Except there’s no producer or director. Nobody knows where they are, or even who they are.
There’s been no briefing, no scripts, everyone’s just turned up on the day. Of course they all have wildly different ideas of what they’re supposed to be doing, but were expecting someone to tell them for sure once they arrived.
In the absence of any clear direction, the vast majority do what everyone else is doing.
A few work to their own strengths, and vary it up a bit. Not much, though. They still follow the general life-path everyone seems to have fallen into.
A few decide to be contrarian, and deliberately work to do the opposite of whatever the ‘consensus’ rules are. This annoys others, who set out to teach them a lesson. An endless game of ‘Cops and Robbers’ ensues.
A very few see this setup as an opportunity, and start doing some directing themselves. They start off small, but since they’re providing some of the clarity and direction everyone’s been looking for, naturally others gravitate to them, and their home made movie proceeds to grow, mostly in line with whatever they’ve decided it’s going to be.
Some get inspired by this, and make attempts to start their own movie. Some of them succeed. Others, not sure exactly how it’s supposed to be done, try to direct their own movie while still looking over their shoulder at what’s happening with their original ‘director’ inspiration. Of course, that doesn’t work so well, so a lot of these give up and wander back, thinking that obviously life’s not meant to be that easy, and the director’s success was a fluke.
One ‘director’ decides to have a sub-plot in her movie where her character produces her own movie about how to direct your own life. She calls it "The Secret", and of course it’s wildly successful. The only problem is, the same as when directors inspired people, most people then try to practise it while looking over their shoulder for someone else to direct them, so it doesn’t make a lot of difference to the stage. It doesn’t take long until the majority are back saying ‘it doesn’t work’ and looking around for someone else to direct the movie they hope will feature their success.
Is this sounding familiar?
It’s not even a new idea. Remember "All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players"
We know we have the power to create our own lives, yet most of us plod along, content to follow the scripts designed by the committee of actors around us. No wonder it’s a truism that your life will equate to the average of the lives of the 6 people you spend most time with – they’re YOUR committee. You know what they say about design by committee, don’t you?
Which is going to be more interesting and fulfilling – a life designed, directed and starred by YOU; or a default committee written script with no overarching plot (except maybe a constant search for meaning and direction)?
Control is scary, yes. Is it worth it? Every autobiography of people who’ve forged their own way says, resoundingly, that it is.
It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing jump, though. What about sitting down and writing a draft script for the next 5 years of your own life, and then seeing how much of it pans out?
I have. It was fun! Go on. I dare you…