Write Your Own Turning Point4 min read

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It is one thing to know your goals and values. It is something else to have a clear plan of how to move forward. The clearer is your plan, the more likely you are to bend reality in favor of your aspirations. (Provided, of course, that you take consistent action on that plan.)

You may agree that this is true, yet perhaps something inside of you believes that your plans won’t matter much. Your self-doubting mind may remind you that your plans failed many times in the past, or may argue that your plans are only a small part of a bigger picture, and can be easily overpowered by factors beyond your control.

The doubting-mind is very smart, but not very helpful. To overcome its limiting thought-patterns, we need to cultivate a deeper understanding of life and our role in it.

Here is where it’s useful to make sure that we have the right metaphor, the right lenses through which we look at things. There are many good metaphors we can use for the journey toward our goals, yet I find the metaphor of life as a movie or life as a book to be particularly insightful.

Life is like a movie. Write your own ending.

— Jim Henson (American animator and filmmaker)

If your life is a movie, what is your role?

  • Are you the author of your own life, or simply an actor following a script you didn’t write?
  • Do you have a plan, or are you just going about your days, hoping that at the end it will all work out and you will have lived a great life?
  • Is your life a comedy, a drama, or an epic adventure?
  • Do you actively re-write the script and reinvent your character to improve the story?

These questions can reveal a lot about your self-image and core beliefs, and show the hidden scripts that run your life.

We are both the author of the story, and the main character—but we are not always aware of this. Most people are only playing out a role, unaware of their power.

  • As our lower mind, we are the character. We play the role we’ve been conditioned to play. We react to the events of the story, living out our personality traits, impulses, and emotions.
  • As our higher mind, we are the author, the screenwriter. We choose how the story is ought to unfold, and what the ending should be. We decide the traits that we will have as the main character.

Where this metaphor partially fails is that in our actual life, the character doesn’t always follow the script. In the movie industry, such a character would lose his job; in life, things keep on going, but we don’t achieve our goals.

Self-discipline bridges the gap between what the writer wants, and what the character does, making the character perfectly execute the plan. If someone else wrote the script, this can feel incredibly limiting; but when you are the one writing the script of your life, it is empowering.

Exercise: Write Your Turning Point

When you leave self-doubt behind and realize who you are—the writer—then you can step into your highest role, and shape your life as per your aspirations. Then you are a creator, not a creature. You live inside out.

The movie is already happening, and there is no second take. The scenes that have passed have passed, and cannot be changed. But once you realize who you are, you can take the reins of your life and direct it to where you want it to go. In my coaching, I call this process Life Blueprinting.

Here are some simple pointers to get you started. To get the most out of this exercise, make sure you dedicate the time and energy that it deserves.

Sketch Your Ending

As Stephen Covey puts it in The 7 Habits, we “begin with the end in mind”. What would be the most epic ending for this story? Be as detailed as you wish.

  • What will the main character (you), have discovered, achieved, or become?
  • How do all the threads of the story come together at the end? What was it all about?
  • What impact does your movie create on anyone who watches it?

At this point, don’t worry about the how yet. Simply let your heart speak, without the mind editing it. Give wings to your imagination. Allow your aspirations to emerge and shape the scene. You have the right to want what you want.

Move Backwards

Now we shift gears and start thinking about the plan. What needs to happen in the previous chapter, so that the main character gets to that point? What choices were made? What efforts were put in? What risks were taken? What was the thought process and motivation behind it all?

Do so, in broad strokes, for every scene of the story, visualizing a clear chain of cause and effect. Continue backward from the future until you arrive at the present moment, where you, the main character, are reading these words and going through this exercise here and now.

The Turning Point

Finally, figure out what is your turning point. What are the defining moments in your story? What needs to happen next in your life so that it all unfolds in the direction of your dreams? That is your plan. Be as detailed as you can.

Once you know your aspirations and have a plan to achieve them, it’s all about following the script. That is self-discipline, or “living in harmony with your values,” as I define it in the book.

Life As A Movie

It’s true that, unlike a screenwriter, we can’t just change the events and people in our lives with the stroke of a pen. But we do have full creative freedom in designing our character. That is all that we need. Do not underestimate what that can do.

Your doubting mind does not feel very powerful. It doesn’t know what’s capable of. But your higher mind does. It knows how to design wisely, and play well.

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