A Plethora of Somethings
I’ve had a plethora of moments in my life where I’ve been so emotionally stirred by something that it’s made me want to change my life. Those “somethings” have been songs, films, advice from friends and family, books, the words of Henry David Thoreau, and even just subtle quiet little moments like watching my children play. Also weird moments, like one night as I was watching Netflix. I suddenly realized that I was watching someone else’s dream instead of working on my own. Now, maybe this crappy movie wasn’t exactly what they had in mind, but surely someone involved in the film had the dream of making movies, and even if it’s crappy, at least they’re doing it. They are finding a way to narrate their own lives.
That night I turned off the TV and kept working on a screenplay idea of my own that I had bouncing around my brain face. I wish I turned off other people’s dreams more often. This is a pretty straight forward analogy for me as I have been working for over a decade on honing the craft of screenplay writing and filmmaking. I’m not saying it’s a crime to consume media, without the consumers the creators wouldn’t have a job. But, for those of us that are creators, I do think we have to be careful with our time.
I think we’ve got to be sure we work on our craft and our dreams more than thinking and watching someone else’s success. Or, in the case of a crappy Netflix movie, straight up wasting our time by consuming someone else’s failure. Haha. Actually, sometimes those films turn into comedies they’re so bad, laughing naturally ensues.
Boring? Nah Man
At this point in the journey we’ve talked over my first encounter with Bill Murray, and how John Cleese almost narrated my life. For many years I saw those events as epic failures and let downs. We’ve reached the point in this journey that it’s time to sit down with myself and think about all of these moments. I’m excited for you to be here with me as I wrap up my story so far into one little cute burrito and try and make something out of it.
Am I in fact a stupid person? Yeah, for sure! I’ve made a strong case for my stupidity. I’m certain however that my stupidity doesn’t mean I’m worthless. Nor are the seemingly most stupid people in the world completely worthless.
When I was only 9 or 10, my mom had taken me out to church. I was actually awake and listening to the lady speaking this time. Even at this very young age she said something that has stuck with me my entire life. She said “There is no such thing as a boring person.” I remember giggling to myself, thinking “Uh lady, I can’t even list all of the boring people I know.” As she continued to speak, I suddenly understood what she meant. I remember feeling like a douche. Haha.
Her point was our concept of what equates boring is the problem. That everyone is valuable, everyone is important, and everyone no matter how quiet and dry has something to offer the world. In the churchy sense, we need to learn how to see people through God’s eyes. Even at that young age, this was one of those moments that made me want to change. I wanted to stop my mindset of thinking people were boring. That’s quite a challenge sometimes, especially in church. Haha. But I made up my mind that day to become a better person.
Human Folk Of Utmost Worth
I strongly believe somewhere inside of us, we’re hardwired to find worth in people. Which is why in almost all cultures, murder is among the worst atrocities. I think this notion of the worth of life is more than just some instinctual self preservation mechanism. I believe there’s a bigger picture to our worth. For example, there is something almost tangible in the air when a new baby enters a home. Something real and something special of the utmost worth comes along with those little people.
I will also never forget the day we brought home our first child. I’ve heard of people traveling to distant lands to speak with guru’s, or to climb to the top of the mountain and meditate to ultimately reach a higher level of peace. I’ve heard of people having their life transformed by these supernatural and spiritual experiences. As I’ve listened to these stories, there is always this sense of a real physical feeling, a calm, a realization, a majestic mindfulness, like the universe is opening itself up to you.
Well, the feeling in my tiny little townhouse that day was all that and more. It was one of the most spiritual experiences I’ve ever had in my life. If there’s a heaven, it felt like it came into my house that day with my son. I’m not going to attempt to explain all the reasons as to why I think this happened today. For now, I’m just using it as a little personal proof that I human beings are of the highest worth.
“Hey Wesly (shouts an annoyed reader who wants to gut punch/karate crotch shot me), you bet your uncles fat monkey that you’re stupid! I didn’t sign up for this People Have Worth crap seminar!” What can I say angry guy… go take a shower and let me finish here.
This is the natural progression of where this exercise has taken me. So, hopefully you’ve calmed down a little and I will continue. A new baby has accomplished nothing aside from complicating the chank out of their new parents lives. They wreak havoc on everything they touch for years and years to come. Yet, people continue to intentionally bring new little weirdos into the world.
My wife and I have welcomed five little crazy cutie humans into our family. I can’t report that I’ve ever had that same feeling I had when we brought home our firstborn. It’s just too loud now. Haha. It’s always very loud at my house. My wife and I have highly considered inventing a jacket or a bracelet that has pre-corded messages that we can simply push to initiate. Then we could save our breath from having to say the same thing 27 million times a day. The most repeated phrase is definitely versions of “Please stop screaming or could you please be a little quieter the babies asleep.”
Maybe those mountain-climbing-guru-seeking people are on to something. Maybe what you really need is a place of peace and quiet to have certain mindfulness experiences. It can even be your house, if you don’t have a bunch of kids screaming there.
Anyway, why then are kids so special when all they’ve achieved is smearing their baby human juices all over your favorite stuff? Because maybe the worth of a human being is inherent and has nothing to do with accomplishments. How about that?
To Narrate or to Narrate Not
So, what else have I learned from this self-therapy exercise?
I have been plenty let down in my life and I have been plenty stupid. But hey – here I am alive and ready to make fun of myself. I am alive, and blessed with what I have. If you missed it, I asked John Cleese to narrate a short film based on my life. He agreed for months, but it ultimately fell through. When I first wrote down all my thoughts, I collected it into a memoir called “How John Cleese Almost Narrated My Life and Other Epic Letdowns.” Maybe one of these days I can write a book called “How Robert Downey Jr. Narrated My Life and Other Crazy Successes.” Even if I can’t, success in the creative world doesn’t have to be tied to making living off of it.
I need to do my creative rubbish simply because I love it, and that can be enough. Even if everyone says that I’m a jerk as I run too fast down the field, (or they tell me I have a sucky voice, or I aughta be slapped upside the face) then instead of wanting to kill them – I can just turn their negativity into a good thing. Michael Something (from the start of my stories here) might be one of the smartest people I have ever met. His example of internalizing instead of acting out on me is a lesson many of us could learn from.
Many great tragedies could have been avoided if people would have retracted their anger long enough to think clearly, step aside and ponder their own faults instead of whatever was aggravating them. Micheal Something, I think I owe you one.
I am not saying the secret to success is avoiding problems or bottling up emotions, but perhaps turning life’s let downs and all the negative malarkey into positives is what real success is all about. Surely these kind of people are happier. They keep moving forward and don’t let the past, anyone, or anything get in their way of seeing the good in the world and in themselves. This is who I am becoming, lines up well with what the “I Will Thrive” motto is all about. I Will Thrive and find a way to make things work, no matter what.
I don’t need John Cleese to narrate my life to prove I’m a good writer. I don’t need Bill Murray to make my movie to prove it would be a cool movie. I don’t require a hit song to be in love with creating music. It would be fantastic if it worked out someday, sure. Will I keep trying? Definitely. Will I keep failing? The track records states affirmative. But where the real value in my life resides has nothing to do with my accomplishments. I can just bloody well be me with nothing attached.
I will narrate my own life and it will be awesome.
VIDEO version of this episode HERE
PODCAST version of this episode HERE