A Successful Life Isn’t Like The Movies

Goals in Real LifeWe all love a good movie. But of course life is different than the movies.

I’m not talking about different as in spies fighting on top of a speeding train, or the hero riding off into the sunset.

We all know that’s not real life. Or at least not every day life.

I’m talking about how life is different when it comes to achieving your goals.

In the movies we’re given a short couple of hours. We see the hero from the outside. Maybe she’s broke on the streets with no where to turn, and by the end after only a couple of hours: yay everything is better.

We, the audience, knew she’d make it all along. We find ourselves rooting for her. “There’s only another hour to go! You can do it!”

But in real life there’s not only another hour to go. There’s the rest of your life. And what’s more you don’t see yourself as the protagonist. You aren’t on the outside looking in, you’re living it.

That important life decision or turning point was lifted by soaring music in the movie . . . but in real life it’s probably just a quiet small change in your daily activities. You might not even notice it.

In fact, we may not even know we’re at a bad point in our lives. We may not even know where we are acting the scene, or how long the movie has to go. We might not have even noticed there’s a chance for improvement, or that we have a decision to make.

In real life, improvement and success don’t come in two hours. In a movie we can see the character succeeding. We can’t always see that in our own life, because success often comes so slowly over time.

Instead what we feel and see is the decision to make small changes every day. To nudge ourselves in the right direction just a little bit so that in 5 or 10 years we’ll have taken a totally different course.

The secret to life then is to build great habits. To structure our habits so that our days lead up to something over the long-haul. That’s why in The Secret of Habits I ask “What’s a small habit I could form today that would move me towards goal in 5 or 10 years.

This way we can step back a bit and see ourselves as the hero of our own movie. We can ask “Where am I now?” and “Where can I go?” It’s not as exciting as in the movies but it’s how to have an exciting real-world life.

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