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Free Will – Myth or Reality?

A client recently shared an interesting article on whether free will is an illusion.

For many of us, we may feel we have little control over situations, especially at the moment, however, we can learn to have control over our response to what is happening.

So do we have free will? This depends on our definition... if free will is the ability to make changes within ourselves to see external events in a way that enables better outcomes for us; to make changes to beliefs, emotions and automatic behaviours, then yes, absolutely and NLP teaches us how.

Even if we have to live in a world with constraints, we still have choice over how we react to these and therefore, in my opinion, we still have free will, as we have control over our emotions and behaviours.

Now I’m not saying that it is always easy, however it is something we can learn. I am reminded of Victor Frankl who wrote ‘Man's Search of Meaning’, he was in a concentration camp and he was tortured and wife was murdered. Even in these circumstances he realised that there is a space between an event and his response; that no matter what happens, this is something that no one can take away from us... this is where our free will comes in.

The equation; Event + Response = Outcome is a great way to remember that even if we are not in total control of the event, we can be in control of our response which then will have an impact on our own personal outcome.

When considering our response, it is also really important to think about the consequences of our actions (in NLP we call this ecology) – we are not islands and our actions do impact on others.

As the person who shared the article with me commented; ‘Free will is perhaps knowing that the above is true and doing something about it.’

Curious to know more about NLP? If so, come along to our next NLP Taster Session to find out more:

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