Essentialism And The Power of Choice

Essentialism

“It is the ability to choose which makes us human”—Madeline L’Engle

Below are a few take aways from Greg Mckeown’s book “Essentialism”.

 

  • Choice is not a thing. Our options may be things, but a choice is an action.
  • We may not always have control over our options, but we always have control over how we choose them.

THE INVINCIBLE POWER OF CHOOSING TO CHOOSE

  • For too long we have overemphasized the external aspect of choices (our options) and underemphasized our internal ability to choose (our actions)
  • Options (things) can be taken away, while our core ability to choose (free will) cannot be.

HOW DO WE FORGET OUR ABILITY TO CHOOSE

  • The ability to choose cannot be taken away or even given away—it can only be forgotten.
  • Martin Seligman and Steve Maier—discovered “learned helplessness” in a series of experiments.
  • Though the experiments were on German Sherpherds, humans can learn (choose) helplessness.
  • We need to develop a heightened awareness of our ability to choose.
  • William James once wrote, “my first act of free will shall be to believe in free will.”
  • When we forget our ability to choose, we learn to be helpless. Drip by drip we allow our power to be taken away until we end up becoming a function of other people’s choices.
  • We need to not only recognize the power of choice, but celebrate it.

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