OK, I haven’t actually been in a fight but I did watch Fight Club the other day and I have to say that I really enjoyed the movie.  If you are not familiar with the movie it stars Edward Norton and Brad Pitt and centers on Norton’s nameless character who is a discontented white-collar worker who creates a ‘fight club’ with Pitt’s character Tyler Durden.  They eventually form Project Mayhem, an anti-materialist and anti-corporate organization.  There is a lot going on in this film and one could read several messages out of it but there was one scene in particular that really caught my attention and got me thinking.

WARNING: The following is a movie spoiler so if you haven’t watched the movie and want to be surprised bookmark this post and go watch the movie.  It will still be here when you get back.

What I Learned From FightingOK, so for you who have either seen the movie or don’t mind being spoiled, the scene that really caught my interest is where the narrator (Norton), who after the death of a Project Mayhem member during a failed sabotage mission tries to find Tyler Durden to shut the whole thing down.  Having traveled around the country trying to locate Durden (Pitt) he suddenly finds Durden in his hotel room and confronts him.

Narrator: I don’t understand this…
Tyler: You were looking for a way to change your life. You could not do this on your own.  All the ways you wished you could be…that’s me!  I look like you wanna look, I f&*^ like you wanna f&$%, I am smart, capable and most importantly, I’m free in all the ways that you are not.
Narrator: No, this is impossible. This is crazy!
Tyler: No, people do it every day. They talk to themselves. They see themselves as they like to be. They don’t have the courage you have, to just run with it. Naturally you’re still wrestling with it so sometimes you’re still you.  Other times you imagine yourself watching me. Little by little you’re just letting yourself become…Tyler Durden!
Narrator: Wh…What are you saying?  This is…this is bulls&$#!  I’m not listening to this. You are insane.
Tyler: No, you’re insane, and we simply do not have time for this crap!

At this point the narrator collapses on the bed trying to absorb the realization that he and Durden are one and the same.

This really got me thinking.  How often have we seen the cool things that others are doing and wished we could do the same?  I think it’s called life envy.  Why does it always seem that the fear of doing something is what ultimately holds us back from doing anything?

I’ll be the first to admit that the closer we get to our 1 year sabbatical the more fearful I become.  All the what-if’s start to crop up again.  But maybe the narrator in this movie is onto something.  Maybe to combat that fear we need to reinvent ourselves into the person we really want to be.  Maybe we need to put on our crazy face and get a little wild, throw caution to the wind and create the life and person we’ve been dreaming of.  Maybe like Tyler said we can’t do this on our own.  Maybe we do need help to have the courage to just run with it, to say the hell with everything, I’m going to do this.

“Hitting bottom isn’t a weekend retreat.  It’s not some damn seminar. Stop trying to control everything and just let go! LET GO!” – Fight Club

Maybe part of the problem is that we are too scared to just completely let go.  We cling to the remnants because that is all we know.  We’re so used to people telling us what to do, what to wear, where to go to school, what career we should choose, where we should invest our money for the best return, what kind of car we need to drive, what smartphone we need in order to be cool, what path our lives must take to be successful and happy.  But real freedom is in having nothing to lose. 

“The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything.” – Fight Club

Our life is a series of choices and contrary to popular belief we do have the power to make those decisions on our own.  It’s all in our head anyway.  We can actually be and do whatever we want in life.  But we have to overcome our own mind and truly believe it.  If we don’t believe it then it will never be.

Here’s the catch.  It’s harder to unlearn than learn.  We’ve been so hypnotized and brainwashed to believe that we need certain things, that we have to do things a certain way, that we’ve lost sight of the power we really have to control our own destiny.

 “If you don’t know what you want, you end up with a lot you don’t.” – Fight Club

Know what and who you want and be and then be proactive in being that person.  I have a vision in my mind of what I want our 1 year sabbatical to be like.  I can picture each and every day, the things we will do, the places we will go, the sights we will see.  Without that vision how would I know what direction to go? 

“At the time my life just seemed too complete, and maybe we have to break everything to make something better out of ourselves.” – Fight Club

I want to make sure though that I am the person I really want to be.  If that means going ‘crazy’ and reinventing myself in a way that makes me look insane, like the narrator of Fight Club did, then so be it.  Maybe we have to break what we know in order to make ourselves better.

I’ll leave you with one final thought from Fight Club.  Remember, this is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.

Before you go I want to let you know that I’ll be launching an email series called Sabbatical 101 this month.  I’ll have more details on what it is and how you can get in on it soon.  I just wanted to plant the bug in your ear and get you thinking about it.

If you enjoyed this article be sure to sign up for the 1 Year Sabbatical newsletter over in the sidebar, as well as take a look at the RSS Feed.


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