The potential of any and all advice that we gain from reading the myriads of posts, blogs and articles on social media is influenced by the framework or perspective we own; our belief system.
Any belief system, even the one that says you don’t have one, influences our choices more than anything else. It is a dynamic system, based on those experiences and meanings we formed throughout our lives. Our internal voice is speaking the narrative of that system. Our behaviors reflect that system. It’s all encompassing. We either reinforce everything to fit into that system or we pick and choose what belongs and what does not belong. And so we choose a meaningful representative (person, object or idea) of that system to serve.
Bob Dylan said it best when he wrote that no matter who you are, what you do or say: “You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed, You’re gonna have to serve somebody…”
Each belief system places free will on a continuum and so we place ourselves along that line.
Or else, we find ourselves like William Shatner:
“The conundrum of free will and destiny has always kept me dangling.”
Wherever we place ourselves doesn’t alter the fact that we are still decision makers. As a member of the community called life, everything we do comes from us; we choose how to respond to circumstances.
Circumstances and the environment may influence our choices but they are nevertheless our own. Michelangelo expressed this in a most agonizing manner when he said:
“I live in sin, to kill myself I live; no longer my life my own, but sin’s; my good is given to me by heaven, my evil by myself, by my free will, of which I am deprived.”
The two factors in the equation of free will and destiny are control and change.
Increase the power of either and we come up with a whole new result. If we relegate most of the power of control to external circumstances, we decrease the power of sustainable change. Conversely, if we engage in the world with the power of control placed within ourselves, the power of sustainable change increases tremendously.
Having a Plan B is proof that you have free will.
Although it’s wise to have a Plan B in place, it can actually materialize once your original plan is not unfolding as you expected. So rather than throwing up your arms and placing your control and power for change in the circumstances which are influencing your outcome, stop, look and listen. Take hold of what is happening and change the outcome; create a Plan B.
In his article on Free Will and Determinism, Viktor Frankl writes:
“Man is capable of changing the world for the better if possible, and of changing himself for the better if necessary.”
We must start from the belief that we have control of everything we do because, ultimately, we have the choice of how we respond to all situations, whether they are in our control or not.