You know you can choose, right?
I’m not sure if we’ve forgotten this, or if it’s just too scary. Or maybe, just maybe, because it’s too scary, we prefer to forget.
It’s scary because it implies pressure–the pressure to make the right choice.
It’s scary because it implies consequence–the consequences that will happen if you don’t.
But most of all, it’s scary because it implies control–control over our lives and what the hell happens next.
But despite what they tell you, in general, people don’t want control.
They don’t want control, because they don’t want the responsibility of control.
More choice = more control = more responsibility.
We’ll get back to that in a minute.
Molly from Stratejoy asked me to write a post on determination, as a part of her greater blog post series happening around the web called The ABC’s of Self-Love.
She told me I’d be the perfect person to write about it.
So I took a step back, curtsied, and said I’d be happy to…while secretly walking away thinking, “oihweapghigb3ugbpoqjwfngbueowj.” Or some approximation of that.
Immediately afterward, my next thought was, “What on EARTH am I going to say about determination that, a) You care about, b) I care about, c) Hasn’t already been said 39,000 times, or d) Doesn’t sound woo woo?”
So where does that leave me?
I’ll tell you where.
It leaves me writing a blog post that isn’t about determination.
After I thought about it for a few days, I decided that the concept of determination is too abstract and feel-good to wax on about, or tell some bullshit inspirational story about how I was soooooooooo determined, and–look, ma!–determination worked for me!
*insert grinning, 8 year old red-head with freckles and missing front teeth*
Because I don’t think that’s true.
I don’t think determination is the answer.
I don’t think that “if you’re just determined enough, you can accomplish anything.”
If I had to guess, I’d guess a marketer came up with that.
Frankly, there are just too many variables involved in creating success, and determination is only one small fraction of those.
Yet, people still like to believe that with enough determination, you can produce success, as if there were a straight line from point A to point B.
They like the idea of determination = success because it’s deceptively simple.
They like the idea of determination = success because it’s hopeful.
They like the idea of determination = success because it allows them to believe that they’ve got a fighting chance against those who are better positioned than them, better equipped than them, or with more useful skill sets than them (among others).
And there’s comfort in that.
Because, at the very least– independent of the actual outcome–we can always say we tried.
So I don’t want to talk about determination, because you’re better than that.
(Says she who just wrote a bunch of paragraphs all about determination.)
I’m not saying that determination isn’t necessary, or that it isn’t useful–I just don’t think it applies as much to success as we’d like it to, nor do I think it applies to self-love as much as we’d like it to, either. (Since that’s what this post is really suppose to be about.)
In neither case is determination the hero many hope it’ll be.
That’s the bad news.
The good news, on the other hand, is that there is a hero involved, and guess what? That’s right. It’s you, my friend. And not in a fluffy, self-help way, either.
IT. IS. YOU.
Which brings me back to my initial discussion around choice + responsibility.
Want success? Make more decisions, choose more often, gain more control, and then take responsibility over your success. Period.
Want to care for yourself better? Make more decisions, choose more often, gain more control, and then take responsibility over yourself. Period.
Here, when I say make more decisions and choose more often, I’m referring to the fact that we *do* have a choice.
We have choices every day.
Choices that many of us seem to forget ever existed.
We let society choose for us.
We let our family choose for us.
We let our spouse choose for us.
We let our circumstances choose for us.
We let our beliefs choose for us.
We let our faith choose for us.
We let our past experiences choose for us.
We let the present moment choose for us.
Hell, we even let the bald guy selling us a pizza and a Mountain Dew choose for us.
We let anyone and everyone choose for us–so long as that person isn’t actually US.
No wonder we feel unsuccessful. No wonder we lack self-love.
We put our destiny in the hands of anyone who’ll take it.
But on the other hand, when you knock off the bullshit, and choose to choose–when you take responsibility for WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU WANT and WHERE YOU’RE GOING and ON WHOSE TERMS–you can’t help but be successful, and you can’t help but love yourself just a little bit more.
I suppose one might define that as being determined.
But here’s the thing: When that happens, you aren’t just being determined.
You’re being deliberate.
And it may be worth noting the difference.