Choose If You Can

How much free will do you have over your choices?

When you go to the store, are you buying because you need or want something–or are you buying because of the message of an enticing advertisement that made the product so appealing?

At a deeper level, are you making choices based on emotional reaction or with a clear head?

My friend Jim Pinto who wrote a column on the business of automation for me for 10 years has taken to writing on philosophical issues in his retirement. He published a blog on April 27 pondering all the aspects of choice.

Scientists who study the brain debate the amount of free will we actually have. Some think we have none. A philosophy taught in English departments for many years is that everything is culturally derived. Therefore you cannot make general statements. Oops, pardon me English scholars, but I  believe you made a general statement.

The philosophy du jour when I was an undergrad was existentialism. These people looked at life and observed that there would be a few times, maybe only one, where a person will make a decision–the existential decision–that is a determining factor in the rest of their life.

This is not the decision about Irish breakfast tea or jasmine infused green tea. This is the decision that the apostle John talked about (1 John) where he said we must choose to follow the light or to follow darkness.

We have so many choices to make daily–that’s why some people like Steve Jobs wear the same type of clothing every day, it reduces a decision–that we can be lost in decision. It is the paradox of too many choices.

But, there are a few choices that we make daily that determine what sort of life we will lead. It pays great dividends in the future to ponder at the end of every day whether we made the right decisions in important  circumstances. 

We have so many options, so many opinions, so many influencers, that making the right choice requires intentional effort.

Go and do the hard work.

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