“Free-will” Doesn’t Exist

by Ron

This was a statement recently posted by Benjamin Hardy.

I didn’t agree. I believe in free-will, not predestination. People who take a very dependent approach to life don’t believe in free-will. They don’t believe their efforts can make a difference. They feel helpless because others will overrule them. They live a very sad life. Exercise your free-will. You’ll be happier!

But, as I read further I began to see what he was saying.   There is a price to pay for the choices you make. That I agree with. There is always a price to pay. Even when you choose not to choose, there is a price to pay.

Time to Pay the Piper

Often the price to pay is some pain and suffering. If you’ve read many of my posts you’ve noticed my reference to Dr. Scott Peck’s book The Road Less Traveled. He explains that the root of mental illness is the avoidance of pain and suffering. Choosing not to pay the price at the moment (pain and suffering) will lead to some form of mental illness. The word that comes to mind most often is dysfunctional. We have a very dysfunctional team, company, environment… fill in the blank.

Dysfunction Junction

Why is it dysfunctional? Did someone decide there should be a dysfunctional team? Was that the desire, to work in a dysfunctional environment? Not consciously, but somewhere, the decision was made not to deal with a difficult issue. Therefore, with the decision made to avoid the pain and suffering in the moment, the consequence is a dysfunctional environment.

Time is a big cost issue when it comes to decisions.

Do I decide to help my employee learn a new process or take less time and do it myself?
Consequence: You will always need to do it yourself.

Do I decide to get the team on board before moving ahead or let them know the direction we will take?
Consequence: No buy-in. No engagement. Failed decision.

Do I decide to take the time for good deliberation or make a quick decision?
Consequence: People don’t believe in the decision and will continuing to support other directions.

Developing employees, getting buy-in, facing the dilemma of decisions all take time. Not paying the cost of time in the moment causes negative results. But those negative results may not become evident immediately. Later there is no visible cause and effect. People will say “It’s just dysfunctional.” No, that was the consequence of a decision you made.

There is no free-will. Every choice has a cost. And a consequence.

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