The first rule Fight Club…
Reading for the first time, I was influenced by the book so much I thought “what the hell am I doing with my life.”
Upon repeat watching and reading of Fight Club, I realised it was relatable to pretty much any man – from someone doing low wage, menial, but essential jobs ignored by society, to the succesful man trapped on the career ladder.
I recommend any man to watch the film and read the book. It teaches many things about life, from masculinity to our role in society.
Here are some great lessons that Fight Club can teach you about life:
Utilise life while you can through self-improvement
Through Fight Club Tyler Durden lead a bunch of minimum wage guys with nothing to live for to create self-destruction and anarchy in the society he has grown to loathe.
Although there are a number of attacks on self-improvement throughout, in many ways the men who get involved in Fight Club and Project Mayhem are self-improving, doing something with their life, albeit, by following the vision of nihilism.
The Narrator self-improves by unleashing the part of his mind that he has suppressed.
He no longer lives for coveting possessions, having an apartment to keep up with the Jones’s, and watching TV.
We can learn something from this – to stop consuming and start doing something or creating things instead.
Tyler and the narrator are one, but it is through creating Tyler Durden he is able to unleash his potential
Risks make you feel alive
Throughout Fight Club there is risky behaviour – fighting, vandalism… terrorism. The men who are dead inside from their lives have a reason to live by taking risks.
Although I would not suggesting going to the extremes seen, it always serves as reminder to try and do something out of your comfort zone.
There are always ways to make money
Money is something I struggle to get, but Fight Club shows there are lots ways of making money through hardwork, innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit.
The Narrator works a desk job, Tyler works as a screen projectionist, a waiter and makes his own soap. Although we may not be able to dedicated as much time as an insomniac with a Dissociative identity disorder there must be some time we can spare to make more money?
You are not your job
The Narrator has everything from his job, a nice apartment, possessions, security, yet he is obviously not happy and seems like a lonely guy, going to self-help groups for conditions he doesn’t even have.
When he ***SPOILER ALERT*** creates Tyler Durden his life gets better, he stops giving a shit about his job, stops watching TV and does a lot of interesting stuff.
Previously I have invested a lot of my life to my job, where I got to a similar state the narrator was in. It’s by embracing outside interests I’ve come to realise there is more to life than your day job. When you die they won’t list your fancy sounding job title on your grave stone.
Marla is attracted to Tyler, not the narrator
When the narrator is attending the self-help groups and begins noticing Marla attending he is fascinated with her. He has feelings of anger that she is taking over ‘his’ groups.
He fears approaching her so much, he has to give himself a pep talk to confront her about being a fake. He has a child-like obsession with her and doesn’t quite fully realise his attraction to her.
So how does he get this girl to like him? Along comes Tyler, an alter ego who describes himself best
“I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I’m free in all the ways that you are not.”
By adopting this self-confident, fearless attractive guy, he gets Marla and despite being aloof she keeps coming back.
This is a good perception of having masculine qualities, he is not needy, clingy or pathetic. He is confident, funny and takes the lead. All important attributes for a man who wants to take control of a relationship.
“If you died right now, how would you feel about your life?”
That is the question Tyler asks the narrator in the car, this forces the narrator to admit he would not feel anything good. Tyler acts as an element of the narrators personality that wants people to be their best.
When Tyler points the gun at the convenience store clerk and threatens to kill him in six weeks if he is not on his way to becoming a vet is an extreme approach he takes because he doesn’t want the kid wasting his life.
“Tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of Raymond K. Hessel’s life. His breakfast will taste better than any meal you and I have ever tasted.”
Therefore you should always try to do something, if you die tomorrow then at least you can see something positive in your last breath.
You’re not unique or special
“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We’re all part of the same compost heap. We’re all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”
This particular quote is so powerful it puts everything in perspective and is a hell of an ego check – “You are not special.”
A lot of people have a sense of self-entitlement that they were put on this Earth to do something special, in reality most of us won’t do anything particularly new or unique to further the cause of mankind.
This isn’t actually a bad thing, as you don’t have to live up to an imaginary expectation. If you make a fool of yourself or fail, really no one will particularly care.
Hence live life, make mistakes, love, travel, take risks, don’t live in regret. We are not special snowflakes, we are free.
These are the life lessons of Fight Club, enjoy life, take risks, be confident and don’t base your identity around your desk job…