Freedom to choose / Libertad de elegir

Freedom to choose

Viktor Frankl observed that the primary motivation of an individual is to find meaning in life. Even in the most painful and dehumanizing situations, life has potential meaning. While we can’t avoid suffering, we always have the freedom to choose how to deal with it and move forward with renewed purpose.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way”.

Our attitude

Wael al-Dahdouh is Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Gaza. Dahdouh was helping to broadcast live images of the night sky in the besieged territory when he received the news that his family members had died. His family had been killed in an Israeli air strike. They had moved to a house in central Gaza after Israel warned people in the northern half of the territory to leave on October 13.

Despite his immense personal loss, he continued to report on what was happening there as a tribute to his family, showing a deep commitment to his work.

Charlie Munger, who recently passed away, was Warren Buffett’s closest business partner. He faced significant personal adversity, including the loss of his son. However, he maintained that one should not wallow in self-pity and find a way to move forward instead.

Generally speaking, envy, resentment, revenge, and self-pity are disastrous modes of thought, he said. His philosophy emphasizes the power of our attitudes to shape our lives.

Malala Yousafzai was born in Pakistan on July 12, 1997. When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in 2008 and banned girls from attending school, Malala, with the support of her father, continued to advocate for girls’ education. She began blogging anonymously about her experiences under Taliban rule and her desire for an education. This made her a target, and in 2012, she was shot in the head by the Taliban. She could have lived a quiet life, but she decided to continue her fight for girls’ education. She founded a charity, the Malala Fund, which is dedicated to providing educational opportunities for girls.

Personal responsibility

We have no control over what happens or the behavior of others. And yet, we can always choose how we respond. It is a personal responsibility not to become a victim of circumstances. To regain power when we feel helpless, we should be honest about what we can control and what our responsibility is for what is happening.

There is an attribution error that people tend to make: the fundamental attribution error. We attribute others’ behaviors to their character, while our behavior is a consequence of external factors.

This is nothing more than a bias, but it can prevent us from properly assessing the impact of our decisions and take away our freedom to choose.

Even small decisions can have a big impact. Being aware of this is the first step in improving your self-leadership and your ability to lead others.

Image by Tara Scahill at Unsplash