I agree with Sir Francis Bacon, who said “there is no fatal necessity in the stars, but that they rather incline than compel.” This is as true for our circumstances and our genetics. Even when we are guided or led, we always have a choice.
Free will is a decision.
We do not have the physical characteristics that enable us to fly – but we made it possible.
That is where free will comes in! If we know WHAT we want to achieve, we scour the world for HOW.
If you don’t like the limitations of the world and your existence, you can choose… to view them differently or to find ways to circumvent them.
Instinctive or innate patterns do influence you but do not control you. It is your job to choose. You continually have to choose, even if it is not always easy.
Things happen to you in life, but you choose to allow how they affect you. The effect they have on you does not “happen” to you. The way events and circumstances influence you is always your choice.
Let me give you an example. On learning of a horrible betrayal by one our colleagues, I vividly remember watching the very different reactions of several staff members.
- One chose to get very angry, threatening bodily harm when she saw that person again.
- Another chose to feel sorry for the betrayer, and her compassion made her break down in tears.
- A third opted to become indignant, even incensed, and went on a “How dare she do that to us” tirade.
- One chose denial, insisting there had to be a mistake or misunderstanding.
- A male colleague elected to ostracize the betrayer, saying she was not worth another thought and swearing he would never talk to her again.
- My own choice was to freeze, trying to wrap my head around the situation and come up with some conceivable rationale for the betrayer’s behavior – to find the reason.
Each person chose a reaction that fit his or her worldview or basic philosophy in life. Over the next few days and weeks, everyone’s choices changed.
As we processed and thought about the situation, every one of us evolved our position. We each decided the influence we would allow the experience to have on our lives and our characters.
Everything you feel or experience is determined from inside you and does not depend on anyone or anything else. Your world forces you to confront things – like betrayal, tragedy and generosity – but the MEANING you draw from that confrontation is entirely up to you.
You can choose to draw on your experience or try something new. Even if you try the avoidance strategy and do as little as possible, it is always a choice.
Viktor Frankl pointed out that, because we are human, we will experience pain, we cannot avoid death, and guilt is almost inevitable. WHAT WE CAN DO is choose how we will deal with it.
Choosing the effects takes thought. It takes being aware of yourself on all levels to manage how you allow one aspect of life to invade the others. Your freedom of will depends on your making these decisions.
- You are ultimately responsible to yourself, for your own survival and state of being. In the choices you make, you ultimately account to yourself. The core of your decision-making comes down to your conscience.
- You will never know everything for sure. You will always face uncertainty, but have to choose anyway, because even refusing to choose is a choice.
- Suffering is honest only when you face it in unchangeable circumstances, otherwise choosing suffering is unhelpful.
The future is not fixed.
You can tip its progress this way or that. Your imagination, and capacity to grasp potential, give you the opportunity to foresee.
It is up to you to engage your will and act to change your future!