“Choice” is an interesting word and an interesting concept. Here in North America, we certainly seem to have the epitome of choices available to us. When I was a child, I was asked often “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As I was going through my final year of high school, we took aptitude and preference tests to help us to determine what the best possible career(s) would be for us as we entered university.
I know we do have some choices, but I wonder how much of a choice we make when we do the things we do. I remember reading a story about a detective or a cop who was determined to learn how to disarm someone should he be approached by someone with a gun. He found a partner and over weeks and months, he practiced disarming him over and over. He would disarm his partner, then give back the gun, and they would do it all over again. Over and over. Then one day, the cop was actually approached by a guy with a gun. His practice paid off – he disarmed the guy immediately! But then he gave him back the gun….. That’s right, because he practiced disarming and then handing back the gun to his partner, that is exactly what he did when he faced the real thing.
Fortunately, he immediately disarmed the man for good right away. But he could have faced a seriously dire consequence for his action of returning the gun. Clearly, he did not choose to give the gun to the man – at least, not in the usual sense in which we think of choice.
We are creatures of habit. It takes intentionality – a plan – to modify or change habits. Just like the cop in the story, though, your life may depend on changing the habits that put the gun in someone else’s hands.