When you’ve seen as many movies as I have, you begin to see that they all follow a certain pattern. This is true not just of movies, but of all great stories ranging from those found in classic mythology and literature to modern TV series and video games. Joseph Campbell called it the monomyth or hero’s journey. It’s basically a series of steps that the protagonist must go through during the course of his or her adventure. In addition to this, there are also a number of spiritual principles that often find their way into storytelling. By combining these principles with the monomyth, you can pretty much figure out where just about any story is headed. While this skill has proven to be incredibly annoying to my wife, it’s come in very handy for me. Not because I’ve continually annoyed her with my usually correct movie and TV show predictions, but because I’ve noticed that these storytelling rules apply to more than just fictitious stories. They also apply to real life.

One of my favorite moments of any movie happens in The Karate Kid when Mr. Miyagi shows Daniel that all his seemingly pointless wax-on, wax-off chores were actually for a higher purpose. Daniel comes to realize that he was learning and training in karate all along and didn’t even realize it.

The scene is reminiscent of when Dorothy learns that she could’ve gone home at any time by clicking her red ruby slippers together. But the point was the journey, not the destination. Similarly, many of you have been reading these blog posts for a long time, but perhaps, not applying the insights along the way. For many years, I’ve been writing about how life is not random. That it runs by a series of very specific rules that are hidden within our mythology and designed to help us navigate life’s challenges. Well, now it’s time to point out what you’ve been learning all along. And if this is the first Layman article you’ve ever read, not to worry. Think of this as the Cliff’s Notes version that will save you from having to read the other ninety-three articles I’ve posted here so far.

Combining what I’ve learned from movies, TV series, video games, mythology, The Bible, Kabbalah, books, comics, various spiritual principles, lectures, and life, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are dozens or rules that apply to stories as well as reality. Of course, if this were true, it would have some pretty heavy implications about whether reality is actually real. But that’s a discussion for another article.

For now, I’d just like to list the major principles so you can see for yourself whether or not they ring true for you. These rules are found in pretty much every story and religion—ever. But most of us never really think of them as actual rules that apply to the real world. But they are. Think of this as the Long Lost Instruction Book To The Game of Life. Better late than never.

RULE #1: TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT ANY NEW VENTURE, YOU MUST TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH. If it’s your dream to be something, do something, or have something new, it will remain a dream unless you first take a leap of faith. You cannot fully grasp a new undertaking unless your first let go of what you’re already holding onto. To move forward you must release what’s holding you back, no matter how much comfort it brings you. A leap of faith means that you fully commit to something new, confident that you will succeed, or better yet, believing that you have already succeeded. In order to do this, your dream must be bigger than your fear.

In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy took a step into an abyss only to land on a hidden platform he hadn’t seen. This platform led him to the Holy Grail. In Lost, Hurley and Charlie rode a VW van down a steep hill towards a boulder and were only able to turn the ignition on in the final seconds. And in every movie ever where someone or something is trying to fly for the first time (Dumbo, The Boy Who Could Fly, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang [a movie I’ve never seen, but looked it up and sure enough…]) instead of taking off from the ground, they must always leap off a cliff from which failure is not an option.)

My brother used to say, “if you have something to fall back on, you will.” Once you take the leap of faith, there’s no going back—only forward. So if you’re looking to get that dream job, first leave your old one. If you want to find true love, stop seeing your friend with benefits. Or, if you want to completely change your life, go on a walkabout in the middle of nowhere. It always works in the movies! And since our world works by the same rules, it will work here as well.

RULE #2: TO ACHIEVE ANYTHING OF MERIT, YOU MUST STEP OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE. Seems kind of obvious. And it’s something that most of us already know. But then how come so few of us actually do it? Well, because it’s uncomfortable! In order to grow, you must do what makes you uncomfortable. The more uncomfortable, the more the growth. Becoming a true adult requires stepping outside the protective barrier of your parents, and even going beyond their expectations of you. The younger you are when you do this, the more growth. This is why most superheroes and Disney protagonists are orphaned at a young age—it forces the most growth.

