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Don’t Be A Slacker: Lessons Learned From Back to the Future, Part 3

Read part one here, and part two here.

Lesson 3: Your Future Isn’t Written

“Back to the Future Part III” is a polarizing film with fans of the series. Some love its historical setting and sharp departure from the previous films; others think it’s a boring western with a schmaltzy ending. Whatever you think about the series finale, one thing’s for certain: it’s pretty heavy.

Make the future your own

This time around, both Marty and Doc face seemingly grim futures. The plot’s pretty convoluted/complex, so I’ll break it down simply for you. Unbeknownst to Marty, he’s set to crash into a Rolls-Royce upon return to 1985 as a result of his lack of confidence and inability to walk away from confrontations. Doc, on the other hand, faces death at the hand of Buford “Mad Dog Tannen.” Both situations seem like certainties. Doc knows about Marty’s future mistake, but can’t tell him, while Doc seems destined for death unless he can get the DeLorean up and running and get back to 1985.

It’s pretty certain that Marty *ahem* Clint Eastwood and Doc are going to turn out okay (this is a movie after all), but the only reason they come out of the whole thing alive is by taking action. Failure, as Marty and Doc learn, is a possibility, but never a certainty. While Doc and Marty may seem destined for failure (or in Doc’s case a bullet in the back), they both come out on top by taking charge of their lives. Marty learns that it’s not necessary to freak out over taunts from Old West goons and zipheads in pickup trucks. Doc doesn’t get shot and ends up returning to 1985 in a steam-powered train. Who would have seen that coming?

In a scene so mushy it’d make Disney execs groan, Doc tells Marty “…your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it.” While the ending may be pretty cornball– complete with music akin to “When You Wish Upon a Star” — Doc’s words do tie in pretty well with series. Not only that, they serve as a decent message to anyone who thinks they don’t have control over their own destiny.

It’s true: your future isn’t written. It’s what you make of it. You can choose to be a victim, to give your power to others, to sit around and let life pass you buy. On the other hand, you can choose to be confident, to go after your goals, to deal with issues along the way. Maybe you weren’t born into a prominent family and/or with the body of a god. This doesn’t mean you can’t one day own a mansion or grace the cover of “Muscle & Fitness.” While you don’t have the benefit of tossing a can of beer into Mr. Fusion and seeing what the future has in store for you, you can take the right steps now to get the future you desire.

I hope you enjoyed my “Lessons Learned From Back to the Future” articles. Maybe I’ll do a similar series on a different trilogy in the future. Perhaps “Don’t Be A Hacker: Lessons Learned From The Matrix”? Well, the future isn’t written, so I still have time to decide.

The End.

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About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.

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