A Life of Your Choosing

“Yes! to this thought I hold with firm persistence;
The last result of wisdom stamps it true;
He only earns his freedom and existence
Who daily conquers them anew.”

~ The character of Faust, in Faust,
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832),
German poet, dramatist, novelist, and scientist.

 

Too many of us live lives which we do not want, but we feel helpless to change. For some, their hopes and passions have almost expired entangled in the thorns of drudgery or unwanted situations. Others spend their days in the stupor of a thankless job in which they have no interest except a paycheck. Still other persons live in enslavement to the debt which our materialistic culture encourages. If we asked any of these persons, “Is this the life you want?”, most would emphatically reply, “No!”… and then continue on as they were.

I am reminded of a saying by Werner Erhard: “You can have what you want, or you can have the reasons you don’t have what you want.” The list of reasons why persons do not live more fulfilling lives is as innumerable as a plague of locusts. However too often these reasons are simply stories we tell ourselves; stories to which we cling day after day often without questioning.

We cling to these stories, as if we were victims of our life situations. Yet we are not. We are their creators. Whether by decision or indecision, action or inaction, we create our lives. Having what we want or having the reasons why we don’t have what we want – is a choice.

One of the attributes of authentic living is agency. We experience agency when we live as the cause of our life, not the effect. Agency expresses as living as the author of your life, not the reader of a life scripted for you by others or by circumstance. The person who lives from agency is a creator of her life, not a victim of her life situation. Conscious evaluation, choice, and skillful action are the tools whereby she manifests her agency. Of course she cannot control how her life unfolds. Yet she responds to that unfolding as the conscious creator of her life, everyday acting anew on behalf of a life of her choosing.

If we are living lives which we do not want, we are not helpless to change. These situations await our agency.

Are you living the life you would choose? If not, what are the stories you are telling yourself that prevent you from living more fulfillingly? How might you choose to live differently?

 

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