in Cognitive Wisdom, Prism of Life

What’s Preventing You From Unlimited Possibilities?

This is one of my favorite scenes from the movie Fight Club.

The back door opens and Tyler brings the store’s CLERK out at gunpoint, forces him to his knees. Jack follows, freaked. Tyler points the gun at the Clerk.

JACK (Voice Over): On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.

Please… don’t…
Give me your wallet.

The Clerk fumbles his wallet out of his pocket and Tyler snatches it. Tyler pulls out the driver’s license.

Raymond K. Hessel. 1320 SE Benning,
apartment A. A small, cramped
basement apartment.
How’d you know?
They give basement apartments letters
instead of numbers. Raymond, you’re
going to die.

Tyler rummages through the wallet.

Is this a picture of Mom and Dad?
Your mom and dad will have to call
kindly doctor so-and-so to dig up
your dental records, because there
won’t be much left of your face.
Please, God, no…

Raymond begins to weep, shoulders heaving.

An expired community college student
ID card. What did you use to study,
Raymond K. Hessel?
“Stuff.” Were the mid-terms hard?

Tyler rams the gun barrel against Raymond’s temple.

I asked you what you studied.
Tell him!
Biology, mostly.
I… I don’t know…
What did you want to be, Raymond?

Raymond weeps and says nothing. Tyler cocks the gun.

Raymond gasps.

The question, Raymond, was “what did
you want to be?”
Answer him!
A veterinarian!
Yeah … animals and…
Stuff. That means you have to get
more schooling.
Too much school.

Tyler shoves Raymond’s wallet back into Raymond’s pocket.

Would you rather be dead?
No, please, no, God, no!

Tyler moves the gun right between Raymond’s eyes.


Tyler uncocks the gun…lowers it.

I’m keeping your license. I know where you live. I’m going to check on you. If you aren’t back in school and on your way to being a veterinarian in six weeks, you will be dead. Get the hell out of here.


Raymond staggers to his feet, heads down an alleyway. Jack and Tyler watch Raymond flee, then Tyler looks at Jack.

I feel sick.
Imagine how he feels.

Tyler brings the gun to his own head, pulls the trigger — 

CLICK. Empty.

I don’t care, that was horrible.

Tyler walks away.

Tomorrow will be the most beautiful
day of Raymond K. Hessell’s life.


Jack watches Tyler go.


His breakfast will taste better than
any meal he has ever eaten.

Live the life you are supposed to live or someone will snatch it from you.

But wait a minute, do you really need someone to snatch your life?

Because for one reason or another, if you are not pursuing your most cherished dream then you are not doing a very bad job of snatching your own life.


Do you know, every single fear ultimately derives its energy from the fear of death?

And we all are equally afraid of death and life because we are equally ignorant of both — what an irony?

The fear of its various manifestation is so pervasive that we are often mistaking it as an essential and inevitable ingredient of our daily life.

However, if you choose to show some spine and dare to stare right back at the death — most of your fear would just vanish — because you would no longer be interested in subscribing to the exaggerated version of it.

Illusion of Simplicity

There is no denying that we are here but wouldn’t be here for long — circumscribed by the limitation of time. Then does it make sense living a life where we act like mortals in all that we fear and act like immortals in all that we desire?

And as far as fulfilling desire is concerned, we are willing to do anything —including oversimplification of life.

In the name of simplicity, we often end up constructing an image of ourselves that looks more like a caricature — absurdly oversimplified, too optimistic, and devoid of any contradictions. The inherent complexity of life is conveniently pushed under the carpet.


The fact of the matter remains — Life will happen to us irrespective of the fact whether we have planned for it in detail or not.

But that shouldn’t prevent us from having our own set of goals.

The very uncertainty associated with life in general and our goals, in particular, makes the whole journey of life quite an interesting adventure — whether you are stressed about it is entirely your choice.

If possible beware of certainty and be willing to befriend doubt. You are capable of changing anything as long as there is no hesitation in changing your mind.

There is no doubt that life will keep throwing distinct color at your canvas which might be completely different from what you thought you may need for the making of your masterpiece. And it shouldn’t discourage you because ultimately it’s your mindset that shapes your future and fulfills your potential.

Efforts & Direction

For a vast majority of the population having no goal is the norm where they are conditioned to merely accept the goals which are currently in fashion.

However, the path to a good life means setting achievable goals and actually translating them into reality. Once you bring more awareness to your presence, you will soon realize that there can be no good life without your own set of personal goals and dreams.

But mind you — the path of transformation leading to your dream is something very singular to you. If you happen to harbor a dream that is a borrowed one — rest assured that it will never be able to give you a sense of fulfillment — irrespective of the magnitude of your success.

Seneca — a Roman Stoic Philosopher — figured that out some two thousand years ago: “Let all your efforts be directed to something, let it keep that end in mind.”

Therefore, there is no dispute that Life goals are massively important and should be an integral part of your growth journey.

An Example

Researchers in the USA surveyed seventeen-and eighteen-year-old students about the importance of financial success. Many years later they surveyed the same people about their actual income, and about how happy they were with their lives in general.

The first result: The greater people’s financial ambitions in their younger years, the more they earned by middle age. Turns out goals work! And it only came as a surprise to the psychologists, who had believed for a very long time that people merely reacted to external stimuli, like Pavlov’s dogs.

The second result: All the students who had set their sights on a high-income job after finishing their education — and who had achieved that goal — tended to be deeply satisfied with their lives. By contrast, those for whom money was important but who had failed to achieve their financial goals were deeply unsatisfied. Sure, you may be thinking — Money makes you happy. But that’s not the case because a higher income had no effect on the satisfaction of people for whom wealth was not a life goal.

It’s not money that makes you happy or unhappy, it’s whether or not you realize your ambitions.

Choices & Constraints

Therefore our life is nothing but a result of all the choices that we make. And we are not very good at making decisions — especially when we are spoiled for choices.

Do you know that having more options not only make it more difficult to choose well, but it also robs us of the satisfaction we eventually get from our choice?

So, whenever we have to make decisions involving opportunity costs, we’ll feel less satisfied with our choice than we would if the alternatives were unknown to us.

The paradox of choices will make sure that you remain unsatisfied even after making an extensive and well-researched choice decision.

The Way

If you can allow your intellect not to get corrupted by biased beliefs, self-obsessed ideas, default judgments, and abstract concepts — there is a possibility that you might succeed in seeing beyond the myth of scarcity.

Once you understand how your desires and ambitions influence your life, you are better placed to chose your priorities and values.

Once you become sure of yourself, you can never be compelled to do anything against your wish.

You will stop looking for comfort and security in chains.

You will start appreciating the futility of swimming with baggage.

Once you learn to see through the prism of the law of nature none of your possessions would feel like essentials.

You would be finally on your way to freedom and unlimited possibilities.

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