What I’m about to say, I’ve never confessed to anyone. It’s Christmas sacrilege, what I’m about to tell you, maybe even unAmerican. But it’s nevertheless true.
I hate the Christmas classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
I’ve seen it twice, maybe three times. I’m repulsed every time. I’d be happy never to see it again.
Why such visceral dislike?
As far as I can tell, the surface message of the story seems to be “your life matters,” with which of course I fully agree. But the deeper message seems to be this: The way to live a beautiful life is to stumble your way blindly along through the years, not paying much attention to the impact of your life, or even really endeavoring to chase your dreams in any meaningful way, and just hope that your decades of reactive or unconscious choices will somehow lead to a life that is a masterpiece of beauty.
To me, that’s like saying “let’s randomly throw paint at a wall, and expect to create a Van Gogh.” No. An artist paints with intention. Van Gogh’s Starry Night was no result of tossing random splotches on a canvas.
I think to create a beautiful life you have to be intentional about it. I think you have to deeply explore how you would answer a handful of critical questions, and then intentionally, and systematically, implement the answers:
- What is a beautiful life to you?
- What is it to live beautifully?
- What kind of person do you want to become?
- What kind of life do you want to create?
- What do you want to create with your life?
We get only one shot at creating our lives. I don’t want to leave it to chance. I want to make something beautiful with the time I’ve been given.