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“Fight Club” and Self Confidence

When’s the last time you spent an entire day doing what you wanted to?

When’s the last time you worked toward your dream?

First rule ...

If you can’t remember the answer to any of the above questions, you’re not truly living. Sure, we all have obligations to family, friends, and paying the electricity bill, but where do societal obligations end and personal goals begin?

Do you hate your boss, but don’t say anything because you’re too afraid you’ll lose your job and be unemployed forever? Do you dress and act a certain way because you’re afraid of being seen as an “other”? If so, you’re doing the exact opposite of living.

This past week I had the pleasure of reading Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 novel “Fight Club.” (Okay, I know I’m a little late to the Palahniuk party. I was too busy reading Dostoevsky if you want to know.) Most likely you’ve seen the Fantastic 1999 film starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.

“Fight Club” is packed with tons of ideas, so I won’t go into detail. To put it short, an unnamed protagonist, fed up with his meaningless life, starts living by his own terms. He stops caring about his soulless corporate job, furniture, and “clever art.” Basically, he stops living according to society’s rules. This is an incredibly simplistic breakdown of the plot, but it fits in well with the point I’m trying to make.

The protagonist in “Fight Club” sees through all of the bullshit and stops living like a drone. He and his “friend” Tyler Durden encourage others to pursue their own dreams, even going so far as to threaten to kill a guy if he doesn’t start pursuing his dream to be a veterinarian.

I’m not condoning splicing porno images into family movies or blowing up buildings as the characters of “Fight Club” do. There’s a difference between living life by our own rules and just being a straight-up lunatic. What “Fight Club” does highlight is the freeing feeling that is following one’s own dreams, of really experiencing life as opposed to standing in line and eating up all of society’s nonsense.

Tyler Durden in “Fight Club” represents uninhibited freedom of choice. He may live in a dilapidated shithole and make soap out of human fat, but at least he does his own thing.

Are you living life like Tyler Durden or are you sitting back and watching it pass by? Do you wear cornflower blue ties and kiss your boss’ ass? There’s a big difference between being what society considers a success and succeeding on your own terms. If working in a cubicle and buying as much stuff as you can get is really fulfilling to you, so be it. If you long for something more, however, you’re killing yourself for not seeking it out.

Give “Fight Club” a read if you haven’t already. Not only is it incredibly smart and funny, but it really captures the freeing feeling that comes from giving the world the middle finger and pursuing your own happiness.

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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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