Life in Writing
It's doubtful that anybody reading this blog has ever created a sentient race of robots like the Cylons of Battle Star Galactica, but it's fair to say that we've all made mistakes. We've said things we didn't mean, took something that didn't belong to us, blamed others for our short comings. Maybe we've even benefited from some of the bad things we've done. But the day will come that we will have to answer for the choices we've made. The choices we make shape our life, and if we are continually making bad choices then it will catch up to us, and we will have a bad life.
It's easy for many of us to say that this isn't true. That the rich and the powerful do what they want and have no consequences. It can look this way from the outside, and maybe their consequences are less severe than they are for others, but their bad choices bear negative consequences all the same. They may gain material wealth, but they destroy relationships, they lose respect from others and from themselves, and every single day of their lives they're forced to cope with the guilt from their poor choices. Being rich and powerful isn't a real escape from problems. Everybody, no matter how they try to run, eventually faces the consequences of their choices.
Preferably you can find a way to do something that is both smart, and right, but there's still a lot of wisdom in this statement. Sometimes you just don't know what to do. Which decision is the smartest? Which will benefit you the most. In many cases it's nearly impossible to tell. Here, Jayne gives us a pretty good metric for a default choice when you don't know which decision is smartest. Do what you feel the best about. When you can't see all the outcomes of a choice. Do the one that lines up the best with your morals.
Many of us are quick to judge. We hear about the latest case of some criminal and waste no time in spreading our opinions on what should happen to them. Jail time, death penalty, whatever we happen to think. We're quick to say that they're monsters, and deserve less than human treatment for their crimes because their crimes have made them less than human. When is the last time you saw a political post in your facebook feed and didn't find comments telling people that they should go kill themselves for being so stupid? But how quick do you think anybody would be in passing judgments if they had to carry out the sentences themselves? How fast would we see a change in the behavior of internet trolls if they were forced to carry out all of the threats they leave? There's a real disconnect between what people think should happen when they're sheltered from the reality of carrying such things out, and how they feel when they're faced with that brutal reality. So if you're in the camp of people who think that all of your political opponents should go die, and that all minor criminals should be imprisoned. Think about how you'd feel if you were the one that had to carry out all of those sentences against them. I think you'll find that a lot of times it will change your mind about how you judge what others deserve.
Despite his super powers, Spider Man often finds himself as the underdog in many situations. Be it through youth and inexperience, or just from a really powerful super villain, Spider Man gets overwhelmed all the time. So if a guy with super strength, wall crawling powers, and a tingly spidey sense frequently finds himself in overwhelming situations how much harder can life be for us non-powered folk?
But Spider Man shares with us here the value of putting forth our maximum effort. Sure, everybody fails at some point, but those who won't try fail every time. So learn from Spider Man, and don't let the fear of failure stop you from trying. Never go down without a fight.
Fate is a concept I find myself rather resistant to, but the truth is that fate is rarely used to mean what the word actually means, which is likely the case here. In most usages of the word, it means something closer to opportunity or chance. In this sense, Optimus Prime shows great wisdom in this quote. As much as we all probably daydream about becoming an overnight success without dedicating every waking hour of our lives to it for years on end, it just doesn't happen. You can't just pick an arbitrary date and decide that you'll be successful on that day. You plan and you work, and you wait for your opportunity. And nearly every time an opportunity comes. It's inconvenient. The fact is that success is never convenient, but if you're willing to inconvenience yourself a bit then you can really go far in life.
We all love Captain Jack Sparrow. He makes us laugh with his over the top antics, but there's more than just his antics to his likability. His attitude is one of the biggest factors. Jack faces of against the British navy, skeleton pirates, magical underwater pirates, giant sea monsters, and a whole host of other daunting enemies. Yet through the entire series of movies, there's almost never a time where Jack doesn't seem to think that he'll be able to accomplish his goals. He believes in himself, and he's always looking for a solution to his problems. That's why we all like Jack so much. And there's a lesson from that we can apply in our own lives. Nobody likes to be sad, and nobody likes to be around sad people, and the truth is that, with the notable exception of those with depression, we don't have to be sad. We can decide how to feel no matter what situation. So next time you're feeling down about something, remember Jack's words and think about it. Is the problem really the problem? Or is it just your attitude about the problem?
Daniel M. Quilter is the author of A Soul Divided. On this blog he'll interview other authors, review books, share nerd wisdom from popular sci-fi and fantasy, and occasionally share his insights on writing. See a list of his works or see what he's working on.
Are you an Author? Are you interested in doing an interview for this blog? Find out how by clicking here.
Interested in getting your sci-fi/fantasy book reviewed on this blog? Check out our submission guidelines
Do you write any flash fiction? Do you want to share it on this site? Click here to review our submission guidelines.