That’s a question we explore in my group coaching program designed to help people get unstuck and create their ideal lives, and it makes for a colorful and insightful conversation.
Every good movie has an antagonist—the force that creates the biggest obstacle to the main character’s ability to move forward. The antagonist could be a villian, like Darth Vader in Star Wars, Lux Luthor in Superman, the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, and the Green Goblin in Spiderman. In real life it could be an unsupportive spouse, difficult boss, or critical parent.
In other films, it isn’t a person, but a situation that keeps them stuck, such as a stammer in The King’s Speech, mental illness in A Beautiful Mind, conventional life in Eat, Pray, Love, and a time trap in Groundhog Day. For my clients it could be a job rut, lack of clarity, relationship pattern, or the economy.
These films are entertaining because we get to see how the main character will face their antagonists, overcome the obstacles they present, and make it to the end of the movie having resolved whatever conflict they faced at the beginning. In fact if they didn’t stand up to their antagonist, there’d be no story—no transformation. Overcoming the antagonist IS the story. Because what is revealed in every good story is the idea that the antagonist is the main character’s greatest teacher.
Our antagonists tend to show up when we’re ready to learn a new life lesson. The trick is in figuring out what that lesson is, so we can learn it. If we don’t, we’ll either stay stuck or wind up repeating it.
So…how would you describe your antagonist? Are you ready to accept the challenge?