There’s a difference between having free-will and being in love with your options.
Free-will is the capacity to do otherwise. It means you possess the ability to choose between alternatives.
You may not have a large number of possibilities to select from, but it is always conceivable that you could be doing something different from what you are doing at any given moment.
Being in love with your options means you feel good about the opportunities in front of you.
Place a plate of broccoli and a bowl of carrots in front of a child who requests a snack.
The child has at least three possibilities: 1) Eat the broccoli 2) Eat the carrots 3) Eat neither.
If the child was hoping for candy or McDonald’s, she’s very likely to feel disappointed.
However, the child STILL has free-will. The child STILL has a range of possibilities to choose from. She’s just not excited by any of her options.
Whatever the child’s experience turns out to be, that experience will be the outcome of what she creates through her power of choice.
An element of freedom is always present.
The context within which decisions are made may be predetermined, but how those preexisting conditions are navigated is entirely a matter of free-will.
In most cases (if not in every case) when we say “I don’t have a choice”, the real message behind those words is:
“I have options, but I don’t like them. And even though I am not particularly excited about the choice I am voluntarily making, I would rather choose this than any of the alternatives I know.”
Essentially, when we speak this way, we’re using the language of powerlessness (“I don’t have a choice) to express the experience of dissatisfaction (“I don’t like my options”).
Semantics aside, there is a significant advantage to viewing our lives as the product of choice rather than seeing our daily decisions as a bunch of activities we’re being forced to do.
A person who works at an undesirable job because they “have to” lives in a very different universe than someone who works at an undesirable job because they choose to.
The first person hates his job AND feels like a victim.
The second person hates he job, BUT feels like a creator.
Which of those two people are more likely to conduct their hateful energy along constructive lines?
Whether you love your options or not, when you see yourself as a creature of choice, then you have the option of making choices that will help you create more desirable options.
When you don’t see yourself as having a choice, then your only option is to hope that someone else comes along and fulfills your dreams for you.
The conflation of not having a choice with hating one’s possibilities is the source of most forms of disempowerment.
Take a look at your life and tell me how you got there?
Were you forced into the position you are now in or is your life the result of the choices you’ve made?
Before you answer that questions, here’s a gentle warning:
If you don’t use the concept of “choice” to explain your present, you lose the power of choice to create your future.
You don’t have to feel good about your current set of options, but getting charged-up about your power to choose is the only option that offers you a way out.
That’s today’s two cents.