The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey as Truman, is a story about a man who since birth has lived inside a giant Hollywood dome, which is the made-for-TV town of Seahaven. Everybody he has ever known, from his friends to his wife to his co-workers, are actors hired to play those roles. Unaware that his world is artificial and that another world awaits him outside of the dome, the movie traces Truman’s life as he begins to question everything he’s learned and believed since childhood. Watch this short clip from the movie, and then we’ll look at what The Truman Show can teach us about life:
The Truman Show is about that part in each of us that is searching for significance and meaning in life. It’s also a story about confronting our fears and the satisfaction that follows when we’ve pushed ourselves further than we’ve gone before. And it gives us a glimpse of what life is like when we allow our fears to hold us back. The lessons The Truman Show can teach us are many, and here are a few of them.
Question everything: Truman’s quest began when he started to question what he had previously taken for granted. Too often we go through life making assumptions about ourselves and others that greatly limit our possibilities. We assume that we can’t find a better job or succeed in business. We accept what others tell us about ourselves. Instead, perhaps it’s time to start asking, “what if”. What if I finished the book I’ve always wanted to write? Maybe somebody would be willing to publish it. What if I left my dead end job for a new opportunity? Maybe I could reinvigorate my career. Or in Truman’s case, what if I walk through that open door? What if?
Never stop dreaming: I am an eternal dreamer. I dream of doing far more than I could ever possibly do. But all great things begin as a dream. This is the other side of the “what if” question. Question everything and then dream of the possibilities. If you could design your life without limitations, what would it look like?
Take risks: This really is at the heart of The Truman Show. What are you willing to risk for the chance of attaining your dreams? Once you’ve questioned everything, and after you’ve pictured your dream, what are you willing to sacrifice to go after it? Often it’s a question of whether we are willing to trade in a comfortable life for one of significance and meaning.
Oh, and in the unlikely event this is my last post–good afternoon, good evening and good night.
Published or updated May 23, 2011.