The movie was okay, directed by slow-drama madman M. Night Shyamalan, best known for films like The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, in which the entire movie occurs only to surprise you at the very end. Still, Jaden Smith was better than the critics said, and there was at least one gem to take away from the experience.
During the film, Will Smith‘s character, a hardened war hero that knows nothing about how to raise his son, gives a speech about fear. The monologue, used to bolster his son’s confidence, is a well-presented argument on the subject.
I love the fact that, no matter what I want to blog about, I can find it on YouTube; I just can’t be afraid to look.
We sit comfortably on the couch of complacency, in a warm house, filled with routine, and we allow ourselves to be trapped there by the thought of what might go wrong.
We don’t put in for that promotion, because we are afraid of not getting it; or maybe we’re even more afraid that we will get it. We don’t apply for a loan to fix up that old restaurant off the freeway, because failure is the first thing that pops into our heads. We don’t ask out the girl in the office at work, because if she says no, we’ll still have to look at her every morning. It’s just easier to let it go, but of course, we don’t really ever let it go, do we?
Fear can block all manner of futures from getting their fair shot. Maybe that girl really wants to say yes, but now she’s blown her first and best chance. Her only option now is to step up herself, but she’s afraid of what you’ll say after she’s already rejected you once. Maybe he’d just say no, having convinced himself he’s moved on. Maybe you’d have a full and happy future together; as lovers, as friends; the overbearing fear of that word “no” has this door locked tight.
Any locked door has a key, somewhere, and most doors can simply be shut again, if we don’t like what’s behind them.
You broke free from your comfort zone and tried the new breakfast sandwich at Jack in the Box. It was terrible. You just went back the way you came in, closed that door, and now you know.
The alternative is a long road of wondering what might have been, until the day you eventually (and hopefully) forget all about it. Of course, the human mind doesn’t really work that way, and you’ll occasionally find yourself glancing back at a moment that is now too far away for you to do anything but wonder about; just like me and the Star Trek Hilton in Vegas.
And this whole time you could have just tried it out, given it a shot, then just stepped back and closed the door if you didn’t like the way it was going. Our society is built around giving people that opportunity to realize their mistakes, and recover from them. Even if that restaurant fails, you will survive.
There are definitely people in my life I’d like to read this particular blog, and I think that this argument has the ability to really make a number of people think out loud about their path in life. I took a very serious plunge recently, and if I let fear get in my way, I’ll sit on my couch until the day I just have to go out and get a job again; and always muse quietly over what could have been.
Past failures can strike down any hope we might have for embracing our future. Do we simply live in fear of making more mistakes, or of things we’ve never experienced before? Personally, I’d rather live a life full of my own errors than spend it in front of the TV, fantasizing about what I might have done differently during the commercial breaks.