Free Will seems real to me. I agree with the idea. The Meriam Webster Dictionary defines free will as the ability to choose how to act; the ability to make choices that are not controlled by fate or God, and lastly—voluntary choice or decision.
One of the reasons I like the idea of free will so much is because I’m big on personal responsibility, I think the two fit nicely together. No matter what happens in life you have a choice and your actions are your own. You get to choose—choose wisely.
The problem is that Life doesn’t care about you, me, or our nice little ideas. Life is more simple and complex than we can imagine. It seems the concept of free will works most of the time but not all the time. We don’t get to choose our dreams.
We don’t get to choose our dreams, they choose us. We are just walking along through life and then BAM! a dream chooses us, grips us, vacuums us up into obsession. When we are kids we don’t know what we want, we don’t know what is awesome. What is awesome knows and it decides to pick which one of us it will infect. Each person is picked by a different awesomeness. This is not a choice you get to make.
You don’t know if you will become obsessed by:
racecars and airplanes
big mountain adventure
or maybe farming.
Then you spend your whole life and all your energy pursuing this thing that you did not choose.
This is how it worked for me. I was a son of the South, I never saw snow until I was 8 years old. Once I saw snow for the first time I was hooked, I was obsessed. Once I went skiing for the first time that was it, that was the dream, that became the relentless pursuit. I didn’t choose skiing, skiing chose me.
So maybe free will does not exist in regards to our dreams, our passions, our obsessions—but free will does factor in our pursuit, in the degree in which we chase our dreams.
Some people have a dream or an idea and all they do is think about it. They daydream but they never pursue it. It consumes their thoughts but this never converts to actions. Without the energy of action the dreamer is always wondering “What if.” This is the easy pursuit, the dream is only a thought exercise. Experience is not gained, nothing is risked, nothing is learned.
For others they are consumed by a dream and they need more, more than a thought or an idea. These people exercise their free will and they make the choice to pursue the dream, they plunge down the rabbit hole. With no guarantee of what’s to come, these people risk the safety of normalcy to experience the possibilities of the beautiful idea. They have to see where the dream leads, they have to feel it.
Ed Viesturs started by guiding up Mt. Rainer.
John Coltrane started out playing the clarinet.
Jimmy Johnson started out racing motorcycles and off-road trucks in the desert.
Through the pursuit, experience and knowledge are gained. On this path some will succeed and continue to chase the dream. Others will fail and the dream will elude them. Maybe the dream will shift on the journey or maybe there will be an entirely new dream. There is no guarantee of payoff when you choose to put out the effort to pursue your dream.
Maybe nothing good will happen. Maybe only anger and devastation will find you on your pursuit. Most likely, whether you succeed or fail on your path, you will be better for the journey. You will learn. You will never wonder “What if”, because you know, you tried and put out the effort.
You will be better prepared for the next dream that chooses you.