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The movie montage (and why you can't skip it)

You know that part of a film, usually in the middle or about two thirds of the way through, where a lot of hard stuff happens really fast with music playing the whole time? 

There is laughing and crying and falling and getting up again and working out and cutting hair and falling over and getting up again and giving up but not really and running and lifting weights and falling and getting up again

and everything is at warp speed

and then the music swirls together with a little triumph and it lands on two people talking or one person suddenly fit and healthy or the new business started or the day of the party or whatever

and that’s the hard part done and now we can get on with the story and finish it in triumph.

They skip all that because if we watched every moment, it would be boring to watch. It would just be exactly like our own life. It would be like watching our own life as a tv show with no forward and no skip and no montage.

So they stitch it all together, add music, and hurry us to the ending. 

Someone shared a post this week (can’t now figure out where the post was or who shared it, you know how that goes) which was about those really stupid “success stories” which go like this 

“There was a hard thing
And another hard thing or two
But then we triumphed over those
And now we have a best selling book, six million dollars, a new Porsche in the driveway of our custom built home. We work full time crushing it and hustling constantly whilst being completely at rest and always able to have time for the perfect adorable children and frolicking dog in our custom grown vineyard while the sun sets perfectly in the background.”

Of course, you too can have all this if you buy said best selling book and follow the best practices within it - or actually just download the resources and fill in a few checklists, that’s probably enough to help you win at life, the end, everyone lives in perfection forever.

You’d think from the way these #humblebrag posts (or books or articles or websites) are written, that it’s actually possible to skip past ALLLLLLL the crap and get the movie montage. Hard stuff hard stuff inspiring music DONE!

Success stories actually go more like this: 

There was a hard thing
And then more hard things which built on those
And then things seemed to get a little better
And we got some stuff
Then realised stuff isn’t what matters
Started digging into how we’re wired and emotions and mental health and stuff
Got really confused
Tried a few things and it got better for a while again
Then some real crap hit the fan
Went to therapy 
Talked to a lot of people
Worked through some shit
Dug deeper
Worked hard, got sick, gave up, tried again
(repeat this cycle 100x)
Things started to get a little better
Even though they’re still really hard
Started figuring out who we are
Still feel like i have no clue most days
Have some nice things but it’s not about the things or the numbers or the car or the house or the business even the family
It goes deeper than that
Grateful.

That’s a real success story.

That’s the montage. 

That’s the part we’re in just now - as a world, as a culture, and as individuals within it. 

And some days we want to skip it. 

I mean, the films skip it. They hurry it along, stitch it together, add some inspiring music.

But the “montage” parts are actually the best parts. That’s where life happens. Where learning happens. The growing, the actual change. 

You can’t see it day by day, when you haul yourself off to the gym or do another pushup you don’t feel like doing, or take an apple instead of a packet of crisps. 

It feels like not very much. It feels kind of boring. 

But those are actually the good parts. Worth living, worth telling. Worth not skipping over. 

Stick with it. The triumphal end is coming, but you can’t rush it.


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