Imagine someone asks you to write a story. They give you the title: A Perfect Life.
Except you don’t get to choose the main character. And you don’t have much control over their childhood. Oh, and you can’t pick their family either.
But their friends? All their relationships, jobs, and each and every choice they make in their life? That’s all you. You’re the guiding hand in their personal adventure where, at every stop, your pen writes the next paragraph.
Because you are the main character in your own life story.
And, each moment, you need to live as though you’re writing your story with intention. Writing to make it the best possible version of your novel that it can be.
Everyone has glimpses of this. I have a cousin who tends to narrate her own every-day life scenes in her head,
“Brushing her teeth, Kerry stares into the mirror at her own blemished face and humid hair. She doesn’t feel ugly at all. But she’s certainly nothing to write home about. She’ll have to make herself something to write home about, she thinks.”
I once met a sound engineer in Copenhagen who told me he frequently scores the soundtrack to his daily activities.
The point is, we all (obviously) feel like the main character in our own life.. We just need to act like it.
But how does one live like a main character when the whole world constantly feels like a power-hungry director, telling you what you can and cannot do? Here are the fundamentals:
1. Be True To You
I wish there was a way to word this that didn’t look like it should be written on a motivational poster beneath a little girl in a silly outfit, standing on top of a globe pumping her fist. Alas, you need to make sure the choices you’re making are coming from a genuine place, and nothing in your life is being written in for you by the hand of society at the will of its expectations. Don’t take anything that happens as the be all end all. If you don’t like something, change it. If the current chapter feels boring, do something to liven it up. The main character has all the power. Use it.
2. Be Confident
Knowing you’re the main character of your life should be all you need to feel confident in your interactions with the world. You’re not just one of thousands of employees at your company. You’re not a passive commuter on the train. Start dancing along to the music in your head (literal or imaginary). Who cares?! Be confident. Do you. Make your story interesting.
Huge adventures are awesome, but sometimes a collection of short, entertaining moments can be just as wonderful.
3. You Are In Control
Good books have drama, sure. They have ups and downs. But that isn’t what makes the book good or bad. How the main character reacts to these moments is what matters. You aren’t in total control of what happens to you, but you do hold all the power in how you react.
Sometimes the universe is going to grab the pen and ink in a curveball chapter. And sometimes you might get drunk and scribble all over the page. And your story might end up a little messier than you would’ve liked. But, no matter what, you are still the main character and when you’re going through a bad chapter or face an unexpected plot twist, you are the one who gets to choose how the main character reacts.
4. There Is Always Another Option
If you ever feel like you’re picking between options for your life that are mediocre, unideal, boring, or, frankly, anything besides wonderful (this is your story remember- how well it reads is up to you!) then take a step back. Reevaluate, pick up your pen and write in a different choice. Make epic decisions that a main character would make, not simply the ones that are easiest. And main characters certainly don’t walk down paths others paved for them. Main Characters aren’t passive participants in their stories, they act intentionally to make them great.
5. There Are No Rules
I hear people refer to things they’re “not supposed to do” constantly. To which I always reply “but why not?” These people are all fully functioning adults with perfectly decent heads on their shoulders who seem to think they aren’t allowed to text someone the day after a date if they had a nice time. Or they think they need to stay unhappy at a job for at least 2 years “for their resume.” The list is honestly endless and it just gets exponentially sillier so I’ll leave it at that.
6. If You’re Being A Good Person, Then Do Whatever The Hell You Want
There is no rule book to life. Do what makes you happy and you’re likely to make other people happy along the way too.
I don’t know about you, but I plan on writing a best-seller. What is your story going to be called?
Originally published at www.amreading.com on October 25, 2016.
Originally published at medium.com