My sister-in-law recently posted a New York Times Op-Ed piece on 2 distinct views of living one’s life. The first method is internalized; it calls for the individual to consciously and precisely focus on what they want to accomplish. The second approach is externally driven, as it subscribes to the situation (no, not the guy on the “Jersey Shore”) dictating one’s course of action.
I responded with my initial thoughts as follows:
“The only control that people actually have is how they respond to any given situation. To be 14, 24 or 64 and honestly believe that one is independent from mundane or exogenous events is, frankly, delusional. That said, careful observation and consideration of the situation at hand and short term trends may yield insights which can be exploited as unique opportunities. So all that said, I guess I subscribe to a hybrid theory.”
No one’s life can be solely categorized as either “well planned” or “summoned”. Referring back to the article, one has to wonder what life events “summoned” Dr. Christensen to the point of planning it out and then executing it so precisely. For that matter take any contemporary or historical figure and perform the same analysis. The Buddha’s quest and ultimate “awakening” were as much initiated by the events and observations of his life as well as his response. What kind of life would Joan of Arc have lived if she was born 600 years later and 6000 miles away in 21st century America?
Defining life goals and then having some kind of plan to achieve them is wonderful. However one can not reasonably achieve these life goals if they don’t recognize and appreciate the environment in which they are living.