Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

The Biggest Role Of Your Life

In the story of life, we all feel like we’re the main character. That’s not ego, it’s common sense: out of all the people that cross our path, we’re the only one that never leaves. 

Naturally, we come to value that person the most. And all the other people who enter and leave our perspective? They’re secondary. 

No matter how much we care about them, they’ll always be background characters. Because eventually, even if it’s for a moment, they’ll leave our sight.

That never-ending process of coming and going reinforces the idea that we’re the star the of show. The one who it all revolves around. The hero.

The opposite is also true.

Every one of us is a secondary character in someone else’s hero story. You may play a large role, but you are not the protagonist.  Just a visitor who goes by many names, depending on the story.

Parent. Sibling. Friend. Distant figure in the street. Name on my Whatsapp group. The a-hole who stole my parking spot. 

You play more roles than Nicholas Cage and you’re probably not even aware of it. 

And that’s precisely the thing.

You have so many side gigs playing as the visitor in someone else’s movie that it barely makes sense to see yourself as the protagonist of your own.

Although your wants and desires are almost always in your thoughts, you’re rarely in the thoughts of others. That’s not a diss, that’s a fact.

How often do you think about the barista who served you coffee? The person in the gym that you sometimes shoot the shit with? Your favourite teacher in high school? Your distant family? Your colleagues? 

Probably not a lot. If you think of anyone who isn’t you, you’ll probably think of those closest to you. If Dunbar’s number is anything to go by, your thoughts probably cycle between about 150 people. 

The other tens of thousands of people you’ve met in your lifetime? They practically don’t exist to you. Not because you’re mean, but because you don’t have the emotional bandwidth.

Realising that you’re more of a visitor than a hero changes things.

It makes you more humble. And more importantly, it makes you a better visitor.

You’re playing in hundreds of stories a day, so you better get good at your job of supporting the protagonist. Make ‘em feel good. Or at the very least, don’t ruin the scene.

It’s not like it’ll cost you much either. As a visitor, your role is only minor. A bit part that’s usually over in minutes. Maybe a few hours if you were blessed with a major role.

So make these moments count! It means more to them than you think and it barely costs you anything.

And if philanthropy isn’t your schtick, let me sweeten the deal a little.

People don’t really care about the things you do as the leading actor in your movie. They care about the things you do as the visitor in their movie.

Do you want to be thought of fondly and frequently? You now know what to do.

Break a leg.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach