The Wisdom Page 


Selecting Influences

From Copthorne Macdonald's book TOWARD WISDOM, p. 88:

Seeing that we are not as free as we thought we were needn't depress us. Paradoxically, there is even something freeing about seeing the extent to which our choices are determined. For one thing, we can stop feeling guilty about not having enough willpower to realize our fantasies. We can replace the missing willpower with realistic, positive steps. We can put into place those kinds of reinforcing and motivating structures that will keep us moving toward our goals. The problem stops being an intangible will-o'-the-wisp thing. We no longer have to keep reaching for bootstraps of willpower that aren't there. All we have to do is arrange our lives so that we have enough exposure to positive influences — influences that promote and reinforce the kind of changes we are trying to make. Simple. And infinitely easier. There is no "I" who has to struggle. No impossible levels of self-discipline that must be maintained. The influences just do their work, and the earnest effort comes naturally.