Sliding Doors (1998)

Sliding DoorsTwo universes unfold in Sliding Doors, a romantic fantasy about alternate possibilities. Londoner Gwyneth Paltrow is shown in two scenarios, each propelled by the same incident. In the first scenario, she squeezes through the subway train’s doors on time and catches her boyfriend fooling around. In the second version, she’s stuck on the train and returns to her flat, none the wiser.
Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, John Hannah, More

Director: Peter Howitt

If you haven’t seen Sliding Doors, the blurb above and gives you a good idea of what to expect.  For the seeker movie lover, this film is a chance for a voyeuristic ride through the answers to a classic question that almost everyone has asked themselves at some point in their life.  The question, What if? That question can take on two very distinct forms depending on who you are and how you look at the world. First, here is the difference between the two forms.

The difference between two forms of the “What if” question.

Version 1: is about the random event.
Version 2: is about the response to the event.

Here are the two forms:

Form 1: What if, ______________________? How would my life and be different? (fill in the blank with some random thing out of your control.) Example: What if, I hadn’t met ______, and gotten married?
Form 2: What if, I had ________________ How would my life and be different? (fill in the blank with a choice and action different than the one that you took) Example: What if, I had ended this relationship after discovering my partner was having an affair?

Interestingly enough the difference between these two versions is the same as the difference between opinions on either side of an age-old philosophical debate.

Do we live in a universe ruled by determinism? Or do we live in a universe ruled by free will?

No matter which side of that debate you are on, you are right, and your experience will prove it! There is another option however that you can choose to believe if you want to. And the only reason that one should choose to believe what I’m about to share is that it gives them more power in the creation of their own life.

Got power?


The following belief can give you more!

I live in a universe that is both of free will and determinism simultaneously! I believe it is how I respond to what happens to me, instead of what happens to me, that creates my life. I am self determined.

Examples of other kinds of determinism would be; genetic determinism, economic determinism, psychic determinism, social determinism etc.

It is a very powerful and proactive decision to choose to believe that no matter what cards are dealt to you in your life it is what you do in the gap between stimulus, and response, that creates your life. The stimulus is the random event and the response is the action you take following the stimulus. No matter who you are, or how bad things might seem to us, there is a gap between stimulus and response. It is a conscious choice to widen that gap and allow yourself to see more possibilities in every decision you make. In that gap is where the active choosing occurs. It is the domain of the proactive mind.

The principles that guide the proactive person are:

  • Responsibility
  • Initiative

What’s in it for us?

Sliding doors is terrific film and an incredible opportunity to witness what I have just described. I recommend that you watch it again and look for the difference between the two different scenarios that are given to you. Try to identify the moments that Gwyneth Paltrow’s character is taking responsibility and showing initiative toward changing the conditions of her life, rather than just taking her lumps and playing the victim to a series of events completely out of her control.

Remember you are what you watch.