One of my favourite things I like to watch is the bloopers and outtakes that are shown of mistakes made during the making of a movie. Most DVD’s have a section of outtakes to be viewed, and often they will set me off laughing, especially when you know what was supposed to happen. In one sense it seems strange to laugh at other people’s mistakes, and yet we all do it, and our enjoyment is not usually of malicious intent. We laugh because we can all relate and identify how much part of being human such bloopers are!
We all make mistakes, and have many bloopers and outtakes in a lifetime. Some of them may be funny like movie bloopers, a stupid mistake and we are able to laugh at our selves. Other outtakes in life, however, are not funny, and are neither unforeseen nor self imposed. I am referring to the tragic turns of events that happen in life that can turn our life and routine around in a moment. Accidents, disaster, the death of a loved one happen unexpectedly, and can profoundly affect our lives. These are outtakes we would prefer not to happen or even replayed in life. Some of life’s outtakes have the potential to embarrass, humiliate, hurt, or disappoint us and also can stop our hopes and dreams for ever. Times of crisis and tragedy can not be prevented, but how you handle these outtakes will affect the rest of your life. There is always a choice in any crisis. We can choose to grieve, but cling on to hope and move forward, or choose to cling onto the past and become stuck there. We cannot choose our circumstances, but we do have a choice how we respond to them. We can succumb or overcome, and our choice will determine our future. When we drive a car our focus is the road ahead; if we spend all our time looking in the rearview mirror failure is more or less inevitable! The same is true in life, we will fail, or at best remain at a standstill if we keep looking back and focusing on the events behind us, reliving the past.
A young African-American girl was born to unwed impoverished teenagers, in the racially charged backwoods of Mississippi in the middle of the twentieth century. She was abused by male relatives, and became pregnant at age fourteen. This girl did not seem to have many choices about her future and its potential to turn around towards success. However, this girl determined that these devastating outtakes of her life would not predetermine her future. Despite her circumstances this girl learned how to succeed by working hard, being true to herself and communicating with compassion and honesty.
This woman’s success story may seem like a fairy tale, for Oprah Winfrey is now one of the most well known and influential women in the world. However Oprah would acknowledge that her tragic childhood experiences have helped her remain true to her commitment to persevere and aim for excellence. Oprah Winfrey is well known for her TV show, O magazine and book club, but also for the way she had explicitly described her own battles with depression, her weight and her relationships. She has made many connections between her past struggles and poor choices to the ‘aha’ moments that motivated her to take those experiences and learn from them, ultimately bringing her to a place more success and respect. Oprah chose to overcome, not to succumb.
Oprah is one of numerous examples of people who overcame the outtakes of their life and did not allow the odds to intimidate them. Just as actors learn from their mistakes and use them to improve their performance, so can we use our outtakes to improve our lives.
Don’t let your outtakes ‘take you out’; use them to take you forward.