What Drives You?

What Drives You?

In a chaotic society where there is barely enough time to accomplish anything, what do you prioritize?

In a society that is quite often fueled by selfish motives and desires, it is sometimes hard to tell where our priorities should lie. Everyone has their own agenda, and this is pushed on to us to the point that we frequently forget the morals and values that once determined our actions.

However, we can not continue let others deem what should and should not be important in our lives. It’s time for us to realign the priorities that are most essential to our being, and live in a way that others could easily pick out what drives our existence. Below I have listed twelve common aspects of life that people struggle prioritizing, and challenge you to evaluate each one and decide how important it is to you.

1. Academics.

How much do you value your academic success? Are your grades important to you? Do you correlate doing well in school with prosperity in life?

2. Relationships.

How much time and energy do you feel is necessary to put into your significant other? Do you feel the need to put their happiness over yourself's?

3. Friendships.

Is making time for your friends essential for you? How does keeping them close impact your life?

4. Family.

Do you have a good relationship with your family? Do you make decisions based on whether or not your parents would approve of them?

5. Extracurriculars.

Although they are considered to be "side activities," how essential are these pursuits in making you happy? Are you doing these just to build your resume or do you genuinely enjoy them?

6. Getting ahead in your career.

What motivates you to do well in your profession? Are you driven to succeed by the wealth, prestige, or satisfaction in excelling?

7. Mental Health.

DISCLAIMER: Mental health should be extraordinarily important to everyone. How do you expect to live a life that you love if you are not in a mental state that allows you to do so?

8. Physical Health.

How important is your body image to you? Does the majority of your self esteem derive from being physically fit and living a healthy lifestyle?

9. Philanthropy.

Do you feel as if you do enough to help those less fortunate than you? How much satisfaction do you gain from volunteering and giving back to your community?

10. Faith.

How important is your religion in determining your actions? How do these beliefs motivate you to become the person that you aspire to be?

After analyzing your answers to these questions, it should become clear which components are most important to you and add the most value to your life. These are the components that you need to focus your time and energy in to. When things that are not as important begin to take priority over these, you will inevitably lose the satisfaction you once had in your life.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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Conspiracy Theory: Rian Johnson Has Never Seen 'Star Wars' In His Life

We should have seen it sooner.

With The Last Jedi on DVD and the film's deleted scenes now circling the internet, more and more fans find themselves asking: Has Rian Johnson ever actually watched a real live Star Wars film?

Between the months of articles in which Rian assures us that his movie really did make sense and that those major plot points he thought were too unimportant to include really didn't have a place in his movie, between the recent DVD extras that introduce even more problems to the movie and the messy film itself, I'm starting to think the answer is "No."

No, Rian Johnson has 100% never seen a Star Wars movie. At most, he had the entire plot explained to him by a drunk dudebro or bad fanfiction that thinks Kylo Ren is the best new character even though Finn is right there.

But how did Rian Johnson make an entire sequel for a franchise he doesn't know? To be honest, it looks like he just made up his own story and stuck the Star Wars label on it. The evidence:

1. The mismatched characterization

This is evident in just about every character in the movie. It's difficult to imagine that the angry, Resistance-loyal Rey introduced in The Force Awakens would ever turn from screaming down Kylo for killing his father to believing he can be redeemed in the span of a ten minute vision sequence about the mystery of her parents (a character motivation that was never a part of Rey's original character, but more on that later).

The idea that the same Luke Skywalker who saw the light in his genocidal father wouldn't even consider going back to help Leia or would even have the impulse to murder his nephew after feeling darkness in him is ludicrous (and, no, the fact that we're thirty years down the line doesn't explain this behavior away if the movie isn't going to tell us why Luke changed so drastically. Every traumatic event in Luke's life referenced in this movie occurred after Luke apparently tried to kill his family).

The most recent slip in characterization under scrutiny, though, is Poe's, since the little characterization he had in The Force Awakens (and in the canon comics) was the exact opposite of the rude, hot-headed man we saw in The Last Jedi.

In a simple, six-second deleted scene released last week, where Poe returns the jacket he gifted Finn, all patched up and sewn back together, Rian Johnson somehow manages to turn Poe's admiration and love for Finn flippant and arrogant. If Rian even just skipped every Star Wars movie and watched The Force Awakens, the movie he's supposed to be writing a sequel for, he would have known that at least this characterization and Rey's were completely off-base.

Strike one, Rian.

2. "There wasn't enough room for [insert major plot point here]"

I cannot count the number of times Rian Johnson has claimed he didn't include something essential to the previous movies in the final cut of The Last Jedi on one hand. "I wish we could have more Phasma.

