“Everything we do, obviously, is the result of various changes in the conditions about us over which we rarely have control.” From I. Asimov – A Memoir
Two things went through my head when I read this, “No…not obviously. I don’t think so, maybe not at all.” And then, “Well…sure, I suppose you’re right.” I can hear the rebuttals because I have them myself. I’ve taken great pride in the results of my excellent choices and their wonderful results. This is MY work. You cannot take that away from me.
But is it, really? Your choices? Sure, those are yours. But the circumstances that put you in the position to make those choices? Probably not.
I didn’t choose the family that raised me.
I didn’t choose who I went to school with, who I worked with, when I found the man that I decided to marry.
I didn’t choose the children that were born to me or their temperaments.
And it goes so much farther than that: where and when you were born, economics and politics that occurred when you were making choices, the weather! Everything everywhere around us buffets us around while we live, none of which we have any control over.
Like a game of poker, we all simply do the best we can with the cards we are dealt. I don’t think it’s a defeatist attitude. I think it’s realistic. If we acknowledge that we aren’t in control of the world around us, but only our own reactions to it, life can be a bit easier to take.
We cannot judge other people’s outcomes by our own. They are not us. And we can’t judge ourselves by what other people achieve for the same reason.
The reason I love reading Asimov, especially his non-fiction, is because he’s so smart and so curious. He questions everything, especially his own thinking. He is also blatant about his criticism but humble in that he knows his circumstances, his area of expertise, are unlike anyone else’s. He is honest.
Speaking of the results of various changes, here we are at the end of February. I didn’t achieve the goal I set for myself at the end of last month, but I did stay the course I was on at least. I kept up with writing and posting daily and that is something to be celebrated. Two whole months is a personal record and nothing to sniff at, especially since February was slightly busier than January.
March is looking like the it will speed up a bit more, so I think I’ll hold off on creating any new habits until April. “Hold the course!” looks like it will be enough of a challenge. Besides, you never know what will happen. I may find some surprises.