In the movie Footloose, Kevin Bacon stood out by taking on a whole town because he wanted to dance. In Legally Blonde, Reese Witherspoon was ridiculed by her peers for how she dressed and spoke, even though she got into law school just like them.
In these movies, and hundreds like them, we cheer for the outcasts and the underdogs — our heroes — because most of us know how that feels.
And we watch the (mostly) happy ending. The hero or heroine goes against the norm and wins.
Watching them win feels meaningful not because they wanted more, it was that they beat the impossible odds stacked against them to BE more, for themselves and for others.
Except it’s so much easier to see that in a story than do it in real life.
The story vs the real story
In real life,
:: you see what ‘they’ have, and it always seems more than what you have.
:: you see where ‘they’ have been, and it always seems further than where you’ve gone.
:: you see how fast ‘they’ are succeeding, it always seems you’re not moving fast enough.
But if you keep following and trying to be more like ‘them’, you won’t figure out who you want to be, you won’t bother trying to forge your own path, you’ll never star in the story of your own life.
In our quest to get what we want, pursuing more isn’t the only path.
Subtracting can be more valuable than adding, and makes a better starting point. The word ‘less’ shouldn’t scare us, it should be considered a valid alternative.
Less can be about consciously making a choice (which comes from a place of confidence) rather than feeling deprived (which comes from a place of fear).
When more seems oppressive, less can be liberating.
When more seems noisy, less can mean peaceful.
But it matters less what you say than what you do,
. . . because if you give up and give in to all the voices, all the advice from all the experts, you’ll be pulled in a hundred different directions. If you’re not careful, that can become your norm.
There’s no progress in that. There’s no shift in that. There’s no success in that.
You don’t know when or how your story will end. None of us do.
So why not hold back less, and play the part of being more?
We’re all cheering for you.