A Different Way

Back when I applied to college, there were some common questions across most of my applications. What’s your favorite book? What’s your favorite movie? I don’t know if they still ask these but what’s interesting to me is that both my favorite book (books in my case) and my favorite movie hasn’t changed since I was 17. I might have added a few to my list but the originals are still at the very top.

My favorite movie is still Dead Poet’s Society. To be honest, I think it’s quite interesting that I grew up in Turkey, in a very different system and yet this movie about a bunch of boys going to a private school in the US really spoke to me. There are so many themes in the movie that I love: non-conformity/individuality, making the most of life/seizing the day, making your mark, doing what you love. I can go on and on. The movie might be about a bunch of private-school boys, but the themes are clearly universal. (Not to mention Robin Williams’ excellent acting.)

Here’s a little clip I was revisiting today that’s especially resonant for me at this moment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8fu-hq3S7A

“We must constantly look at things in a different way….Just when you think you know something you have to look at it in another way. Even though it may seem silly or wrong, you must try.”

He then goes on to say, “you must strive to find your own voice, cause the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all.” And this is yet another huge insight that I think matters deeply. But, for today, I want to talk about this idea of looking at things in another way.

I think that many of us do this at the beginning of a decision. We try to look at things from many different perspectives. Maybe because we feel like we’re at a choice point, or maybe because we have no idea how things will turn out so we try to do more visualization than usual. But, either way, I think many of us practice different perspectives prior to making a decision/taking a path.

But then we rarely ever do it again.

This path we embarked upon four years ago might have made a lot of sense then. But life’s changed in four years. We’ve changed in four years. Our priorities, our goals, things that bring us joy, etc. could all have changed in this time. And, yet, we rarely ever stop and change our perspective and look at the path again. We feel like we’re now stuck with this path, all because it might have been the right one four years ago.

I think, in most cases, this lack of revisiting does a disservice. If you took the time to “stand on the desk” per se, and look at your situation from a different perspective, you might:

1. find a way out
2. change course
3. see things in a different light
4. realize you’re in the right path after all

in my opinion, any of these will make you feel better. Any of these will help you realize you have choice.

And as humans, we crave feeling in control of our own lives, so having choice is essential.

The more I grow up, the more I am starting to believe that nothing is real. That everything I believe to be true is imbued with my stories, my perspective, my past, and my ways of seeing/believing things. Which might sound depressing but it’s also very liberating. It means that, at any moment in time, I can choose to believe a different story. One that makes me feel good. One that empowers me. One that serves me.

I can change my perspective and pick one that works.

I get to decide.

It’s amazing that, after twenty-four years, this movie can still remind me what I felt most strongly as a teenager: Life is rare and precious and it is up to me to live it the way I want to.

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