07/24/2010 02:18 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Improve Your Life by Thinking of It as a Movie


One theory about cinema attendance holds that people go to the movies as an escape from their hum-drum lives. Whether or not this is true, it's a dangerous theory, and not just because it contains the term "hum-drum," whose origin cannot be traced to any living or dead language on this or any other planet.

It's dangerous because it invites continual, depressing comparisons between your drab life and Julia Roberts' more exciting universe, your nothing job and Leonardo DiCaprio's jet-setting, multi-millionaire status, your husband and Brad Pitt. It's a wonder movie theater lobbies don't have rows of suicide hotline phone booths.

But don't despair. I have come up with an easy and fun way to avoid these My Life Bites comparisons, and that is to begin thinking of your entire life as though it were an actual movie. And not just "a" movie--a great movie, a thrilling movie, the mother of all movies! How do you do this? By applying positive quotes, all those superlatives, from actual movie ads to your own miserable, pathetic, soul-draining existence.

Try it. You've watched plenty of movies. You've seen a gazillion movie ads. You have all the raw material at hand to turn your sad, boring, problem-plagued life into something truly special. At least, in your own mind. Ladies and gentlemen, what I am proposing is nothing short of the fact that you have the power to change your own perception of your own reality. And I'm sure that there are many out there, even besides fans of Pink Floyd and the various pharmaceutical companies, who would agree.

Let's take a look at how this might work for an average woman named Kathy...

Monday morning, Kathy wakes up in Movie Quote Mode, looks at herself in the bathroom mirror, and notes her appearance as irresistible, delicious, one of the triumphs of the year. She gets dressed, fixes herself the breakfast of a lifetime, and says good-bye to her two cats, in a manner that is touching, hilarious, and unforgettable.

Kathy drives to work, enjoying the coastline view. It is a must-see view, the view of a lifetime, a view that redefines nature. Naturally, Kathy arrives at work feeling on top of the world. And why not? Her job as a factory assembly line worker is something truly special, an adrenaline rush, pure entertainment.

Delivering a tour-de-force performance on the job, Kathy treats herself to a lunch which is nothing short of extraordinary, stunning, magical. Later, Kathy's supervisor takes her aside and informs her that her on-the-job performance shows off a vibrant intelligence, demonstrates a virtuoso's exhilarating grasp of all aspects of assembly line socks packaging, and represents nothing less than the reinvention of mainstream American factory production.

After work, Kathy enjoys a blind date with a man whose conversation reveals such depth, wit, and blazing originality that it places him in the front ranks of American marital possibilities. Kathy isn't just engrossed by him, she is actually intoxicated by his presence--high on the discovery of how pleasurable a man can be. Before taking leave, Kathy admits both to herself and to him that she finds him passionate, captivating, and gloriously alive.

Stopping for groceries on the way home, Kathy engages the produce manager in a conversation about the ripeness of the melons. His discourse on fruit proves to be an absolute laugh riot from beginning to end. Kathy realizes that she's not just having her question answered, she's also having a gleefully merry time. She thanks him, grateful for his rich pockets of humor and sweetness.

Kathy makes one last stop, to pick up the painting she had framed. She finds it to be an overwhelming vision, pure gold, the single best-framed painting of the year. At home, Kathy places it on the wall, steps back, and takes it in. It is even more joltingly alive now than it was in the store--gripping, grabbing, a head-on collision of thought-provoking emotions.

As usual, Kathy calls her mother to share the details of her day, which she describes as the year's most heart-stopping drama--thrilling, unforgettable, glowing with substance and charm. In one of their most vibrant and dazzling conversations to date, Kathy and her mother capture something special between them. It is indeed a conversation which should be heard by anyone who cares about great American conversations.

Hungry now, Kathy decides to prepare a pasta dish containing a mixture of tastes she finds rhapsodic, erotic, and stunning--a voluptuous blend of seafood and sauces. The meal is a masterwork. Kathy can't help but shout, "Bravo!" The feeling even carries over to her doing the dishes, which she finds infectiously entertaining, a compelling, edge-of-her-seat adrenaline rush.

Moving to her closet, Kathy selects her clothing for tomorrow. She chooses an old fashioned, romantic dress that sweeps her up in its grandeur. It is everything you put on a dress for--a feast for the eyes, the ears, and the heart. Kathy congratulates herself upon once again choosing an outfit which is rich, understated, delightful, and seamless.

Suddenly, Kathy hears a strange noise. It is terrifying, gripping, chilling. The suspense is entertainment of the highest order. Hearing it does for one-bedroom condos what "Jaws" did for the beach. Kathy finds herself swept up in its intense, searing, startling, heart-pounding mystery. When at last she finds it was only her cat knocking over a vase, Kathy experiences a gleefully merry time, one of the most memorable relief experiences she's likely to have this year.

Kathy's nightly flossing session is indeed a towering achievement, a stylish, fast-paced, slickly energetic rarity which touches her heart and mind. Kathy's resulting smile is immensely affecting, powerful, miraculous. Kudos to this contagious, irresistible smile which kicks off the night on a high note.

Turning to face the full-length mirror, Kathy takes herself in, pronouncing herself superb, heroic, wonderfully touching, nothing short of sensational--a woman who celebrates the art of survival, the gift of laughter, and the miracle of connection. She, truly, is a woman of the highest order--a bravura, must-see woman. Finally, intoxicated by the promise of tomorrow, realizing that she is living the legend in a beguilingly unpredictable fashion, once again, Kathy gives herself and her life two enthusiastic thumbs up!

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