What’s Your Secret Life?

A Reel Leadership Article

The movie, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty really got me thinking. My wife and I decided to make it a date night Tuesday and check out a movie at the cheap theater.

We had the choice of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire or The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. Having seen Catching Fire (and it’s a fantastic movie if you’re wondering) and knowing Pam wouldn’t watch it, we decided on The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty.

Where do you want to go?

Image by Guy Sie

Walter Mitty has a simplistic storyline. One, I believe, most of us can relate to.

IMDB begins to describe the movie as the story of a day-dreamer who escapes his anonymous life by disappearing into a world of fantasies filled with heroism, romance and action.

Throughout the beginning of the movie, you see Walter daydreaming during random events in his life. Whether it’s the time the reorganization expert tells Walter he can’t have his Stretch Arm Strong toy with him (which causes Walter to imagine an epic elevator fight scene) or the time he’s talking to his love interest only to find himself daydreaming he created a sculpture to impress her.

There’s a problem with this however. He’s all dreams and no action. He lives a mundane life while wanting to escape.

Does this sound like you? It sounds like me on most days.

I find myself longing for action. I find myself longing for adventure. I find myself longing for purpose.

Only to sit back, take what life throws at me, and continue the daily drudgery.

Sure, I may have spurts of adventure. There’s been an ice climbing trip (and another coming up at the end of February). There’s been snowmobiling. There’s even been an attempt to hike part of the Appalachian Trail.

Ice climbing in Michigan

Yes, that’s me about 50 feet off the ground

Yet they’re sporadic. They’re fleeting. And they leave me with the desire for more.

I’m sure you have a secret life as well. One that tries to pull you to some far-flung, wild and crazy adventure that seems improbable and irresponsible.

There’s a point in the movie where Walter decides enough is enough. He’s going to find the thing he believes is missing.

This means he’s got to track down a famous photographer to see if he has the photograph that will grace the last issue of Life magazine.

He hops a plane to Greenland. Shoots over to Iceland. Jumps out of a helicopter. Faces down a volcano.

His life becomes an adventure worthy of a story.

I’m stirred right now. Something is brewing within me.

I don’t want a normal life. I don’t want to sit back and let life pass me by. I don’t want to wonder what may have been or what could be.

I want to live life. I want to experience what life has to offer.

I want my secret life to become my regular life.

I know I’m not going to get it right. I’m going to go back to letting the adventure be part of my secret life. Yet I know if I’m intentional I can live more of my secret life than most others will.

What about you? Are you dreaming about a secret life? Do you have some far flung fantasy you think could never happen?

Stop thinking this way. Instead, look at ways to bring your secret life into your real life.

Question: What’s your secret life? How could you begin to live this life out? Please share in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • One of my secret life is I want to be able to dunk while playing basketball. It is something I dreamt about when I was in high school but it was never realized.

    And here I am, stopped playing basketball and not working out for about six months.

    Thanks for rekindling that memory of my secret life, Joe. It made me realize that I have to start working towards that particular secret life…and the others too.

    • Glad to be the spark that help rekindle your secret life and dream. Get working on the dunk again. Work those legs so you can have the strength to jump higher!

  • I love stuff like this Joe! Quite simply I love dreaming and I love GRAND adventure. However, action is key.

    I’ve been reading ‘The Screwtape Letters’ recently and there’s a part where Screwtape is encouraging Wormwood to keep The Patient busy with talking about it and writing about it; anything other than actually doing it.

    What a vivid picture! Action is the catalyst!

    Let’s go move mountains brother!

  • You guys would LOVE the following from YouTube:


  • My secret life is being adventurous- if I want to do something and I can’t, I find a way to do it whether it’s someone going along with me or someone at the place helping me. I went Whitewater Rafting and Zip-Lining- something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Employees at both places were very helpful- life is to short not to do what you want to do and enjoy it!

    • Those are a couple of epic adventures you did Allen. What other adventures would you like to do?

      • Allen Pearson

        The first thing to come to mind is “primitive camping”- out in the Shenandoah Valley- no modern conveniences for a few days. Could have books or whatever but no tablets, phones, electricity, and so on. I’ve gotten close with a cabin w/running water and electricity- closest my wife will do.

  • Awesome post. My secret life is to travel around the country watching college (football & basketball) and pro (football, basketball & baseball) games. And there are five places I want to visit for an extended time (Paris, South Africa, Australia, Brazil & Hawaii)

  • Pioneer Outfitters

    My secret life, Joe? LOL, today, I must admit I feel as if I am living it- here with all of you online. My real-in-the-flesh-right-now-no-“TAKE 2!”? It is me, all alone. With children that seem to need more than I, a bunch of humanoids that I present to MY world as a Team who love (okok, a little bit of fear never hurt anyone) and support me and who see how determined, loyal and committed I am to our purpose. Hmm… is this what you meant or maybe I should have just not come online today? LOL, no worry ~ I’m still writing.

    • No, that’s good Amber. And from what I’ve read on your blog, you’re living a pretty epic life.

  • I’m living it brother and on Tuesday things will go to the next level!

    • Oh yeah! Don’t worry, as you bring your secret life into existence, you’ll find it only gets more exciting from here on out!

  • Jason Spencer

    I want to be a internet superstar and make a movie.

    • You could be those things one day Jason. What’s holding you back?

      • Jason Spencer

        I would say my back (I’m currently off work with a bad back) but I been able to use the time I have had to pursue those dreams. Before that I would have to say EDL( Every Day Life). It’s hard when have a family to pursue your own dreams when you have to support a family. Not that it can’t be done. Both me and my wife got degrees while working. It just takes longer. i just keep going forward. I will get there as long as I trying.

  • I used to be the biggest daydreamer.

    Funny, I find the more action I take the less I daydream. And I can focus and get some work done.

    Awesome ice climbing trip. I am planning a fun adventure pretty soon myself.

    • That’s because the daydreams finally become reality. You don’t have to daydream as much.

      What adventure are you planning? Would love to hear what you experienced!

      • It is going to involving biking…how far I don’t know. Maybe I’ll be crazy enough to go cross country. I’ll be happy to share.

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