Words of choice

When I was on vacation in Spain, a fellow-traveller asked me about my plans for the day. My casual reply to him was – “We have to hike towards Palafrugell.” His reply was, “You don’t have to hike, you get to hike. Hiking is a pleasure.”

Viktor Frankl wrote about how the defining trait of human beings is choice. He said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.” The choice we have may vary depending upon our situation. A poor person in an authoritarian regime doesn’t enjoy much freedom. But among the oppressed, the people who emerge as leaders are the ones who exercise their choice even in the unlikeliest of circumstances.

Oftentimes, we choose to do what we think we must do. Oftentimes, we get to do what we think we have to do. If our freedom is determined by our power to choose, our words indicate the extent to which we exercise that freedom.

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