Scarlett Offers Us Some Practical Advice
I don't typically expect practical life advice from popular films but every once in a while, I'm surprised.
I was watching "Ghost In The Shell" on a transatlantic flight yesterday and two of the main characters (Scarlett Johansson and Juliette Binoche) both said (at different points in the film) something profound:
We cling to memories as if they define us, but what we do defines us.
Think about that.
We live our lives as extrapolations of our past experiences, and consequently, our past memories. We feel, and believe, that what has gone before is the clear predictor of what is to come. That our failures and shortcomings will continue to define who we are, and hence, we are limited in our ability to change.
(This is the case not only with our failures but our successes as well. If we've seen success in a particular area, then we feel that is our identity and that is where we must continue to focus. That achievement outside of those realms is improbable and, indeed, that success in that initial realm will always continue.)
But, of course, none of this is true.
Wherever we have come from, whatever we have or haven't achieved, how we act today is what defines us.
If you change your actions today and do 1 thing in pursuit of a different ideal, then do it again tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that and so on, your future will change. You will be defined by what you've done and not by what you were (or rather believed you were).
Which is to say, there is no such thing as fate.
That we must never resign ourselves to our past.
And, if we've done well, that we must never rest on our laurels.
Do 1 thing different today.
Define yourself by what you do.