Do we choose our identity? Our passions? Our talents?
What about our circumstances?
Consider a choice that seemed to really impact your life; where exactly did willpower or preference come into play?
Take enough steps back, and I think we’d all agree that nothing is chosen for no reason. All choices are between options, and those options are experienced as forces, motivation, reason…
I didn’t just randomly choose to drink water right now. Forces like thirst, taste, work momentum, health knowledge, and even weather all chimed in until a certain option proved most compelling.
In that sense, choice comes down to recognition and perspective.
says, “The universe plays its chaotic symphony, and all you can do is follow a melody or two.”
It’s all those interactive, shifting, evolving forces together that make up the chaotic symphony we hear. Following a melody means recognizing and having the perspective to opt for something good or beneficial.
How can you know what’s good or beneficial?
That could be a long discussion, but it really comes down to values. As writes, “We are most at peace when we are permitted to pursue our values in our personal and professional endeavors.”
Loosely: Our values are the characteristics we hope to embody (values we hold) and the goods we hope to produce or provide the world (values we bring).
I like how says, “Life is a process of creation. It’s not a process of discovering who you are meant to be.”
In this world of decisions between forces, who you are is never ultimately fixed or . Each competing force represents the unique struggle or journey of a specific value—a good thing wanting to exist more (through you) in the face of opposition and competition.
The combination of all those individual journeys playing out and interacting in time (as decisions) is helpful to recognize, but not to over-analyze. In fact, trying to understand every force before deciding can be an easy place to hide; it’s also what leads to .
Really, values are simple. The best choice in any given moment is usually obvious. And as we gain perspective in life, those best choices become impossible to ignore or to keep putting off.
So life’s symphony plays on. Let’s learn to listen clearly enough to recognize the valuable part we might play to make that symphony all the more beautiful.