The Roles We Play

We play each of these roles, sometimes daily, but we’re all the hero of our own story.

When I was in college, I took a class called the Politics of Hollywood. One of the insights the professor taught us is that movies reflect the collective self-conscious of the audience.

When classic Westerns were popular, the audience saw society as generally good. The villain would come to town to commit a murder or robbery. Tensions build until finally the hero must take on the villain in a final showdown that saves the town. (Shane, Rio Bravo)

But in modern Westerns the town has been taken over by the villain and the good guy is the outsider. There is still a showdown, but the hero must take the town back from the villain. If our professor’s thesis is correct, then today’s audience still sees itself as the hero but has a more negative feeling toward society. (Unforgiven, Open Range)

The main character profiles in stories reflect the roles we play in real life. There is the Hero, the Villain, the Victim, and the Guide. Sometimes we play all four roles in one day.

The Hero and The Villain

The hero usually has a challenging past. Batman, Superman, Spiderman are all orphans. The list doesn’t stop there. Usually, this past shapes how they view the world. They’re talented, courageous, and selfless. In end, they rise to the occasion and defeats the villain.

The villain usually has a similar past as the hero. The difference is how they respond to the challenges. They’re resentful of the struggles. They want everyone else to face the same pain as they do. They’re every bit as talented as the hero, but they use it to attempt a takeover of some kind. (The Joker, Darth Vader)

The Victim

The victim exists to make the hero look good and the villain look bad. Other than that they blend into the background. They don’t have any control of their fate. They’re helpless. They don’t change or get rewarded.

Everyone faces financial challenges. It’s how a person chooses to respond to them that determines if they would be considered a hero, villain, or victim.

The Guide

The Guide was the Hero. But now they’re older and are imparting wisdom on the new hero. They’re job is to prepare the hero for their time to shine. They usually show unwavering confidence. They ask a lot of the hero but knows he’s the one for the job. The Guide is the most satisfying character to play but you must experience the other characters first. (Dumbledore, Yoda, Morpheus)

Advisors may sometimes see themselves as the hero’s and view their clients as victims that need saving.

Ours clients are the heroes of their own financial stories. We are here to serve as a guide. It’s a more fruitful and valuable relationship when people are empowered in their own financial decisions.

My partner, Holly, has been taking this approach for a long time. She recently told her hero origin story. Through not fault of her own, she had to begin supporting herself when she was in college. You can read her story here: Lessons from My Dad’s Entrepreneurial Journey.

Andrew Eppes, CFP®, RICP®

Andrew Eppes is a registered representative of and offers securities and investment advisory services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. Nexus Advisors, LLC is not a subsidiary or affiliate of MML Investors Services, LLC, or its affiliated companies. 14241 Dallas Parkway Suite 1200 Dallas, TX 75254 972-348-6300. The views and opinions expressed are those of Andrew Eppes only. They are not necessarily those of MML Investors Services, LLC. CRN000000-5940401.

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