Life in Writing
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?
It seems odd that this really needs to be said, but women are awesome. Sure, men are generally physically stronger, but thinking that physical strength is the only strength that matters is a pretty serious fallacy. Wonder Woman is somewhat unique in pointing this out as she actually is physically stronger than most men, but her physical strength just serves to additionally prove her point that judging a person to be a certain way solely because of their gender is flawed thinking. Wonder Woman specifically mentions here the stereotype that all women are "sissies," which is obviously untrue. But how many other stereotypes do we place on people? Certainly we occasionally need to make some judgments based on limited information in order to avoid trouble. You wouldn't want to invite a person into your home who bore numerous needle marks in their arms and seemed to be shaking from withdrawals. Sure you don't have all the information about that person, they could be wonderful for all you know, but as a basic matter of personal safety you avoid them. That kind of judgement is just a part of living. But assuming that all women are inferior just because many of them aren't as strong, or that somebody isn't good because of their race, or that somebody is evil because they're rich, or that somebody is racist because they're white aren't judgments we need to make. It's a hard thing to do, avoiding snap judgments, after all, they're what keeps us alive. Judgments and preconceptions are built into us as human beings. Everybody has a natural and healthy fear of anything different from themselves. But why do we have to be only what our nature determines us to be? We're intelligent enough to move past initial judgments and find the truth. We don't have to live our lives catering to our natures. Our lives are about overcoming our own natural selves and become something better.
So next time you catch yourself judging another person, ask yourself if it's necessary for you to make that judgment now, and if it's not then try to get to know that person a little better. Find the truth, and see that person's true strength.
This quote sounds like something you would read in a fortune cookie but that doesn't make it any less true. Dignity is one of those concepts that we often don't think about but is incredibly important. Dignity is defined as a state of being worthy of honor or respect. A state that all of us should strive to be in. Yet there are so many things that can strip us of our dignity. Jealousy, pride, or as Jack so aptly points out here, aggression.
Aggression is a purely selfish emotion and is actually the opposite of dignity. Selfishness has never brought honor or respect to anybody. So next time you're starting to feel a little angry or aggressive, remember the wise words of Samurai Jack and don't sacrifice your dignity for your aggression.
There's a lot to be said for the power of optimism. When things get bad, they only get worse until you start to think that they can get better.
The Doctor faces his share of tough situations, probably more extreme than anything you or I face, but yet he succeeds against every trial, no matter how dire. Just like the Doctor can never succeed without first believing he has a chance, neither can you or I. We all face difficult things in our life, but no matter what comes up the first step to solving the problem is believing that there is a solution. If you think you'll fail then you will, but if you think you'll succeed then you have you chance.
Life can be hard. A guy like Peter Quill (Star Lord) knows that better than most. Being kidnapped by aliens as a child isn't exactly a picnic. This particular quote comes from the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. In this scene, Star Lord is trying to convince the other Guardians of the Galaxy to join him in preventing the end of the galaxy. It's interesting that in an attempt to convince a bunch of criminals to do something good, he would call it a chance. He wasn't asking these people to do something easy, or even something that would obviously bring them personal gain, and yet he called it a chance. Why would he do that?
Because on some level, Star Lord was recognizing that doing good is a chance. It's a basic rule of life that we forget all the time. When you do good for other people, good things come back to you. It's beautiful in its simplicity. No matter where you are in life, if you want a chance to make your life better, then start looking for chances to help other people.
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.
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