Contemplative Review: Revolutionary Road – Insights on Life Purpose, Hero’s Journey and Materialism
Hello everybody! This is Arda Cigin, founder of Teaching Entrepreneurs.
In this episode, I thought we should de something different and do a contemplative review. We’ll take a look at one of my favourite movies – Revolutionary Road – and extract some powerful insights on life’s purpose, hero’s journey and materialism.
If you haven’t watched the movie, there will be spoilers. But if you don’t mind spoilers and just want to get the most important insights I’ve gathered from the movie, then keep watching.
Now the movie’s plot is a couple’s failed attempts into transcending their petty 9-to-5 uninspiring existence into a higher dimension which I call pursuing one’s life’s purpose.
The reason why this movie so resonated with me is – it shows how dysfunctional the crowd mentality is. How dysfunctional our society is.
And how much a person can improve their lives through just rejecting group thinking, and start accepting the hero’s journey. Start thinking for themselves. Cultivating self-reliance. And independently doing what they love.
Our couple is Frank and April Wheeler. Frank is acted by Leonardo DiCaprio which is one of my favourite actors and april is acted by Kate Winston. You remember her from Titanic.
Now just like in hero’s journey, our couple lives their ordinary existence. Frank is working for a cooperation called Knox. His father also worked there.
So in a way, he is just mindlessly continuing the legacy. Frank doesn’t like his job at all. But since it pays the bills. He does it anyway.
April on the other hand is a little different from Frank. In the beginning of the movie, she is acting in a theatre performance. And it appears that she is trying to fulfill her life’s purpose.
But the theatre performance is a failure. After hearing how the audience hated her performance in the backstage, she decides to accept defeat, lose heart, get discouraged and simply keep being a housewife.
Now at some point April realizes that all of their unhappiness and problems can be solved by moving to Paris. At one point she goes to Frank and says, let’s use our savings and go to Paris. Europe will be a breath of fresh air. The kids will be happy there. Let’s do it.
And Frank is at first quite skeptical and asks: Well what am I gonna do when we get there? I have this secure job at Knox. I don’t want to risk all that.
And April says: Well you don’t have to get any kind of a job. Because I will. I found this secretary job at this government agency. And it is going to easily pay the bills.
And Frank says: So you are gonna work but what am I gonna do? Just sit on the couch and watch TV?
And April says: No Frank. Don’t you see? Your job at Knox is killing you. You hate going to that crappy job even a monkey can do. And you know that deep down.
When we go to paris, you’ll finally have the time to figure what it is actually you love doing. You’ll contemplate. You’ll read books. You’ll take some time off. And find your life’s purpose.
Now let’s pause for a second. What april does here is I think quite bold and in a good way. Even though April’s life’s purpose is becoming an actor, she is being selfless here and says to frank: I’ll work at a secretary job until you find what you want you want to do.
Since both are in a relationship, sacrifices to be made. But there are some big problems with April’s thinking.
First of all, Frank can find his life’s purpose here. You don’ have to risk. You don’t have to go to Paris to find it. Frank can easily spend unproductive hours in his 9-5 job into contemplation and exploration of his life’s purpose. So this is basically an excuse.
Second of all, the whole idea of moving to Paris will solve all of our problems is false. Even after Frank figures his life’s purpose, it will take a long time before getting into another job or creating his own business. So if they went to paris now, April is going to spend easily 6 months to a year working at a secretary job she hates.
Also Just by moving to Paris, you won’t solve your relationship problems. This materialistic thought of getting to somewhere will make you happy. Being focused on external gains is a big problems.
All of your incessant thoughts and unhappiness will continue in Paris. If you want to solve your emotional problems like depression, jealousy, unhappiness, unfulfilment, you need to look inwards. Nothing in the external world will help you solve these problems.
And If we look at Frank, he is just a sheep. In essence, he is a coward. He doesn’t leave his secure and comfortable job at Knox even though bores him to death. He is scared of failing. And he is basically rejecting the call to action.
Even though just moving to Paris is not going to solve all of their problems, it has the slim chance of helping Frank start a high consciousness life. Hopefully giving him the space to figure out his life’s purpose and after he starts to bring money into the table again, now April can quit her secretary job and spend the free time to pursue her acting career, her life’s purpose.
And meanwhile they can maybe go to relationship therapy sessions to learn how to look inwards and do some personal development work to uncover and fix those emotional problems and stop the fights they are having.
So overall, they actually had this slim chance of living a higher consciousness life. But since Frank and April decides to not go to Paris due to many limiting beliefs and excuses, they forever stay in a dysfunctional and unhappy relationship, living a petty existence.
Now let me summarize these insight and give you a recap of the practical steps that you can follow to live a higher consciousness life.
First big practical step – the most important one that I keep repeating and teaching with my company – is finding your life’s purpose. Guys listen, if you want to live a good life, you have to find what it is that gives you fulfilment in life.
For me, it is personal development work. For you it can be drawing, it can be music, it can be psychology. What ever you love doing, start pursuing that. There is zero chance for you to become an expert in a field that you don’t resonated with.
Second big Practical step – is financial independence. Now guys as you see in the movie, the reason why Frank and April decided not to go to Paris at last second was money problems.
They were scared that they wouldn’t be able to support themselves in Paris especially with the kids.
The reason why you need to take your life’s purpose and turn it into a business where you can create passive income from is – it is going to enable you to create this financial wealth. Whenever you need to make these type of bold life decisions, money won’t be an obstacle.
Take a look at the people around you, everybody has money issues. The only people who don’t have money issues is people who have their businesses.
No 9-5 job can give you neither the wealth nor the satisfaction that turning your life’s purpose into a business can. And this is the whole reason why I’m teaching you personal development and business.
So that you can transcend to a higher consciousness. This is why I’ve created this company. I want you to live this higher vision I have of you.
And last but not least the third practical step is letting go of your materialism. Yes I know this contradicts to what we’ve just talked about. Listen money and success is important.
You need to pay your and bills you need to put conscious effort into this work. But at the end of the day, the happiness will come from fulfilling your life’s purpose, not making x amount of dollars, getting a Ferrari, moving to paris. These are all illusions. The real happiness is looking inwards.
The great philosopher Socrates said it the best, living a contemplative life where you examine and are conscious of your actions is a life worth living.
So if you tendency to be too materialistic, then be conscious of it. If you have the tendency to get depressed often, be aware of how much you are focused on the past events. Same thing with anxiety and worry, be aware and contemplate how much you are focused on the future.
The key to happiness is to be present and mindful of your action. Finding that perfect balance between strategizing and being focused on the future, looking at the past and learning from our mistakes and simply being intensely focused on the present.
When you structure your life with strategy, occasionally looking at the past to learn from your mistakes and for the majority of your life, being mindful of your actions and completely getting absorbed in the present moment, you’ll see some huge improvements in life quality.
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Do you want to stop suffering and enjoy life regardless of the circumstances?
If so, my free daily email course will teach you deep meditation work and mind training - integrating buddhist and stoic wisdom - to help you cultivate permanent happiness in your life.
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