Last night, I fell asleep thinking about a quote from a movie I watched as both child and adult – Ben Hur. 

There are a lot of things I appreciate about this movie, which I easily consider to be the greatest movie of all time. I’ve watched the film countless times, and each time has brought me something different, because I see it with new eyes each time.

Now, I’m thankful that I had parents who thought to pick out movies like this for family movie night. When you lay awake at night and ponder an idea, I think it says something about the quality of the thought; it has depth and character that has to be unpacked.

“How do you beat an idea? With another idea.”

You might need to read that over a few times. I suggest you do. This time, try replacing the words with something else:

”How do you beat a traumatic memory? With a positive one.”

”How do you beat bad behavior? With good behavior.”

There’s a lot to be said for unpacking ideas in this fashion. It’s sort of like learning how to play one instrument really well before you start another one; it gives you a frame of context to work from.

When I skate, I try to think of other things in my life that follow similar patterns. When I make a mistake, I quickly have to correct. If I don’t, I fall.

In similar fashion, each fall you make helps you prevent the next one. The very first time I lost my balance on the quarter pipe, I took a nasty fall. The second time, I was able to correct and continue skating.

As somebody that’s made a lot of mistakes in life, it’s sometimes difficult to look back at my track record of mistakes and battle feelings of being a failure. At the same token, I also see that life isn’t a road you pave as you go – it’s a ramp you skate up and down with each passing day.

What improves with each day is you. What stays consistent is the life around you that serves as the environment for learning these sorts of lessons.

I often battle feelings that the sky is falling. However, I’ve learned to reinforce these moments with a reminder that the quality of my life will never undergo any drastic changes in circumstance. 

How do you beat an idea? With another idea.

How do you change a circumstance or situation that doesn’t feel good? By doing things that make it feel good.

See, each new experience we have in life only stays in our conscious memory for a period of time. Eventually, it passes down to our subconscious. When you feed your ‘memory machine’ positive experiences, eventually your system begins to recognize a chance in the balance, and it begins to naturally reinforce the behaviors that contribute to positive experiences.

One of of favorite memories in life is the morning I woke up on my younger brother’s couch, the morning after we both watched the new Ben Hur film – a film so terrible I cannot bear to think of it.

I woke up and immediately thought: “I want to get this film out of my memory.”

To my delight, Mark already knew what to do, and he had the original movie playing on his big screen. No words were said as I sat down to watch with him – he knew what to do.

How do you beat a bad movie? With the best one.

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