As we begin our Wisdom Note this week, let us ponder how important making the most of every moment really is.
Each of us is the screenwriter, director, and leading character in our movie of life. Our family, friends, associates, and everyone with whom we come in contact are cast members in our movie. Some of these people will be our co-stars and supporting actors while others will just be walk-ons. You are the only person that is in every scene of your life.
The important concept to grasp is that there are no practice days, and there is no dress rehearsal. Each day is an impromptu performance. Once we understand this, it may help us to perform at our best. With all impromptu performances, we must realize that we will miss cues and flub up lines, that will draw cheers and boos from those watching our performance. We won’t perform perfectly every day, but the show must go on…
All too often we get so consumed with our “star role” that we lose site of the importance of our overall, lifelong movie and the crucial role that all the supporting cast members play. We miss the things that really matter in life. Before we know it, the seconds have become minutes, the days have become weeks, and the months have become years. And, when we finally take time to catch our breath, we look back in retrospect and think, “My performance is nearing the end, where did all the time go?”
It’s so easy to be blinded by our own performance, ambition, power, and success that we miss including the simple pleasures of life into our script. For example, did your children’s birthday parties, Little League games, or dance recitals make it into your movie? Did you include the scenes where you were available to counsel your friend in need? Did you make the time to help your kids with their homework, to attend back-to-school nights, or to put down your newspaper/telephone/iPad when your family wanted to tell you about their day?
Or, were there more important plot lines that you included in your movie of life?
Now, I realize that your movie includes hectic scenes of life and that you’re getting pulled in a million different directions. The truth is, it’s not that you don’t have enough time to include the things that matter to you into your script — but rather, you allowed other priorities to become part of your movie.
It goes without saying that every time you decide to focus on one thing in your life, you’ve also decided not to spend that time on something else.
Unfortunately, once opportunities are lost, they’re often lost forever — life doesn’t come with a dress rehearsal. So, if you think you may regret the script that you are writing, it may be time to change who will be the most important supporting characters in your life’s movie.
Here are some guideposts to help you as you continue to write your script.
Have you ever stopped to think about what matters most to you? Will you include these supporting characters and plot lines in your movie? Or do trivial issues sidetrack you from doing the things that you should care about the most?
Do you let other people write your script for you? How much time do you spend reacting to other people’s plots and drama versus writing your own and doing things that matter? Are you asking your loved ones to take minor roles in your movie, while allowing others free rein over your priorities, making them strong supporting characters?
3. Time Management
How much of your day is spent on autopilot? Do you show up on the set of life and allow someone else’s agenda to control your role in your movie? Do you devote more time to thinking about what you’re going to do or actually doing it? When was the last time you identified and eliminated wasteful tasks and routines – that is wasteful scenes and lines?
How much of your day is spent worrying about problems in your script versus appreciating the moment or the current scene? What percentage of your time do you spend being physically present reciting your lines but mentally absent? Does trying to be in multiple scenes at once – that is multitasking – damage your ability to give your undivided attention to your current scene that is most important?
5. Inner Peace
Do you care more about what you want out of life or about what others think about your performance? Do you value creating wonderful memories as much as you value material rewards? Are you investing in your supporting characters – that is your family and friends – or taking them for granted? When was the last time you felt comfortable in your “star role”?
6. The Decision is Yours
It’s so easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day minutiae that we lose sight of the big picture. You must take the time to pause, reflect, and enjoy your movie.
Even if your life movie becomes a blockbuster and you secure the enviable positions of power and material wealth, understand that all decisions come with real costs — in relationships and precious moments that can’t be replaced. Make sure that your stardom does not come at a price that is too high to pay.
The script you write, the movie you direct, and the role you play in your movie is your decision and yours alone. It is never too late to rewrite the script and make the most important people in your life your supporting characters. It is your life movie, make it a great one for you, your supporting characters, and the scenes that matter most.
A successful life movie is achieved by spending time and attention on scenes that really matter to you. No matter how young or old you are, you still have time to write a great script and direct your movie from this point forward. Are you spending your precious time in the areas that matter most to you? It’s your choice.
As recorded in James 3:13, “If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.”
Now that you realize you are the star of “This is Your Life Movie,” what role will we play as supporting characters?
Today we have learned the best way to brew an excellent pot of coffee and also learned how to become a more excellent individual.