5 Things Inception Taught Me About Self-Improvement (And No, I’m Not Dreaming)

I’m not a movie hyper. I don’t rush to the movie theater at the first trailer, shaking my head in an uncontrollable enthusiastic crisis. On the contrary. I saw Titanic 3 years after it was launched. Matrix, 2 years after (please forgive me for that, I still took the redpill). Even Fight Club came to my DVD collection pretty late. (There is one exception though: Kung-Fu Panda. That one was pretty hot when I saw it.)

Anyway, you got the idea. Well, knowing that, I was seriously taken by surprise by my own drive to go to see Inception. I really don’t know why I felt this urge. I don’t even remember in what context I first heard about it. I just know I did and from that moment I really, really wanted to see it. Now, after I saw it, I suspect that this movie was in fact launched a few years ago. Somebody came into my dream, planted a seed, and that seed grew into an uncontrollable desire to go see the movie… An inception to make me see Inception…

I’m joking, of course. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if, in a few years from now, the marketing campaigns will start in our dreams first.

Anyway, fact is I really liked Inception. Not only I liked it, but, following my uncontrollable passion for self-improvement, I also isolated 5 things the movie taught me. As always, these things are just my own interpretation of the events, and may not be taken as a review of the movie. If we’re talking only about the artistic impression, suffice to say that I liked it. Now, let’s see what can we learn from it too.

1. Reality Is When You Say It Is

In the dream snatchers arsenal, one very important weapon is the “totem”. An artifact which behaves in a certain way, and it can only be witnessed by its owner. It’s your connection to reality and as such, it cannot be infected with other people (or projections) presence. It’s your own proof that you’re not dreaming anymore. Cobb’s totem is a spinning top. Every time he spins that top and the top behaves as expected, he knows he’s out of the dream. Back to reality, here comes gravity.

That made me think. Not the reality checking process in itself, which is pretty straightforward: you do something expecting a certain result and if it checks, voila, you’re in reality. But the mere fact of choosing that reality hook. I mean, you could be in a dream too when you pick that totem. It will still obey the rules of that specific dream-based reality. Every time it will check, it will of course enforce a reality, but that reality could be in fact, just a dream.

Reality is when you say it is. The moment you agree that a spinning top should go round and round until it stops, instead of breaking up into pieces, for instance, you sign a contract with that kind of reality. You anchor yourself in a certain time space continuum. That point will become the gravitational center of your entire world. And that’s because YOU made that decision.

Your world is built by you. You’re making the rules. If there are parts in your life which aren’t in sync with what you want, you have the power to make them disappear. Spin your top and see if it checks.

2. Time Is Irrelevant

For a dream snatcher, time is behaving differently. Time in a dream will flow slower than in reality. Time in a dream within a dream will be an order of magnitude slower. And a dream within a dream within a dream could make you spend there dozens of years. And for the dream character, that time would not be subjective, it will actually make that character older. It will have real effects.

Whenever you’re immersing yourself in something you really enjoy, like a dream you love dreaming, time will expand. Our perception is that it is slow down, somehow. Even more, every time we’re doing something we really enjoy, time will actually seem to stop. I’m sure you know the feeling: “oh my, god, I’ve been doing this for 5 hours? This couldn’t be!”… You will be in fact out of time in our normal, sequential perception.

We’re used to think that time “flows” in sequences of seconds, hours, days, weeks. But the deeper you immerse in life this perception of times weakens, and a new one, quantum based will take place. Time will manifests itself in bursts. A day can last a week. An hour can last a month. And a second can last a lifetime.  In a way, time seems to be our measurement unit for things we don’t enjoy. Because when we really like something, time will disappear. The more we love doing something, the less time we’re “consuming”.

Passion is the time killer. Passionately living makes you immortal, in the sense that time will become irrelevant. In other people’s realities you may be there for an hour, but within your passionate dream, you will be there forever.

3. You Live In A Web Of Relationships

Allegedly, a dream snatcher could sneak in, plant a seed into your mind while you’re dreaming, and that seed could expand into an idea. An idea that could change lives, build empires and reboot the world. That idea will feel like it’s emerging from your own consciousness. You will treat it like it was your idea. In a way, a dream snatcher could manipulate your consciousness through your dreams.

