Can you remember that old episode of Red Dwarf called ‘Better Than Life’? The one where where the crew acquire the computer game that promises a dream interactive life? Well if you can’t, the crew get plugged into the game ‘Matrix’ style and begin experiencing a world where their deepest desires and dreams are fulfilled.
Whilst Lister and Cat go around living like kings, eating cavier-covered vindaloo, having a mermaid for a girlfriend, and playing endless golf, Rimmer uses this new experience to imagine himself a life as he’s always wanted – being a top Admiral. But then things go wrong, Rimmer’s mind cannot accept the fact he’s happy, and suddenly imagines himself in complete misery and depression, spiralling worse and worse, out of control.
Bizarrely only years later, I realise just how true to actual life that episode was! Ok maybe not the mermaid girlfriend part, but the part where we create our own misery or happiness. And like Rimmer, many people cannot accept that they can, or deserve to be happy. They sabotage their own lives and blame other people and their environment for their unhappiness. But in truth there’s no winning lucky hand to dealt at birth that will gurantee a perfect life. There are so many tales of rags to riches (and indeed riches to rags!) that show anything is possible. Whatever we want in life we can have, all it takes is a firm belief it can be ours, the acceptance that we deserve it, and the desire to chase it down no matter what. Too many people get knocked down once and stay down. But a quick look at successful people will reveal most didn’t have an easy ride. People like Richard Branson, and Steve Jobs struggled more than you’d think – but their determination won out in the end.
An awesome book on this is Napoleon Hill’s ‘Think and Grow Rich’ – a very old book that’s pretty much the holy grail of success literature. Even better – it’s in the public domain so it can be downloaded free!
But of course, life does throw some obstacles and changes in our lives, temporarily dragging us into unhappiness. It’s inevitable and rather than make things difficult for us, it provides fresh challenges, new opportunities and experiences for us – keeping life interesting, no matter how traumatic or upsetting they may be.
Most people close in my life are aware that me and my girfriend Wendy broke up a few months ago. We simply ended up living as friends. But rather than see it as a time of drama and pain, I’m proud we were able to discuss it properly and accept that things had changed between us. We live now as flat mates, happy in each other’s company and friendship. I think people find this very strange and weird – as it’s not the norm. But if the norm is to hate each other, never speak, and create divisions in all our friendships, then I’m happy to be weird! Life’s too short to waste time creating dramas that have no positive impact on our future lives. Life is meant to be loved, so let go of anger, forgive those who hurt us (they only hurt themselves in the long run), smile, laugh, be pleased to meet everyone you come across, and roll with the punches.
Take a look at life, hold your head high, look it straight in the eye, and say with a smile, “Bring it on, whatever you throw at me, I can take it!”