My husband and I sat our children down for a little 80’s education this weekend in the form of a family movie night at home. The feature film? Back to the Future, of course. What a trip. Between the 1985 flashbacks and the reminder of just how perfect Michael J. Fox was in that film, we were all mesmerized.
Childhood crush aside, it was the central message of the movie that hit me in a new and different way this time around. I’d capture it like this.
As you’ll likely recall from the movie, in the opening, Marty’s dad, George McFly is the classic nerd. He’s depicted as spineless, still under the thumb of the guy who has been bullying him since high school. His whole family appears to be suffering.
But when we go back to 1955 and George stands up to the bully, Biff, just once during high school, his entire future is transformed. While this may seem far fetched at first, it’s actually more realistic than you might think.
After watching the movie and playing with the idea a bit over the weekend, I woke up on Monday to find that Seth Godin (one of my favorite bloggers) had published a post about the same topic.
Here’s an excerpt from that post.
Every day, we change. We move (slowly) toward the person we’ll end up being.
Not just us, but our organizations. Our political systems. Our culture.
Are you more generous than the you of five or ten years ago? More confident? More willing to explore?
Have you become more brittle? Selfish? Afraid?
Those questions Seth asked are great ones to ask yourself, especially if you are wondering how you got to where you are (or how someone else in your life became the way they are) today.
If we’re going to change anyhow, then our job is to make sure we’re proud of where those changes are leading us.
This is far more likely to happen when we are paying attention. When we consciously choose how we grow, and don’t just let it happen to us, we move in the direction we want. When we stop paying attention, and let life happen to us, we can easily drift off course.
So the question to ask yourself is this:
And then make the choices that will get you there.