance and utterly helpless in this maze that life is.
So relax a bit and let life direct you.
Remember that all the world’s a stage.
Manish Bhanushali is a freelance writer based out of Mumbai.