Picture your life for a moment as a bingeable Netflix series. You click the show’s thumbnail icon on your TV, wait for the opening scene to load, then immerse yourself in all the triumphs, heartaches or misadventures of your favorite characters. You become engrossed in this world, almost like you’re part of the action, as those lines between fiction and reality start to fuse together. It’s artifice—sure—but sometimes life does imitate art.
Now cast yourself in the role of protagonist and make a decision here in this current scene how the remainder of your script will unfold. What is the series you’re writing? Is it epic, comedic, tragic or dramatic? Is there juicy character development, edge-of-your-seat plot turns and relationship dynamics worth rooting for?
Does the journey of this protagonist culminate in a beautiful sense of meaning and impact, no matter which roadblocks might stand in the way? All stories need a hero, and all main characters need a goal—some fixed point on the horizon to chase with a passion, even if the terrain is rigorous or the atmosphere is bleak. This is how you frame the script. This is how you build a vision of the future. This is how you pursue and reach your goals.
You are the writer, performer, director, producer. You are the architect of this whole narrative. You make the choices. You single out the destination. You mobilize the action. You endure the challenges. You rejoice in the victories. You determine the course your life will take.
The rest is bullshit. Those voices which cause fear or doubt. The expectations which reinforce a status quo. The traditions or customs which scream, “It’s never been done before!” Plain and simple bullshit. A distraction from the endgame. So how can you filter out this bullshit to focus on the script of your dreams, goals and ambitions? Grab that remote and press the “Play” button—it’s time to unpack this together.
Bullshit Filter 1: Originate Your Own Role, Don’t Copy Someone Else’s Performance.
You are not here on this earth to plagiarize another script that is already being written. You are a unique individual, not a cheap imitation, so make sure that your decisions reflect this. Quit the comparison game with others—your path is different from theirs. You have ideas, talents, strengths, experiences, values, quirks and aspirations that belong to you alone. Do not overlook what distinguishes you from the crowd. Embrace it as the performance of a lifetime.
Bullshit Filter 2: Assume Responsibility and Agency for the Plot Twists You Choose.
The most compelling heroes are the ones who know they have the freedom of choice—and who do not make excuses for the consequences of their actions. Whether the outcome is positive or negative, these characters are inspirational because they are also responsible and accountable. So take ownership for the direction of your life. You can either be the victim or the champion of this story. Hint: one is considerably more empowering than the other.
Bullshit Filter 3: Surround Yourself with a Cast of Reliable and Supportive Characters.
Relationships can bolster your confidence, increase your resolve and further your progress—if those relationships are healthy, that is. So build a community that encourages you to reach for the heights but also creates a safe place to land in the times when you stumble. Gravitate towards the people you can trust to be supportive of this crusade you’re on, and enforce boundaries with those who deplete your energetic reserves or emotional well-being.
Bullshit Filter 4: Overcome the Burden of Imposter Syndrome, You Are Not a Fraud.
You have permission to dream without limits, and you can define success on your own terms. Celebrate your accomplishments with the knowledge that you earned them through resilience, effort, perseverance and raw talent. Do not apologize for work that’s paid off and remember, you have as much of a right to succeed as anyone else. Next time you feel like an inauthentic fraud, consider this: you are worth the life you envision, just by virtue of being human.
What goals do you plan to focus on this year, and how can you filter out the bullshit around you in order to write a script you want to live? Share your thoughts in the comment section!