This very good friend told me this past weekend that he was tired of his work, because after thirty years of working with human beings he was ready to say that when dealing with people you can never be sure about final behaviors or outcomes. . . He even cried that if it wasnít for the people, working can be a lot of fun. . . I listen to him empathically. A few minutes later I responded that for all biological, social, cultural and institutional programming human beings at the end can choose something that is not in the program, or at least, not in everybodyís program. We can say Yes or No, I want it, I donít want it, I donít have a decision yet or I have changed my mind. These dynamics make life complex and interesting. . .
However much we are impacted by the circumstances, we are never left with only one course of action to take. Human beings should always aim at deeply pondering their repertory of behavioral options. Either you are seduced by the attraction of living la vida loca or we struggle and fight for exercising freedom with higher levels of responsibility.
Yes, we are not free to choose what happens to us (being born on a certain day, to certain parents, in a certain country or dying in a certain manner), but in the meantime, we are free to respond to what happens in such and such a way. Freedom, which means choosing among possibilities, has nothing to do with the fantasy of omnipotence, which is getting what you want however impossible it may seem. The more we learn and practice to develop our skills and abilities, the more constructive things we can obtain with our freedom.
Human freedom is a potent force in the world and it is also a healthy force for any institutional system. Unfortunately, many people stress more what limits their freedom than of their freedom itself. People who seem to be always complaining about their limitations or constraints, inreality they are very relieved to interpret that they are not free, because any expression on their part for living la vida loca is not their fault.
The real challenge is that of seeing life as a set of possibilities, not as a set of limitations. From a pedagogical and management perspective this signifies that if you provide people with a range of human experiences, wisely presented and administered properly, they will change their lives. As soon as human beings see themselves as contributors, as assets instead of liabilities they will have a clear reason to get up in the morning to invent and choose about the quality of their lives. But since they can invent and choose, they will make mistakes. . . This self-correction becomes an imperative.
It makes sense to apply ourselves to what we do with the purpose of learning and with the conviction that we will succeed. It is all about art and freedom, and never about living la vida loca.
Copyright 2003 QBS, Inc.