The Spectator or the Main Character

People love living vicariously through the stories of adversity and discomfort of others. We are attracted to it because we desire to do the same, but fear keeps us back. So, we get 90% of the emotional benefit from experiencing the story secondhand, and we get to stay in our comfort zone.

The problem is we don’t grow as a result, and we don’t get to reap the benefits of the reward that hangs in the balance of overcoming the adversity and high risk. Facing risk and embracing risk…even if it results in failure, is the only way to grow. And everyone watching isn’t necessarily watching in order to see you succeed or fail. They just want to see what happens. People love to look through a window to see it all unfold.

It’s why we watch movies and vlogs, read biographies, get addicted to consuming the stories of the lives and struggles and drama of others. We want to see what happens without getting messy ourselves.

This idea is powerful because it means I can drop the facade of having it figured out. I get to show people the real me. But…this only works in pursuit of something. It does not work if the “story line” is look at me try my best at average.

The more cringe-worthy the story the better. The more your reaction is, “I would never do that,” the more attracted you are to seeing what happens.

And with so many people who are unwilling to face the adversity, discomfort, and risk really just makes the chances of those who are willing to face them higher. Nothing is as unattainable the fear in your head tells you it is.

You have to embrace discomfort if you want to achieve things you have not achieved. You have to keep doing things you’ve never done.

You can either be the spectator or be the main character.

Also published on Medium.