A Meditation on Life: Self-Determination

Experience teaches me again and again that “willpower” does not exist.

Experience teaches me again and again…

… that I do not extinguish a destructive behavior by otherworldly resistance to temptation.

… that I do not cultivate a constructive behavior by superhuman exertion of effort.

… that a resolution is doomed to failure if the challenge is approached as one of suffering and scarcity.

… that enduring change demands more than a cost-benefit analysis of its consequences.

… that fear of success (by virtue of the responsibility entailed) is often a stronger force than fear of failure.

… that a hard habit cannot be broken at the same level of moral development that formed it.

… that I procrastinate, rationalize, and flounder not because I am not “trying” hard enough…. but because I am confused about what is truly important and real.

And so the “secret” to success is a not a matter of superhuman self-control, self-discipline, self-restraint, or self-denial, but of self-possession… of being emancipated by the sobering discovery of who I really am… and who I truly want to be.

Next Meditation: Agency


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