I used to be a dreamer. Someone who would dream about becoming a billionaire. About buying a second home in the outskirts of Paris. About becoming a translator or an interpreter for the United Nations.
When I was young, I would daydream about being a member of the X-Men. Especially Gambit. He was so cool. Flashing his cards and flirting with the ladies. Or I’d pretend to be my favorite tennis player, Michael Chang. Running down balls and hitting winners down the line.
I’d be alone in my living room fake dribbling basketballs and pulling up for jump shots in my house. Pretending I was Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan. I would dream and dream about being successful and rich and surrounded by ladies and adored by my peers.
I don’t know why I did that. I guess I saw myself as the main character in my story. After all, it is my life and nobody else’s. I am the controller of my destiny. I am the lead actor. The anchor of the basketball team. The leader of the X-Men. The guy that the world revolves around.
So, I saw myself as the main character in this life for a variety of reasons. Maybe it’s my ego. Maybe it’s the fact that I accumulated a lot of academic success while I was young. Either way, I was enamored with being me, myself, and I. I was attached to my ego. Daydreaming about making it big some day or becoming a top-flight basketball player.
I guess many people in this life see themselves as the main character. They are the leader in their own stories. They are the protagonist. The superhero. The guy or girl that achieves big things. I don’t know if that’s right or wrong. But, we all do need to take care of ourselves. After all, we only get one life.
This need for becoming the main character has gradually subsided as I grew older. I’ve learned to empathize a bit more with my surroundings. With my society. I’ve been active in clubs that are fortunate enough to focus on giving back to others. Like Toastmasters. Like the Ch’An Meditation Center. I think being engrossed in these activities helped alleviate my ego.
Being active in these activities made me realize that the world doesn’t revolve around me, myself, and I. There are billions and billions of people on this planet all trying to make it for themselves and striving to put food on the table. I am just one of these billions of people.
In one sense, I am indeed the main character of my life. But amongst the other billions of people, I am a side character. A support in their lead. The Robin to their Batman. The Scottie Pippen to their Michael Jordan. I am a mere speck in their existence. And that’s fine by me these days.
I used to think that I was destined for “big” things. That I would become a superstar in my own right. I don’t know if that’s true anymore. I have achieved things that I’m proud of over these years. I graduated from college. I achieved my MBA. I achieved my DTM in Toastmasters. And I’m fairly successful thus far in my family business.
But, these material achievements don’t make or break who I am as a person. Naturally, once you taste success, you want more and more. And it never seems to end. There’s nothing wrong with that. We all need to grow in our own separate ways. But, it’s good to take a step back and smell the roses. Realize that you’ve done much in this world. That you’ve worked hard. And that you’ve strived to do your best.
You are the main character in your own story. But do realize that there are billions of people on this planet too. Everyone is playing their own main role in their own little world. Everyone wants to be the lead. The head honcho. The alpha. And in their realities, they may indeed be the lead. The alpha. But, it just depends on perspective.
Nobody is perfect in this world. Regardless of whether you are a main character or a side character. Just live your life the way you want to. And give back to the community every little way you can. Realize that in other people’s worlds, you are just a side character. So, try to empathize a little bit more. Try to give back. Try to see from other people’s perspectives. And your world will unlock for you.
The more you widen your perspective, the less attachment you will feel for the material things in this world. And I think, at least, that that is for the better. So, you do you. Do what you want to do. You only get one life. But, sometimes, be okay to step aside and play the support role in someone else’s lead story. Be okay with that from time to time.
Life feels more fulfilling when you can help and service others. You get a sense of community. Of connection. Of being a full-fledged individual. Don’t worry about whether you are the lead or you are the support. Just try your best to make someone else’s day a little bit brighter in your own little way.