We’re not alone. We’re not individual entities, like we think we are. We’re interlinked in a web of relationships. We’re part of something way bigger than ourselves. We’re in a continuous interaction. And this interaction can lead to incredibly huge transformations. Every information you access is in fact a seed that could become an idea. All you have to do is to believe in it, like it was yours.

This has an incredibly impact on your life. Now, that you know that every interaction has the possibility to change your life, you will be much more careful. Or at least I hope you will. Every contact you made has the power to influence your dream. Every seed you plant into your brain can become reality, regardless of who let that seed there. Pick your peers wisely.

You can influence other people and other people can influence you. The smallest piece of information, like this blog post, could change your life. I may have planted a seed into your mind right this second. 😉

4. What We See Is What We Project

If you enter somebody else’s dream, you will notice a lot of persons there. Those persons are not individuals, they are merely projections of that person subconscious. They have human shapes but they are in fact just projections of that persons fears, frustrations, ambitions or repressed feelings. Everything you have in your subconscious will take shape in a dream.

And the ugliest part is those shapes can have a life of their own. Everything which is not processed, dealt with, acknowledged, learned, will stay in your subconscious mind until you will confront it. To an extent, that would make sense: you will deal with those situations later. But it’s not that simple. Those projections, those lose ends, those stubs will interfere with your conscious reality. They will mix in. They will obfuscate your vision.

What we usually call reality is made almost entirely by our own projections. There is no such thing as an objective point of view. If two persons are looking at a flower, they will both see different things. Because they are projecting different subconscious messages to that flower. For one person, that flower could take the shape of a long time repressed frustration while the other one could see there just a flower.

We’re creating our reality by mixing in our own unconscious projections. The ultimate honesty is not to accept someone else’s point of view, but to understand that what we see is what we are unconsciously projecting. Other people may not even see what we’re seeing.

5. Kill Your Fears, Free Your Soul

In Inception, one of the main characters lived in somebody else’s mind, namely the main character, Cobb, a dream snatcher. Every time Cobb started to dream, he reactivated the presence of his lost wife in that dream. And, as I already mentioned, his lost wife had a life of its own. She often interfered with the other characters and made things really complicated for everybody in those dreams.

It took a lot of courage and patience for the main character to solve this mental presence. It took a lot of personal power to accept his own guilt and release that presence from his mind. But without this hurtful process, the remains of his own unsolved problems kept him prisoner in an endless power struggle. He couldn’t break free. He couldn’t even imagine his own freedom.

We’re not prisoners of walls, we’re prisoners of our own fears. And that type of captivity is much worse. We can’t even imagine how we could break free. All we know is that we’re facing an obstacle we can’t overcome. We take that obstacle for granted, we accept it, we even think we deserve it. By shame, by guilt or by social pressure. Until we can’t stand it anymore and take the courage to kill our own fears.

Every time you kill one of your fears, something will go away from you too. You will lose something in the process. But that’s the way it should be: the lost part is the part that kept you from flying higher.


Are you still in my dream? 😉

21 thoughts on “5 Things Inception Taught Me About Self-Improvement (And No, I’m Not Dreaming)”

  1. I didn’t see the film yet,
    but your point #3 “You Live In A Web Of Relationships” makes me suggest of metaphore : “connected people are more and more acting as connected neurons in a brain”.
    For example, a post written in a blog can be based on several previous other posts found in various blogs, like a signal transmited by an axon is a combination of multiple inputs received from other neurons (through multiple dendrites).
    Does it make sens ? (may be a seed for a futur post 😉

  2. Dragos, Ive planted a seed into your mind to tell everybody what they should learn after reading your blog.
    im unveiling that ive also planted a seed into chris nolan’s mind to make this Inception movie just because good people like dragos and carl may write such a beautiful notes for others too..

    man u nailed it Dragos 🙂

  3. I was waiting to comment on this one after seeing the movie..u might be thinking thats too late but no..i did watched the movie mths back but again couldn’t get into the core so watched it again 😛

    Human Imagination !! what can we say abt that? It jst has no limits…Ys i am talking abt the movie and also the way u hev projected movie into ure writing… Keep writing Dragos !! 🙂


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  5. Dragos,
    I saw Inception as well and also loved it. But then again, I have this thing about any movie that plays with or distorts time!
    I really love the way you have broken these topics from the movie down. Very insightful into the human mind!

