I’ve often found that life has a way of throwing lessons at you in a moment of struggle. In the past, I’ve said that I almost feel like I have some spiritual being looking out for me. I call that overlooking presence Jesus. Mainly because it feels like a nice name to call something that looks out for you. I’m not religious, but that doesn’t stop the feeling of some metaphysical force being present in a moment of need. And very recently, I’ve found a few life lessons serendipitously thrown at me just as I’ve needed them.
Serendipitously Finding Life Lessons in the Greatest Showman
We were recently watching the Greatest Showman. Breaking it down to its core ethos, it’s essentially the story of a man who easily gets caught up in the wrong dream that he believes he has. He’s chasing the unattainable hollowness of fame above all else – at least that’s my take. P.T. Barnum is someone who gets so caught up in the pursuit of building a better life that he forgets why he even wanted to do it. All of this poignantly comes to forefront as Jenny Lind sings Never Enough.
This moment invokes the question of when you seek fame, fortune and the approval of others, what will actually be enough? It’s something I’ve discussed with Rachel when realising my own past mistakes. When talking about the fact I was chasing numbers with the blog, I asked myself the question of “What would be enough?” And what was the answer I came to? I didn’t have one. Ultimately enough never comes.
In the end, Hugh Jackman’s character realises his stupidity and sings the line “I remember who all this was” in the finale with From Now On.
Translating This to My Own Life
It was in this moment that I realised how serendipitous life can be. Prior to watching this film I had been feeling like my life had become engulfed in the world of blogging. I was seeking the futility of fame, the approval of others and I was missing the whole point of why I started blogging in the first place. I had forgotten who all this was for. The film was a perfect microcosm of my life over the past few months. Pursuit of a dream that I thought I had, a declining family life due to this pursuit and a sudden realisation that I already had what I wanted.
We don’t watch many films these days. I guess that’s part of what happens when you become parents. The last time we sat down and watched one was at the cinema. But for some reason we had the chance to watch something, and we chose this particular film at this particular time.
Maybe when you’re looking for lessons in life you just find them. But this film hit home. Don’t get me wrong, before we even watched it I had already gone through my thought patterns and started to correct them. But the Greatest Showman just cemented what I already knew and wanted to change. It just gave the simple message of keeping perspective on what you really want in your life.
But that wasn’t the only life lesson I’ve had in recent days. The second came from a man I actually quite admire – despite the backlash he often faces – and that’s Jordan Peterson.
“Compare Yourself to Who You Was Yesterday and Not Who Someone Else is Today”
When you’re chasing others there is no end. There is always someone doing something better than you. In the day of the technological boom, you’re essentially in comparison with 7 billion people – give or take. Good luck being the best at everything with that one.
I’ve recently also been reading Jordan Peterson’s new book called 12 Rules for Life. One of the life lessons presented in the book was aptly titled “Compare Yourself to Who You Was Yesterday and Not Who Someone Else is Today.” And just like the Greatest Showman did with its story, Jordan Peterson seemingly knew what I was going through and told me a lot of things that I had forgotten all about. I’m only a third of the way through this book, but I really would recommend that people buy it.
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He essentially says something along the lines of: to compare yourself to others is to engage in an endless pursuit that has no happy ending. It’s something that until very recently I did an awful lot of. I would see others success and resent the fact that it wasn’t me. I wanted what other people had. And in thinking that way I was completely forgetting what was already surrounding me. Somehow the same message was being presented to me from two completely different places. Call it fate, happenstance, or say I’m just talking shit.
I’m Not Sure What You’ve Gained From This
I’m not totally sure why I wanted to write about all of this. I’m not sure how anyone will benefit from any of this. Maybe I just enjoyed the Greatest Showman and Jordan Peterson’s book so I wanted to talk about the two of them. I think I just wanted to talk about how funny life can be at times. It has a way of throwing you life lessons when you’re in need of them. You just have to be willing and ready to pay attention.
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