So, if you have something that you want in life, be proactive. As they say, “act in spite of fear,” because action cures fear and then there’ll be one less thing you’re afraid of. So challenge yourself, because if you don’t, but continue to put energy into your desires, life will do the challenging for you. And its challenges are usually worse since you didn’t set them in motion yourself. Had Luke not objected to leaving with Obi Wahn initially, his aunt and uncle wouldn’t have needed to die. The crook who killed Peter Parker’s uncle wouldn’t have been able to do so had Peter stopped him when he’d originally had the chance. And if Woody had gone right to the police…

RULE #3: ENERGY FLOWS WHERE THE MIND GOES. As Einstein’s famous formula proved, energy and matter are interchangeable when multiplied by the speed of light squared. So if your thoughts and the emotions you connect them to are energy, theoretically they should be able to manifest mass along with a projected doubling of light. I’d say the light is the appearance of the holographic item in this illusionary world and its duplicate in the spiritual world above where it’s projected from. But without getting too metaphysical, let’s just imagine that your thoughts have a certain energy. The higher the frequency and repetition of a thought, and the more powerful the emotion it’s attached to, the more energy it has. And the more energy it has, the more likely it is to manifest in your life.

Want to know what you think about the most? Look at what’s all around you. Do you think about money or lack of money, love or lack of love, having time or no time, being healthy or sick, anger or happiness, gratefulness or longing? It’s funny, all of this pseudo science is hidden in our various religions. But it’s not for God’s benefit that we need to feel grateful and to pray—it’s for ours! The leprechaun/genie-esque trick to all this is that you have to be careful what you wish for! Be specific. Focus on what you want, instead of what you don’t want. Energy doesn’t know the difference. It just gives you what you give energy to. So whatever you want, focus on having it—like you already have it. Fake it until you make it. Be the change you want to see. Because what you resist, persists. There’s wisdom in all these sayings.

And of course, the wisdom shows up in our stories too. In Rudy, a small, average athlete obsesses about playing football for Notre Dame, and does (and it’s based on a true story)! In The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya spends his life repeating what he’ll say the day he meets the six-fingered man who killed his dad, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Not surprisingly, he meets him. Unfortunately, he didn’t put much energy into planning what happens after that. And in A Christmas Story, young Ralphie dreams of owning an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, despite everyone else insisting that he’ll shoot his eye out—which he almost does when he finally gets one! Why? They planted their negative thoughts into him!

RULE #4: ALL OBSTACLES ARE PLACED IN YOUR WAY TO CALL OUT YOUR INNER STRENGTH. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. No pain, no gain. From rejection comes direction. Pain pushes you until the vision pulls you. There are hundreds of proverbs and quotes about this simple truth. And yet, when something goes wrong, most of us still freak out. Whenever you are getting challenges in your life, the reason is because you are not yet strong enough to take on the life you have envisioned. The bigger your dream, the more obstacles you must overcome. The more proactive you are with them (see rule #2), the less likely they will need to come at you unexpectedly.

This rule is pretty much featured in every story ever. Without the terminator on her trail, Sarah Connor never would’ve become the person who raised the leader of a rebellion. Had he never been kidnapped and suffered a severe chest injury, Tony Stark never would’ve created the suit that would transform him into Iron Man. And of course, without Goliath, David would’ve just been a shepherd boy.

What are the 10 Rules of Life that are embedded into our reality that must be successfully navigated in order to reach our highest potential? Click the link below to read about the remaining six!

Author's Bio: 

Marc Oromaner is a spiritual author and speaker who teaches how we can discover our destiny using clues found in the media and in our lives. His book, "The Myth of Lost" (www.themythoflost.com) deciphers the hidden wisdom of the hit TV show and explains how we can use this wisdom to overcome our own challenges.

Marc's twenty years of experience working in advertising and promotion has given him a unique insight into what makes products--and people--tick. He graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Television & Radio and went on to complete a two-year advertising copywriter program at The Creative Circus in Atlanta. Working in on-air promotions at Lifetime Television and CBS News, and then in advertising with clients such as NASA, The New York Botanical Garden, and Affinia Hotels, Marc developed a talent for uncovering the soul of a brand. This skill was sharpened after he began studying at The Kabbalah Centre in New York and exploring many other spiritual philosophies including The Law of Attraction.

Today, Marc lives in New York City where he combines his background in advertising and spirituality to help people and brands find their path in an increasingly convoluted world. His blog, "The Layman's Answers To Everything" (http://thelaymansanswerstoeverything.com/) points out the patterns that run through all great stories including our own. These patterns are clues which are meant to guide us towards a life full of love, light, and fulfillment.