Nov 04

Responsibility

Lesson – What to do with the time you have

Gandalf – Words of wisdom

Starting at 1:10, Gandalf’s speech about pity and fate is one of my favourite quotes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy and also one of my favourite quotes of all time. From my understanding of his speech, in every moment in life you only really have two choices:
1) Use the time, resources and opportunities available to create the best life possible.
2) Complain, make excuses and blame others for why your life isn’t how you want it to be.
I am not here to give a moral lecture about victim-mentalities and whether people should complain or not, I am just outlining two different mentalities a person can adopt at any moment regardless of their past, circumstances or upbringing. The first one will enable you to live a your life far closer to what you really want it to be but the price you have to pay is taking responsibility for everything. The second option frees you from responsibility and allows you to become negative, bitter and angry but you will forever be unhappy and full of regret years into the future. I, like Gandalf, highly recommend the first one, it is in both your interest and the interest of those around you. Oh and Tolkien was a genius Philosopher.

I saw another motivational video from the film Rocky Balboa (Rocky VI) where Sylvester Stallone’s character essentially says the same thing but with more of a ‘tough love’ approach compared to Gandalf’s delivery. The same theme crops up again, take responsibility for your life or don’t. The underlying theme to both speeches, I would argue, is about power. How much power do you have in life? How much do you want? How much is our life shaped and determined by forces outside of our control? I think ultimately, the answer depends on whatever you want it to be.

The more focus you place on what you CAN do with the time, resources and opportunities available to you and the less focus you place on what you CANNOT do, the better off you will be in the long run. Excuses are tempting, but only ever hold you back. Be adaptable, be flexible, be creative, don’t let your life be determined by forces outside of your control.

In my life I have gone through several phases, a simplified version would look like this 1) Not a victim 2) A victim 3) Not a victim
In my defence, during my ‘victim phase’, I literally had been a victim of negative life events outside of my control that I neither chose nor wished to happen. I experienced subsequent mental health problems as a result of these events and experienced a range of emotions from numbness and depression to anger and general negativity. I wasn’t good or bad, right or wrong, it was just a normal reaction to abnormal events. I later realised that the main problem wasn’t that I had been ‘victimised’, it was the knock on effect and how it was holding me back from progressing my life. It has to be said that some amount of this is due to my mentality or belief systems I had about myself, other people and life itself. I finally came to a conclusion that I needed to ‘start again’ by going back to the drawing board of life, making a plan and putting it into action. It took me a long time and was profoundly difficult, but nevertheless I made great progress and am so much better off because of it. I came up with an abbreviated quote to sum up this entire philosophy which I employ here and there in my life and allows me to deal with things far better and remain as positive as possible despite the apparent ‘negative circumstances’ – “Life isn’t about what happens, it’s about what happens after what happens”

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