Follow the Inner Voice Or Not? The Power of Choice

Filed in The Writing Life, When Writing Is Hard by on May 27, 2011 • views: 494

I really admire the writing of Bill Kenower, Editor-in-Chief of “Author” online magazine, a product of the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association. He posts a daily blog and I’m always amazed at his ability to write so profoundly on such a demanding schedule.

In one of his recent blogs entitled “Born This Way,” Kenower talks about another writer who, unlike so many, did not long to write as a child. For her, the desire came much later in life, and was triggered more by the motivation to complete a particular project than by any romantic dreams of living the writer’s life. That she chose to put so much effort into that one particular project (to the point of completing it and getting it published) was an inspiration to Kenower, illustrating the power of choice we have in our lives—to pursue those things toward which we are drawn, or not. What I particularly wanted to share with readers is this quote from his post:

“The fact is, no matter how strongly pulled toward one activity you are, you could still choose not to do it. You will suffer because of this choice, you will have bad marriages, you will get cancer, you will complain constantly to your friends how meaningless life is, and yet you will do so by choice. [L]ife decides nothing for us; we are neither born to fail nor to succeed – we are only born to choose.”

Today’s pop culture, plainly illuminated by Lady Gaga’s hit “Born This Way,” likes to magnify the idea that we are born with our uniqueness already in place, and all we have to do is “be” who we are. It’s not quite that easy, however, as most anyone who’s struggled to follow the inner voice will concede. Life throws us all kinds of challenges, including financial woes, health problems, family issues, and psychological quirks, and if we let them, they can stand in the way of our success. Many times, it seems a lot easier to succumb to these challenges and bemoan our position in life than it is to fight our way past them and still stay true to the callings within us.

As Kenower points out, however, ignoring the inner voice catches up with us, eventually. The body is a living storage unit, and loves to hold onto all our frustrations and hidden angst. If we continually fail to go after our dreams, those emotions will eventually erupt into physical ailments. Those closest to us, of course, are the first to hear all our gripes and suffer all our bad tempers, of which we’ll have more if we ignore what we’re compelled to do—eventually ruining the relationships that matter most to us.

We’re not “born” to succeed. We are born with certain talents and interests, and we may be born with a drive in our gut to pursue certain things in life, but whether or not we actually do it—whether or not we actually get into the trenches and go after it day in and day out—is anything but predetermined. That all comes down to the choices we make moment after moment all the days of our lives.

What will you choose to do today?

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