Just as a director follows a script to make a film, so do we direct our lives according to some script written by others for us, which I shall call as mine or your, "life-script." Generally, our life-scripts are written and handed out to us by our caregivers and significant others. Our caregivers and significant others act as our scriptwriters and film producers. Life script is handed down to us in our formative years and we, mere actors, simply play out our roles right to the end. Some who grow with high self-esteem edit the scripts given to them and direct and change the script as they go. Others don't even make an attempt to change their life-script in any form or fashion. They faithfully and unquestioningly follow the script handed out to them. Some totally discard the script handed out to them and write their own. The world respects them because they are captains of their ships and masters of their own souls.
While visiting a prison, a social worker recognized an inmate who once was a popular and promising kid in school. The visitor exclaimed in disappointment, "What happened. How come you landed in a place like this? He said, "My father always told me, I won't amount to anything and I deserved to be locked up in a prison. You see, I am exactly at the place where my father told me I will." Such is the power of a life-script. His father wrote the script and read to him every day, until he began to think about it and visualize it day in and day out. From there on, it was just a short walk to prison.
Gene Gilbert, a British Tennis star, died in a dentist chair, as the dentist was about to extract her tooth. Thirty years prior to this event, when she was little, she had accompanied her mother to a dentist. Mother was getting her tooth extracted. Most unusual complications occurred and the little girl saw her mother die in the dentist's chair. The fear struck her heart with the thought that one day she too would die in a dentist's chair. She wrote the ending of her life-script that day.
Gene Gilbert continued to draw the picture of herself dying in a dentist's
chair. Her thoughts became a reality for her. Her fear became
so real to her that she wouldn't go to a dentist. It didn't matter
how bad her dental problem was and how much pain she suffered, she just
wouldn't go. Finally, the pain became unbearable, and she had to
give in to see a dentist. The dentist came to her home to extract
the problem tooth. Her minister and her physician were standing by
her side to comfort her and reassure her against her fears. The dentist
put a bib around her neck and began to take out the instruments.
She died at the sight of the instruments before they were even brought
to her mouth.
The London Daily Mirror which published the story, stated that "Gene Gilbert died of thirty years of thought!" In fact, Gene Gilbert was simply following the script that she wrote thirty years ago in the office of her mother's dentist. Once she wrote that script, she played it out right to the finish.
Everyone one of us has a life-script. We write it ourselves or someone else writes it for us. We enact it either unknowingly and without intention or, with awareness and intention. Do you know what your life script is? Who wrote it for you? How does it end? Do you read it and revise it from time to time?
Alfred Nobel, long before he fathered the Nobel Prize award, had invented the modern form of dynamite that could be used underground. He was running a dynamite factory and by all standards was a great financial success. What then was the shift from dynamites to the Nobel Prize Foundation? As the story goes, his brother died and due to a mix up by reporters, the area newspaper published an obituary of Alfred Nobel. So, "as the luck would have it," Alfred Nobel read his own obituary, live. Alfred was described in the obituary as the man who invented dynamite so powerful that could instantly reduce a several stories high building to debris. Alfred didn't feel flattered at all. He pondered over the purpose of his life and whether he wanted to be remembered for his destructive inventions or for a cause more noble that that. Nobel, the philanthropist, was born with a totally revised life-script.
Perhaps, we all should take time to write our own obituary. If you want to compose your life-mission statement, here is an idea: What would you like others to know about you when they read your epitaph? Imagine the people you respect and love are reading memorial written in your honor. Compose your own funeral oration. Begin a new life as if you already know the grand ending of it. Don't join those who, towards the end of their life, pine, "If I was to start all over again…" Start it right the first time around. We are never too young or too old to write a new life-script. Whatever your age, now is a good time to do that.
Adults have responsibility for the children of next generation. We must help our children to write a super life-script with which they can augment their life. Compare these two life-scripts: 1. "You will never amount to anything. You will always be a loser. You will never have money, etc." 2. "You will make it big. You can be as successful as anyone else. I believe in you, you can do it, etc." I don't have any doubts as to which life-script is more likely to help a child succeed in his or her life. Do you? Note that outstanding achievers almost always have someone in their childhood believing in them and constantly telling them that one day they will do "something big."
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Copyright 1996, Mind Publications