Sartre and the power of our decisions

Often we don't pay much attention to our choices, yet our choices are ultimately who we are. How we decide in given situations defines who we were, who we are and who we will be.

This was exactly the view of the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, who was considered one of the leading figures of the existentialist movement. The following quote comes from him:

"We are our choices".

Jean-Paul Sartre

What, if not the decisions a person makes, defines him? How do you behave under stress, when you're relaxed, or when you want to take your destiny into your own hands? But why do we so often decide in a way that we don't even like ourselves? Why is it so difficult for us to make the right decision? Is it just because of our comfort or is our inner compass defective?

"I want to exercise more again.", "I want to read more." Or "I want to spend less time on my cell phone." These are all laudable resolutions in and of themselves, but why do they so often not work out?

One reason for this may be that we don't really negotiate with ourselves. We more or less force these tasks on ourselves. However, it is important to note that we have to deal with ourselves more like a friend or a business partner. If I exercise three times this week, then I get to play two hours of video games or something like that in return. We have to negotiate with ourselves, we can't decide like a dictator that we will be productive from now on - without rewarding ourselves for it.

If you want to read a little more about the connection between our choices, warhheit and suffering, I recommend you read this article with a few quotes from Dr. Jordan B. Peterson

Another reason why it can be difficult to make the right decisions is that it usually takes less effort to do the wrong thing. Or rather, it is more difficult to do the right thing. For example, if we damaged our mother's favorite vase, we could blame it on the cat. We would not have to answer for our behavior in this case, and for the mother it would have been a force of nature rather than malice.

Once we choose the lazy option, there are usually no far-reaching consequences. But if we are unfaithful to the truth too often, it can change our character. Of course from different perspectives the truth can vary greatlyMarcus Aurelius already knew this. Besides the truth has the tendency to want to step constantly from itself out to the daylight. Even if the truth is not always beautiful, and beautiful words are not always the truth we should try to stay true to it.

So the next time you are faced with a big decision, remember that this decision, like all others, will define you sooner or later. So it's important that you make the best possible decision, not the most comfortable one.

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