Just the truth of it is there wasn't room for her in this movie," he told Business Insider.

In an interview on The Empire Film Podcast, he said, "There literally was just not room for another element [concerning the Knights of Ren]. I guess I could've used them in place of the Praetorian guards, but then it would feel like wasting them because I knew all those guards had to die pretty quickly."

Did they, Rian? You wrote the movie, you could have done just about anything else with them.

Moving on: "Someone like Lando, for example, who I would've loved to have worked with as Billy Dee Williams, would be lovely to get back in there. There just wasn't room for anything like that," Rian told Syfy, despite Admiral Holdo and DJ, two of Rian's original creations, being an admiral serving under Leia after the rebellion and a gambler familiar with the criminal underworld respectively, AKA two major facets easily applicable to Lando's character.

And there's more. Relationships that could and should have been developed, like Rey and Finn's or Poe and Finn's, fell to the wayside. The mysteries that plagued fans like Snoke's backstory or what family Finn was taken from were apparently not worth Rian's time, but we had plenty of time for the entire Resistance B-Plot in which literally nothing but a slow-motion car chase and a pointless almost-heist happens.

If you're going to write a sequel, shouldn't the story you write actually engage with the one that came before it?

That is, unless you have no idea what came before it because you didn't watch the previous movies. We may be on to something here.

3. The plot he actually wrote did not fit into where "The Force Awakens" left it

Tone-wise, humor-wise, and, most importantly, plot-wise, this film is completely distant from its predecessors. Essentially none of the story in this movie actually comes from The Force Awakens.

The Resistance's triumph over the First Order base at the end of TFA apparently meant nothing, because now the Resistance's troops have suddenly dwindled in the few days between TFA and TLJ and they're on the run from a stronger-than-ever First Order.

Finn goes through the exact same character arc as he does in The Force Awakens, forced to learn, once again, to stay and fight rather than run for cover. His entire story in TFA took him from leaving the Resistance behind to save himself to standing up to Kylo Ren and claiming his spot in the Resistance, so why does he immediately revert and backtrack on all that character development from the get-go in TLJ?

Rey's major motivation becomes the question of who her parents are, but the question asked in The Force Awakens was never "Who?" but "Where?" and "When are they coming back?" Rey never thought she was anything more than a scavenger, didn't believe she had a role in this story until she found herself in the middle of it, so why would she care that her parents are "nobody?"

The fact that Rian made this mistake alone points toward his relying on fan reactions to TFA rather than what actually happens in TFA itself. Between his avoidance of major plot points and his apparent misunderstanding of what happened in the last movie, did Rian even see TFA in the first place?

4. He thinks he changed the game with moments that have already been done

As soon as the film premiered, people were praising how "game-changing" it was. My first question upon seeing it was, "In what way does this change anything?"

Was it the way it "proves" the Force doesn't belong to one family as if the Jedi weren't made up of separate Force users like Obi-Wan and Yoda and even Chirrut who are literally forbidden from even having families and come from across the galaxy?

Was it the way the movie apparently "spoke out against misogyny" because Poe "Leia's Number One Supporter" Dameron didn't blindly followed a leader who appeared not to care that she was leading them to their deaths, so he decided to...rebel? AKA reacted just as Luke or Leia or Han would have to exactly the kind of leadership the entire series asks its viewers to question? All while Rey's character was completely altered by actual misogynistic tropes so she could try to "fix" Kylo Ren?

Or was it the way Rian Johnson killed Luke Skywalker through force projection (to spark controversy, I guess? Since there's no plot or character-related reason for him to die in this movie), then defended that decision by pulling out a Star Wars book in which a Jedi projects an entire army without breaking a sweat because this is simply a power the Jedi have and, according to the evidence he brought up, decidedly not enough to kill a Jedi as strong as Luke Skywalker?

Not only does every one of these threads expose Rian as a bad writer, they expose how little he understands the workings of the Star Wars universe. If he's such a big fan of the series, how could he miss all this?

5. It doesn't include any of the past movies' traditions

"I have a bad feeling about this," a line made iconic by its inclusion in every Star Wars film, is nearly completely absent from The Last Jedi. I say "nearly" because Rian Johnson tried to cover it up by claiming that BB-8's beeps actually meant "I have a bad feeling about this" in one scene. Okay, Rian.

Every Star Wars movie also includes someone losing a limb, often a hand or arm, and, once again, The Last Jedi does not follow up on this tradition. Every Star Wars movie brings C3PO and R2-D2 together for at least one scene, just for old times sake, but, of course, The Last Jedi doesn't do this.

