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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Free will

Frida Kahlo, self-portrait

You think your actions reflect your deep values. 

You think your deep values reflect who you are.


Are you sure?

How many unwritten rules do you follow without even realizing it? 

How many things do you do a certain way because it's how people like you (of your gender, ethnicity, age, religion) are "supposed to" do them?

How many of your values have you inherited from your family and/or social group without ever questioning them?

How many of your behaviors arise from from a need that you haven't acknowledged?

How many of your needs and wants and hopes are really YOUR needs and wants and hopes?

Are you sure you are going in the right direction?

Are you acting or merely reacting?

Are you acting in a way that fits your OWN core values and objectives?


Then why are you buying things and then regretting it?

Then why are you eating/drinking/consuming things when you know you shouldn't?

Then why don't you like your job?

Then why do you maintain relationships that make you unhappy?

Then why do you say yes when you mean no?

Then why do you hurt others?

Then why do you hurt YOURSELF?

Then why do you feel that frustration, or that void, or that impression of being incomplete?

Then why are you unhappy, stressed, scared, or angry?

And why do you want to make changes in your life yet rarely manage to?


Throughout your life you have made (and will make) choices based on your needs, values and goals. But are those really YOUR needs, values and goals?

And when you are acting according to those needs, values and goals, is it really true that you can achieve anything you want when you put your mind to it... as our Western society wants us to believe... or do you face innumerable obstacles?

And finally: if status (socio-economic, for example) and what other people think had no importance to you, no importance at all... would you live the life you are living right now? Would you act the way you act? Would you talk the way you talk? Would you make the choices you're making?

I am currently reading Status Anxiety, by Alain de Botton. It is a book I highly recommend.

This excerpt made me pause and think:

"We may feel envy [...] over a condition or possession that would in fact make us unhappy if we secured it. Likewise, we may experience ambitions unconnected to our real needs. Left to their own devices, our emotions are just as apt to push us towards indulgence, uncontrolled anger and self-destruction as they are towards health and virtue."

Whatever makes you pause and think in this post... please write it in the comments below!


  1. "Are you acting or merely reacting?"
    Not gonna lie - there are many days that I feel like I'm just going along ticking off all the things that I'm supposed to do. In my mind, I should wake up and look forward to everything that is on tap for the day. In reality that is rarely the case.

    1. Thanks for reacting honestly Kim! I'm with you on ticking off all the things on the list. We should enjoy more. :-)

  2. Some of the most miserable people I know have the most materially. Likewise some of the happiest people I've met have very little, materially speaking. Don't they know they're poor? (just kidding) Your post reminds me of the movie where the coke bottle falls from the sky into the African village. I think the movie is older than you (1980). It's called - The Gods Must Be Crazy.

    1. Relying on the material sphere for your happiness would be silly, but it's very tempting in our society.

      The main problems arise when you own less than you think you should. The solution is to either 1) become richer 2) be content with what you have. Both options take a lot of work!!!

      Thanks for mentioning the movie; I will check it out. :-)

  3. We have to be 'happy' within ourselves. If we find this 'inside' happiness then life becomes so much easier.

    With maturity this may get easier - but of course there are younger people who have already discovered this.

    Life is for living, Life is better if you're feeling positive but there are too many in this world that do not find this.

    It reminds me of an earlier post of yours...... can we improve our World by questioning more, or can we improve it by actioning more? Should we think about ourselves or more about our neighbours? Our World is far from perfect, and I love reading your articles because they do make you think and question ... not a bad thing to do.

    Free Will, Free Thought, Free Action ???

    Take Care and Have a good week - hope your weather is improving

    All the best Jan

    1. Thank you for a thoughtful comment, Jan!

      A good balance between improving our lives/our world and being content with what we have (gratitude) is what I strive for. :-)¸

  4. I've traveled the road less taken.

    Mosty because I couldn't travel the road more taken...

  5. We wear, outwardly, the finger prints of others. Inwardly we feel the push or the pull of the hands from which those fingerprints come. Interconnectivity limits free will. What we really experience is individual autonomy, as part of a collective.