Does anyone wish this would happen to them? By this I mean, being the man on his knees in the lower left corner of the photo. If you know the scene, then you can skip the explanation. If you don’t know, it is a scene from the movie, “Fight Club” directed by David Fisher.
To summarize, the man with the gun, Tyler, is motivating the man on his knees, Raymond, to get his life in order. He is seemingly threatening him to stop his excuses and start pursuing the life he ultimately wants as a veterinarian instead of working at a convenience store in a bad neighborhood. Tyler takes his ID; tells Raymond he will check in on him and if he is not on his way to becoming a veterinarian in 6-weeks he will be dead. Tyler tells Raymond to run home. Tyler watches Raymond run away and states about how tomorrow will be one of the greatest days in Raymond’s life. He will start working towards a better life and feel like he was blessed with a second chance. SPOILER ALERT: Tyler then reveals that the gun he was using was not loaded. His intention was never to kill Raymond but only to scare him straight to revamping his life.
Excuses like, “too much school”, too much work, too much risk, and too much to do, are all pitiful excuses when the other option is death. Even though Raymond’s life was never in danger, the life-threatening lie Tyler told him was to motivate him to change. Out of all the self-help books, podcasts, and seminars, I can’t think of any better motivation than what Raymond received. With all the time I have put into the previously mentioned sources of motivation I still feel as though I am falling short. What could result from experiencing this situation like Raymond?
To be brought to the edge of existence and be granted another chance, the difficulties and discomfort associated with the work gets put into the proper perspective. In that moment of kneeling with a gun to my head I’d like to think that not only would my life be flashing before my eyes but also the life I was about to miss. Instantly thinking through all the good events and people I’d no longer see again. The highest amount of regret will be felt, along with the highest amount of F.O.M.O. The rush of pain and then the rush of relief when the gun is taken away from my head and Tyler announces the 6-week plan towards building back my life. Being told to run home I’d run at an effortless great speed. Motivation, energy, and giddiness would overcome me and I’d probably run past my house to do another 2-3 mile loop. The next day I’d wake up so grateful to be alive and hyper focused on improving my life. Hyper focused and impervious to doubt and fear of disappointment. At least for the first few months the recent memory would act like rocket fuel.
However, thinking through this situation further, I can see this method as being too extreme to work on everyone. Perhaps, this wouldn’t work on me either, because I am able to view this situation with all the knowledge. If I were in Raymond’s position, I’d leave the situation with more shock than motivation. I could develop a post-traumatic stress link to this event and instead of motivation I sit in paralyzing fear over what took place. I drive myself crazy going over the situation and moments leading up to it like a car accident. Even if I get the courage to start the work towards something positive, each time someone asks what happened that caused me to get my life in order I will be reminded of the traumatic event that took place.
Another way it could turn out is after a few years removed from this what if I find lacking motivation and wishing for Tyler to pay me a visit again. To Tyler he only said he would check in after 6-weeks once I got well beyond that what happens if I start to lose motivation. Initially, I will be afraid Tyler may still be watching. Enough time would pass, and I would test the waters to prove he is indeed no longer paying attention to me. Once that occurs would I be able to reinvoke the motivation through memory alone? Will I develop a similar desire to what I wrote at the beginning of this entry, that I wish Tyler would pay me another visit? Or will I become depressed that Tyler has forgotten me, and I have forgotten Tyler?
The thoughts associated with this situation are difficult to determine the most likely action that would occur. The best action would be to take the situation as a positive and believe it would lead to a better life. However, the question of the quality of that life stemming from a gunpoint situation is difficult to determine.
In conclusion, it is not good to think that the only way I could be motivated to achieve my largest goals would be to have my life threatened. And currently, the point where I am at in my life has not been reached without great motivation. However, since I am constantly striving to find better approaches to improve my motivation, I can’t help but think this situation has the best potential to yield a great surge in motivation. In short, it isn’t the situation itself that I yearn for, but the after effect or a boost.