Sure, I guess you can say that this is Rian Johnson trying to separate his movie from the past ones, mess with the rules of the franchise, but all it does it make The Last Jedi feel less and less like a Star Wars movie and more like a film Rian wrote and stuck the name Star Wars onto. If none of the characters, plot, or traditions of the past Star Wars movies continue into The Last Jedi, is The Last Jedi really a Star Wars movie? Or, the real question here, did Rian know enough about Star Wars going into this film to know about any of these traditions in the first place?

6. It does nothing to progress the plot of the sequel trilogy

If you think about where we were at the end of The Force Awakens, and then consider where we are now after The Last Jedi, both plot-wise and character-wise, you'll find that nothing much has changed. In The Empire Strikes Back, the Empire's goals, Luke's power and relationship with the Force, Luke's relationship to Darth Vader, and Han and Leia's relationship have all shifted. In TLJ, the tone shifts darker as the plot runs in a circle, as if the deaths and battles might hide the fact that nothing has actually changed in the end. We didn't learn any new information, there no new motivations presented, none of the characters or relationships actually advanced beyond what they were in TFA. Storylines that seemed like they might go somewhere, like Rey training with Luke or Rey and Kylo's Force visions, landed them exactly where they were before: strong in the Force but without real training, and trying to kill each other from opposite sides of the war with only slightly better or worse opinions of each other.

It's honestly kind of incredible, seeing Rian Johnson dodge every single opportunity to make this film actually matter in the grand scheme of the Star Wars universe. But the plot never advanced. And if the plot never advances in a story, at the very least the characters have to, but Rian Johnson does neither. The most that happens is Rey gains a little more control over her powers and Kylo gets unnecessary and unwarranted sympathy. It really feels like Rian just didn't know where to go with the story The Force Awakens left him, so he took his movie full circle to avoid changing anything.

If Rian just comes out and admits he's never seen Star Wars, at least half of The Last Jedi's flaws will be explained. If he continues to claim he's seen Star Wars, though, he's mostly just outing himself as a bad writer.

Either way, The Last Jedi continues to feel like Rian Johnson using Star Wars to tell a completely separate story of his own invention, absorbing and rewriting pre-existing characters to fit into that storyline and discarding characters and storylines that didn't fit into the story he wanted to tell. So, either way, he didn't really make a Star Wars sequel, at least in my mind.

Plus, since it's not like this movie actually had anything to contribute to the Star Wars universe besides a salt planet, we can easily just machete it from future marathons, just like The Phantom Menace!

Cover Image Credit: LucasFilm | YouTube

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6 Hilarious April Fools Pranks That Will Make You Laugh, Even If The Other Person Doesn't

After all, laughing makes you live longer.

Just because April Fools falls on the same day as Easter this year does not mean that it deserves any less recognition as an international holiday. One must still be expected to fulfill their duty as a participant in ruthless, knee-slapping pranks. It is only on this one special day each year that mischevious behavior is truly acceptable, so why not take advantage of it? Out of ideas for a new prank to try this April 1st? Here are a few to help you out!

1. Car pranks

With so many different versions and variations, this one gives you the chance to really express your creative side. Whether it be covering a car in hundreds of cotton balls (just use cold water!), securing the vehicle with Saran wrap or sticking Post-it notes to every inch of its exterior, there's just so many options and ways to have fun with it!

2. Air horn scheme

If its a co-worker, tape it to the bottom of their desk chair. If it's a friend or roommate, tape it against the wall behind the door, like a noisy door stopper. You'll be sure to give them a mini heart attack.

3. Classic Jim Halpert

Take one or more of your co-worker's desk items and solidify it in Jell-O, just as Jim does to Dwight's stapler in a classic episode of The Office.

4. Alternative recipes

Turn a jelly-filled donut into a mayo-filled donut, a cookies n' cream Oreo into a cookies n' toothpaste Oreo or, even worse, disguise onions as a caramel covered apples. Make sure to stay to see the reaction. It'll be priceless, I swear!

5. Fake poop

Nothing freaks people out more than poop. I'm serious. NOTHING. So you really wanna freak out a friend or co-worker? Take the inner cardboard from a toilet paper roll, soak it, and then mold it until it looks just like a fresh piece of poop. Be prepared to apologize for scaring the @#$%! out of your victim.

6. For the extreme pranksters: Invisible driver prank

Ever thought about disguising yourself as a car seat? Talk about serious camouflage skills. This one requires quite a bit of work and you have to be super sneaky about it, but man does it scare the pants off of people! Go ahead and try it out at your local McDonalds drive-thru!

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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