Walking your own path can be hard. It can seem that you’re all alone, taking on a world that doesn’t give a sh#t about you or have room for your unique talents and personality. Sometimes you may wonder if you’ll ever find a place to call your own or whether, ultimately, you’ll just have to accept The System’s path and to paraphrase Wayne Dyer, ‘let the music die still in you.’
I don’t want this to happen to you. I want you to feel certain in yourself and certain in your desire to pursue a life greater than the one The System offers.
But I know you’re going to need some inspiration to do it.
That’s why I’ve compiled this list. You see I know just how easy it is to lose heart when pursuing your life’s calling. I know how easy it is to look at yourself and ask, ‘am I the one that’s crazy?’
You’re not, though, and every once in a while a piece of creative art will come along and touch that deeper, all knowing part of you and remind you what you’re actually here for.
So with that in mind, please take a look at my 10 movies to reaffirm your right to live life on your terms. From the uplifting, to the downright rebellious, you’ll find everything you need to kick start, or keep you going, towards the life of your dreams.
Main Message: ‘The Real World’ is a lie.
Ever felt like there’s something wrong with ‘reality?’
Since birth, we’ve been bombarded with messages concerning the nature of the world we live in. We’re told about the written and unwritten rules, what’s possible, what’s impossible, what’s cool and what’s not. A fixed, uniform ‘reality’ is imposed upon our psyche and we’re led to believe it represents the boundaries and limits of our existence.
Then along came The Matrix. We watched Neo take The Red Pill and discovered that it was all a lie! Another ‘reality’, where anything is possible, exists and if only we can expand our mind to believe in our own limitless potential, we get to be a part of creating an exciting new world.
Main Message: Thinking differently will give you the edge.
Does defying conventional wisdom actually work?
If you ever struggle to believe the world will have a place for your crazy idea or product, then put on Moneyball and take note. Its main character, the Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane, has the seemingly crazy notion of selecting his team according to statistical performance. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom which dictates that a scouts ‘nose’ is the best method of selecting players. However, Billy Beane creates a paradigm shift because he dares to question the status quo and shows that a mind uncontaminated by dogma is free to focus on what brings the best results.
Main Message: You can challenge The System and win!
A lot of people won’t pursue their dreams because they’ve been conditioned to think the chances of success are too remote. ‘Be realistic’ is the mantra we’re raised on and by adhering to it we’re supposed to avoid the risk of massive failure, loss of finance and social rejection.
After watching Men of Honour, though, you may begin to question the credibility of such a mantra. If Carl Brashear (the film’s main character played by Cuba Gooding Jr) can tackle the might of the U.S Naval Establishment and break down both colour, and disability, lines, then what’s our excuse?
Main Message: Pursue your Destiny.
Luke Skywalker stands staring out at the twin stars of Tatooine pondering his future. The safe option is to continue working at his uncle’s moisture farm. Choose this and he’ll be comfortable and avoid disappointing his family. However, he feels a calling to pursue a more risky, yet more meaningful option. This path, presented to him by Obi Wan Kenobi, exerts an almost magnetic pull and although fraught with danger, makes him feel alive in a way he can’t quite explain.
Can we say, with absolutely certainty, that we all have a preordained destiny waiting for us to claim? Probably not. However, what is undeniable is that your soul will speak to you at various points in your life, communicating through feelings and intuitions, to give you guidance on a path that will bring you the greatest amount of fulfilment. Will you be brave enough to follow this calling?
Main Message: Break Free from societal constraints.
Tyler Durden informs Jack (Edward Norton’s character) that, ‘You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you make. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet.’ He wants him to stop defining himself through The System’s values. He knows that if Jack can make this powerful transition then he’ll have a greater perspective on what’s important in life.
‘It’s only once you lose everything that you’re free to do anything,’ Tyler goes on to say. It turns out that breaking free from societal constraints gives you the chance to pursue life’s greatest prize – feeling alive.
Main Message: Everybody dies but not everybody lives.
Being a slave to the dictates of your society is a life worse than death. William Wallace fights for freedom from the tyranny of English Rule. He could bend the knee and accept subjugation. Do so, and he would live out the rest of his days in relative peace. But at what cost?
As it turns out, that cost is freedom and the film poses an important question – how far are you prepared to go to protect yours?
Wallace’s struggle reminds you that a life spent denying how you feel about obvious injustices, accepting orders from immoral people and not being in charge of your own destiny is not worth living.
Main Message: ‘The Plan’ can be changed.
David Norris (Matt Damon’s character) lives in a world controlled by an all-powerful plan. Much like The System we are supposed to adhere to, it dictates what he should be doing with his life. If he ever deviates from this plan, by following his heart rather than what ‘makes sense’, then a group of mysterious agents from The Adjustment Bureau intervene and put him back on course.
However, Norris won’t accept the plan for his life. He wants to be free to pursue his own destiny and ultimately, this brave decision changes everything. We get an interesting and inspiring insight into what eventually happens to those who persist in their determination to live life on their terms – they end up setting the agenda!
Main Message: Don’t be afraid of who you are!
After refusing to be drafted into the war against Vietnam, Ali tells a reporter, ‘I aint got to be what you want me to be and I aint afraid to be who I want to be.’ This defiant stance against the U.S government, coupled with his radical conversion to the Nation of Islam, makes Muhammad Ali public enemy number 1 in America.
However, an incredible change has occurred in the public’s perception of Ali and he is now recognised as the world’s most loved sports star. How was this possible?
The lesson to be learned from the film is that people love people who stand for something. The System may vilify you at first, but if you stick to your beliefs (and what you stand for is just) then you will receive not only acceptance, but love.
Main Message: Not being ‘normal’ is ok
‘Normal’ people don’t do exceptional things. The films main character (Alan Turing) is a loner who has trouble forming relationships. However, he is also a bona fide genius who creates the first computer and decodes the Nazi’s ‘impossible’ enigma code. En route, he has to do battle with the British military establishment, a society that won’t accept homosexuals and co-workers who don’t understand his vision.
You may sometimes feel that the whole world is against you. Too often, feeling this way leads to the destructive belief that there’s something wrong with you for not being normal. If this is the case, then take heart from this film. Turing’s story portrays fringe dwelling as a gift that, if used correctly, can lead to you making a contribution that could change the course of history.
Main Message: Defy The System’s expectations
‘Aint nothing out there that can kill Ron Woodruff in 30 days’. This is what Ron Woodruff (played by Matthew McConaughey) tells the doctors when they give a prognosis of 30 days to live after discovering he has AIDS.
What would most people do on receiving such news? Crumble in a mess of tears and bemoan their fate? Give up?
Not Ron Woodruff. In fact, as Matthew McConaughey discusses in an interview, this seemingly devastating news galvanised Ron with a sense of purpose he never previously had. Ron goes on to form a club that treats AIDS patients with effective dosages of drugs and vitamins (ironically, a treatment they don’t receive through mainstream medicine) and out lives his life expectancy by over seven years.
So when anybody tells you that you’re finished, or that it can’t be done, put on this film and remember that a bit of system defiance can take you a long way.
Let me know, in the comments section, if you think I made the right choices. And, if there are any classics that I missed, please inform me as I’m a huge movie fan and can always do with a shot of inspiration.
(Main image take from Pascal’s photo stream flicr.com) (Moneyball image taken from Wolf Gang’s photo stream flickr.com) (Star Wars image taken from Quicheisinsane’s photo stream flickr.com) (Braveheart image taken from Studio tdes photo stream flickr.com) (Muhammad Ali image taken from Cliff’s photo stream flickr.com) (Dallas Buyers Club image taken from Penn State’s photo stream flickr.com)