Life lesson from the ending of “Inception”

One of the most controversial movies ending that I’ve seen is Inception. In 2015, Christopher Nolan gave a wonderful and meaningful answer in the commencement ceremony at Princeton University.

Christopher Nolan

The movie is about people who can intervene in others’ dreams. The conflict of the story is naturally between real and dreaming? According to Nolan, the concept of reality in the film – and real life – as entirely subjective. So Cobb doesn’t wait to see if the spinning top drops because he no longer cares to distinguish between a possible harsh reality and a potentially wonderful dream.


Philosopher Rene Descartes used to say: “There are never any sure signs by means of which being awake can be distinguished from asleep”. Apply to Inception, perhaps, all levels of reality are valid, and the ending of the movie is Cobb’s subjective reality.

In his speech, Nolan advised graduates to “chase your reality”, because reality matters. In his viewing, over the time, people start to view reality as the poor cousin to their dreams. “our dreams, our virtual realities, these abstractions that we enjoy and surround ourselves with – they are subsets of reality”.

What Nolan means is we have to face the harsh reality. Most of our time is being miserable and suffering. Balancing between reality and dream is hard because most of the time, things won’t be as we expected and people run back to their fancy dream (like Mal did). Most of the time, the only thing left is our broken dream. So to cope with the reality, my opinion (not Nolan) is to dream bigger and make it as the target to try your best to reach in the reality. I took this idea from Matthew McConaughey’s Oscar acceptance speech. He shared with people about his hero: him in 10 years. It’s the unreachable goal but it’s goal to keep him on chasing, to keep trying to better every day. Or as Stanley Kramer said once: “I just want to be better, I just want to be better!”

You can watchMatthew McConaughey’s Oscar acceptance speech here:

I’m not studying at West Point Academy but one guy studied there has shared with me the way WP educate students. Every day he had to make a to-do-list which show what can help him to be better than yesterday. We are all equal because we all have 24 hours per day and the way we spend it today will define who we are tomorrow. And it’s not easy, it requires hard work, sometimes even failures, pains, blood-shed. People constantly quit or back off when facing reality, but the one who stays and fights is the winner. Imagine like an RPG game, constantly playing will make your character gets more EXP and level up faster, which make it easier when facing monsters and bosses ( the metaphor for obstacles in life).


Life is full of moments that are good – winning a lottery, seeing a beautiful woman, a great dinner – but the whole thing is tragic (Woody Allen, 2015). So, stop dreaming, keep a little pessimistic view, keep trying your best every day, and may the best comes to you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: