I love this quote from Ayn Rand the queen of objectivism and rational thinking. To begin with, whatever you experience in your life is a result of how you perceive the world and the choices you make. If you think the world is a terrible place filled with injustice and evil, then this will dictate your experience. On the other hand, if you perceive the world to be one of great opportunity and just, this becomes your experience. Your own image, that meaning who you are based on your perception dictates the world that you experience.
As Ayn Rand mentions you have the power to choose, but you can’t escape the fact that you must make choices as you traverse this life. Well, you might say fuck it, I’m checking out because everything is just too difficult or this world is filled with injustice and I don’t want to participate. Fine, then you have still made a choice, there is no escaping that choice is the one thing you cannot run away from. Here is the thing while it is true that you are building the world in your own image, there are always choices that you make that can change your image of who you think you are.
For most of us, we have way more choice than we think we have, yet we don’t make those decisions that can help break out of our current paradigm. I am as guilty as the next person of repeating patterns of behavior that keep giving me the same shitty result. Here are a few choices that are available to most of us that we defer:
- What we do for a living – You’re not a fucking rock, you can change and choose to do something different. It might be a bit painful, but you do have a choice, your not and indentured servant. Realize that excuses like I’m too old, too young, or too stupid are just excuses. Stop thinking this shit, if you are still breathing you still have a choice to do something different for a living.
- Where we live – There are many people that are not happy with where they live, but never move, never even entertain the possibility of leaving and finding a better place to live. A stupid example from my own life is I lived in the upper midwest United States for 55 years before moving to a better climate. I lived with snow, rain, sleet, and gloomy weather six months of the year before finally realizing that I wasn’t a tree and could get the hell out of there.
- What we expose ourselves to – For many years I used to come home, grab a whiskey on the rocks and watch CNN, MSNBC, or FOX news for hours, polluting my mind with this distorted reality. Finally, I realized that I was exposing myself to this garbage and it was warping my mind, and for the last 3 years I have lived news free! Now, this is a somewhat mild example of exposure and a choice to do something different, but you get the idea. If you are allowing yourself to be exposed to some negative person, situation, or whatever then stop that shit.
- How we perceive this world – Yes and this is the mother of all choices you make every day, every moment. You can choose to view this world as some terrible place filled with violence, injustice, and inequality, or you can choose a more positive view. I’m not saying this is easy because your past along with your ego are fighting for control over your thoughts, but ultimately you can break from these demons.
Given you cannot avoid making choices, what choices will you make today, that will move your life forward, more in accordance with a life you can be proud of?
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About Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand (/aɪn/; born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum;[b] February 2, [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-American writer and philosopher. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism. Born and educated in Russia, she moved to the United States in 1926. She had a play produced on Broadway in 1935 and 1936. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead. In 1957, Rand published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own periodicals and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982.
Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism and rejected altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting laissez-faire capitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights, including property rights. In art, Rand promoted romantic realism. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and classical liberals.
Literary critics received Rand’s fiction with mixed reviews and academia generally ignored or rejected her philosophy, though academic interest has increased in recent decades. The Objectivist movement attempts to spread her ideas, both to the public and in academic settings. She has been a significant influence among libertarians and American conservatives.[11