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Monday, January 27, 2003

Choice over Destiny

[excerpt from a recent journal comment]

What matters, I think, is what you want, what you expect, and what you do. Those are three links in a chain, and the weakest one dominates. In the end, it all comes down to what you do--but what you do will be no more than what you want and expect.

What do you really want? That's probably the hardest of the three. When you daydream, what are the parts that make you happy? Do you want to be inventing things in the laboratory? Do you want to be having a picnic on a beautiful meadow? Do you want to be the CEO of corporation? Do you want to be an artist? Do you want to be loved? Do you want to raise a family? Do you want a beautiful house in a beautiful place? Do you want a flat in the city? Do you want to party? Do you want solitude? Do you want challenges? Do you want comfort? Do you want variety? Do you want stability?

Explore the pieces, explore what you want. And for everything you discover, ask yourself Why? If you want to be a CEO, why? Is it because you enjoy the reality of what it means to be a CEO, or is it because you think it will buy you something else -- respect, social interaction, money, power, what? Break it down into the essentials, figure out what you really care about, because you may find, with your logical mind, that some of the things you thought you wanted aren't really the best way to get what you really want.

And armed with your best understanding of what you really want, learn to expect it. If you don't expect it, you'll never really try for it with all your heart. And if you do try for it with all your heart, chances are very very high that you will get it, or at least something much much closer to it than if you hadn't. Learn this, do whatever you have to to make it your nature. You have to know in your heart that you just might get what you want if you try, and that you'll probably get what you want if you try hard enough. That's enough--you don't need certainty, you just need to see enough possibilities to try for many things, and try really hard for a few important things, and in the end many won't happen, but many will, and that is a lot.

And finally, do it, whatever it is. Don't wait for it. It's so easy to wait, isn't it? Waiting to be discovered, waiting for the right person to come along, or the right job, or the right house, or the right time. I catch myself waiting all the time, with some subconscious expectation that time itself will bring me a solution to whatever it is that I am wanting. Sometimes it works (and it's so easy!), and that intermittent conditioning keeps me trained to wait... But in the end of course waiting brings nothing compared to doing.

And maybe this all seems beside the point, not to address your thoughts, but I hope it does: What you are--intelligent, beautiful, whatever--those are just the tools you are given. Everyone is given a set of tools, some better, some worse, but those differences are so much less important than just the choice to use them. (Don't rely on your tools to work all by themselves.) Knowing what you really want is the hardest part. Learning to expect what you want, and to do what you need to to get what you expect, those mostly just take effort (once you understand that they are necessary, assuming you agree they are :).

And those're what really make a jewel in the rough, imo. It's your choice, not your destiny.

"90% of success is just showing up."

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com