  6. I didn’t see the movie yet but I am very looking forward to it. (Thanks for italicizing the movie quotes – spoiler alert)

    In my reality #1 and #4 are the same thing. I learned to choose to see the reality that is most beneficial to me. I see a conflict with my spouse not as a sign that either one of us is wrong. Rather it is a sign that I didn’t listen to her needs and did not express myself appropriate.

    When I procrastinated for the last 3 days I don’t see this as an alarming sign that I am a terrible worker. I understand that I might have needed this rest and reevaluate my todo list.

  7. I thank you for sharing these personal lessons from Inception. After seeing all of the positive reviews, I decided to see it and did not like it too much in spite of being a fan of all of the actors. Now, at least, I can take a little bit away from it.

  8. Great stuff Dragos… I have the same habit of viewing everything through a different lens (my favorite is to find profound insights from Seinfeld 🙂 ). All good points esp. #4… what thou see’est thou be’est. Everything in our world is a mirror, we can only see in the world what we see in ourselves.

  9. really thankful for giving such a wonderful insight ..(actually i have tried to wordify the insightful feeling ) .
    the world or reality is not what it appears to be but it is what you want it to be .
    trying to being immersed in this dream or reality ..

    m just a newbee to this blog world , would appreciate if someone can guide as to how to be a good blogger and blog appreciater .

  10. This is awesome!! I love what you’ve done here. I found this movie so overwhelmingly profound and I couldn’t put it into words. You did a great job with it. I especially like this: What we usually call reality is made almost entirely by our own projections. This is such a hard lesson to learn but it’s so true. Once you realize that there is no “right” or “wrong”, there is only perception, the world opens up. It can be scary at first but, ultimately, it’s freeing.

    I’m SO impressed with this post…I’m gushing!!

  11. Gosh! Like you, I don’t rush off to see new movies. I saw Inception advertised and thought that I’d see it later on. However if it’s so deep that it taught you so well and made you think of this insightful post, I’d better get out there and see that flick straight away.

  12. I felt the same when I first heard about the movie – I just had to see it. I think another lesson learned is how powerful a tiny, tiny idea is and how it can grow and take hold. A great reminder to be vigilant on what (and who) we let into our mind.

    • Exactly, that would be lesson #3 for me. We’re all interconnected on so many levels. A tiny piece of information, passed at the right time, in the right context, can do miracles. Or create disasters…

  13. Wow, a suitably mind-blowing post for a mind-bending movie.

    I saw Inception twice, yet missed a whole lot of the context you gave it. Your brain is working on another level 🙂

    But… er, yeah, you nailed it. Very interesting and intriguing points – in fact my mind is as shell-shocked as when I walked out of the theatre for the first time!

    I also wrote a post about Inception, but I took the idea of using powerful NLP to change our limiting beliefs, and implant more empowering ones. What would happen if we did?

    Well, I did it to stop smoking weed and instead focus on being “in flow”, and since then (amongst other things) I’ve been interviewed by The Washington Post, had my first $1000 month online, and got my 1st corporate training contract signed!

    In short – as you say – reality is what you say it is. As soon as you open to the possibility that more is possible…. it is.

    Cheers dude – great post, very trippy 🙂

    • Glad you liked it, man. One more thing: I started to use some of the tones you recommended. It would be a serious understatement to say they works. It’s much more than that, but I’m just scratching the surface here. So, it’s my turn ti say thank you, I guess 😉

      • Great stuff man!

        I’ve used my link here to my Binaural Beats site, in case any of your readers want to give them a go too.

        “Scratching the surface” is a good description – the effects vary and tend to get deeper and stronger over time. Enjoy the adventure dude!!

  14. Time in a dream will flow slower than in reality. Time in a dream within a dream will be an order of magnitude slower. And a dream within a dream within a dream could make you spend there dozens of years.

    You got it backwards: The time flows faster i norder to spend dozens of years in just a few minutes.

    • Slow and fast are the ends of the same stick, so to speak 😉 The bottom line is that time becomes irrelevant, at some point.


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