Do we always have a choice?

The sneaky inner critic lurking in our mind jumps at every opportunity that doesn’t go your way to paint your narrative into despair and doom.

American psychologist Martin Seligman did extensive research on this topic in 1967 and essentially coined the term “learned helplessness” which is a phenomenon that occurs when the subject endures repeatedly painful or otherwise averse stimuli unable to escape or avoid. After a string of such circumstances, the organism learns that it is helpless in situations where there is a presence of averse stimuli, has accepted that it has lost control, and thus gives up trying. Such an organism is said to have acquired learned helplessness

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Viktor E. Frankl, the Austrian holocaust survivor talks about an alternate path. The space between stimulus and response is where lies the ability to choose. And choice is the last human freedom.

Don’t become the plaything to circumstance. Muster courage and strength to take your attitude into your own hands and be the architect of your life’s meaning and purpose.

His famous quote goes as follows: “The last of the human freedoms: to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom.”

In trying times, ask yourself: Is it possible for me to respond differently?

Choose a different meaning to apply to a given situation.

Do we always have a choice? Yes we do. It’s just that we don’t remember that.

Photo by    Michal Dolnik    on    Unsplash