When I was first involved with the teaching of Dr. William Glasser, the Five Basic Needs were Survival, Love/Belonging, Self-Worth, Freedom and Fun. Not too long after I completed the Certification process in 1979, he made a change and Worth became Power.

As Dr. Glasser explained the change, he remarked that Worth: the idea of feeling important, having people listen to us, being competent was only a part of this Basic Need. Power, as we now teach it, is both self-discipline i.e. our power over ourselves and the external control psychology concept of power which is power over others. Since what we teach is that we are all internally motivated and thus are all internally controlling ourselves, power over others is actually a myth.

If we stop for a moment and think about it there are examples all around us of people doing what seems right to them and they so not stop because someone else doesn’t like their choice. In some cases, people die rather than make a different choice.

In our own lives, we can find examples of times when we did not change our minds, change our behavior, because someone asked, wanted or even threatened that we do so. We also have instances where we did do something someone asked us or perhaps even told or threatened us about. In other words, either way we made the choice.

The reality is, we make choices dependent on what works best for us at that point in time. Here are some of the reasons we say we have no choice.

#1 Thinking there is no choice

#2 Choosing by default – not making a choice is actually making a choice

#3 Thinking I’ll feel better when I make a choice – another myth. We don’t always feel better when we make a choice.

#4 Killing the alternatives (yes, but_) See #2 and #3

#5 Deciding more information is needed before a choice can be made. I call this “Decidiphobia” the fear of choosing in case one chooses wrong.

#6 Thinking, perhaps it’s more accurate to say wishing, there is an equal and opposite choice. Seldom is there an equal but opposite choice because all choices are connected to our Quality World.

Here is a concrete example of choice from 1981.

I live not that far from Mt. St. Helens. Prior to this active volcano erupting in 1981, there were signs including increased earthquakes, seismic activities, steam emissions, etc. People were encouraged to leave the area. I remember clearly one elderly man who lived on Mt. St. Helens. He chose to remain. He knew the odds and he said in an interview, Mt. St. Helens was his home and he wasn’t leaving. Another young man who was studying volcanos chose to not leave.

Why is Choice, which is at the foundation of Power and Freedom, even important?

March 3rd, PBS television had a program on the connection between brain health and gut health. While that was certainly interesting, the contributors also discussed a long term study being done by Harvard on longevity and good health. One aspect of the study focused on retirement.

According to this study, the two top contributors to people not just staying alive longer but living happy, healthy lives were their social connections and their sense of doing something important. And they went further to describe “social connections” as being face-to-face, in person interactions with others. An example was the sharing meals or other activities such as taking a walk with a friend.

Consider those Five Basic Needs I mention in the first paragraph: Love/Belonging (Connections) and Power (doing something that, at least to us, is important.

I’ve said in other blog posts that I’m a recovering high achiever. How I see that in light of this information is I need to continue to find things to occupy me, to occupy my mind that are important, at least to me.

What are you doing that, to you is important?

How are your social connections to other people?

We’d love to have you join us on March 16, 2024 to continue the conversation on The Ides of March: Power and Self-Esteem

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86846055313?pwd=emtiWTNpSVExdDRpWEFtTWtoUXkyZz09

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Judith attended her first Basic Training in August 1978. She was certified in Reality Therapy© in August 1979 and became an Intensive Week Trainer and Practicum Supervisor in 1981. In 1991, Judith was approved as Senior Faculty by Dr. William Glasser. She has taught all phases of the Certification Program and presented workshops at Conferences in the United States and Internationally. Currently Judith is the Northwest Region’s representative on the GIFCT-US Board as well as president of the NW Region.