You Aren’t The Hero
Sometimes, I wish there was a remote for life. I want to point it towards myself, and press fast forward. Just to catch a glimpse of what happens in this movie a few more hours in. Press rewind — like on game film — and review my mistakes with piercing clarity.
I’m not interested in skipping this part, no. I’ve seen Click; I know the punchline. I just want to know what I’m working with. I want to know it’s going to be okay. I want to see myself from some impartial spectator’s eyes, understand whether I’m living through Legally Blonde or The Notebook.
But somehow I know — if there was actually a remote for life, I’d press “on” only to find something entirely different from what I expected.
As behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman points out in his seminal work: everyone wants to be the hero of their own story. It’s one of the fundamental biases of the human mind — to believe it’s all about us.
But if there was a remote to life, it’d probably prove this kind of twisted self-obsession wrong. It’d lead us to something like our Netflix home screens — filled with the life stories of all the people we love, the people we’ve crossed paths with.
We’d click in to any one of them to see ourselves listed in the credits. We’d realize all the roles we’d played. The bully. The sidekick. The extra with one line. The director. The mentor. The catalyst. We’d see what we could never see inside life itself — all the ways we hurt people, propelled them forward.
We’d see everything we missed out on while we were busy scribbling words into the void. And finally, we’d realize — while we were busy trying to make “something” of ourselves, we’d been blind to the meaning of life all along.
Which was never about writing our own stories.
It was about being in theirs.