Off script

the_real_world_v3

In 1992, MTV’s “The Real World” launched the so-called reality show trend we love/hate today. But we later learned that even that first “reality” show wasn’t completely real. Show producers set up scenarios to create conflict between cast members and even asked them to “replay” scenes for the camera crew to capture.

The alluring promise of a reality show is that it is unscripted. The truth is that they are partially scripted. The setups may be staged but the dialogue is real. And people who crave uncertainty in an otherwise routine life just love it when they can’t guess what someone will say next.

Why am I going on about stuff you already know?  Because our lives are also partially scripted. We often tell ourselves stories about our identity and our weaknesses that keep us from achieving our best. We set up conflict as a way to blame someone else for what we are afraid or unwilling to do. We even broadcast our love, anger and frustration to our friends in the coffee shop or on social media…and everyone watches.

I have done all these things.

The authentic life I am trying my best to live now is partially scripted. I am wired by my DNA and the defining moments of my childhood to act and react in ways that are often beyond my conscious control. I’ve been set up, but I still control the dialogue. I can choose to get angry or remain calm in the face of an attack. I can be optimistic when surrounded by negativity.  I can even go completely off script and surprise everyone by taking on something no one ever thought I could achieve.

In other words, I run the show.  I still make mistakes, but I am defying the scriptwriters and defining my own moments now.

All of this is much easier said than done.  And honestly, it hard to do without an external coach, counselor or trusted friend who can help keep you honest with yourself.

No matter how difficult it may seem, this is my wish for you too my friend. I hope you have the courage to go off script. When you watch the reruns of your life 10 years from now, you will be most thankful for the moments when you made necessary decisions, disrupted damaging patterns and achieved amazing things after surrounding yourself with amazing kindred spirits.

It’s your show. And it’s worth the risk, isn’t it?

 

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