“But, that’s just the way it is. I can’t do anything about it.” Uh, no. Not true. “I have no choice” Uh, no, also not true! The one thing you always have is choice. How you act, how you respond, whether to participate at all – you always make the choice. You may lack immediate control over the immediate situation or the other party, be it an individual or a system, but your choice of behavior always affects future actions and responses. Your participation in the system helps create the system. It supports the continuation and the manner in which the system operates. When you change your behavior, or refuse to participate, in the way the system is requesting (and seemingly dictating,) the system changes. It must. Whether you are dealing with a single individual and the system is a one to one dynamic, or an entire industry, it’s all a dance. And it takes two (at least) to tango, and it requires complicity from the dancers to remain in sync. When you change, you disrupt the system, and the system automatically changes in response. It has not choice.
I recently heard a story of a parent who had their children spending 4 hours a day, for 10 weeks straight, studying for a standardized entrance exam. The family was eager to get the children into the “best” high school possible. Great, right? Goal, plan, execution, success -no problem. The problem is, they were continuously bemoaning their situation and completely blaming the system for forcing them into this desperate and unpleasant situation. feeling powerless in the face of it. Here’s where they are misled, their behavior is what fuels the continuation of the system. They (and the rest of us) are the system. They are in relationship with the people in the system and a system is only an aggregate of its members. A system is relationships and nothing more – give and take, action/reaction, mirror and refection.
When you feel you are under the control of an unfriendly system, check your values, check your sense of personal power meter. Check your complicity levels. Compare the consistency of your values with the actions it takes to participate in the system and achieve your goals.. The ends never justify the means because they are inseparable.
Be on alert when you buy into a situation and “its” demands, and hear yourself saying you have no choice because that’s just the way it is. You don’t have to play along. It’s your choice, and your choices have consequences, so choose consciously.You can refuse to participate entirely, or you can participate in a manner that’s in line with your values and desires and thereby change the system.