Inner Necessity

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“The person who is going to change is going to change anyway. She has no choice. She is impelled by inner necessity. While the person who is not going to change is not going to change no matter how many seminars or retreats she attends or how much money she pays to those who promise to help her make the change” – Steven Pressfield

This certainly puts a damper on the whole self-improvement industry.  Personally, I think there is value in hearing positive messages from credible people who can encourage us as we try to follow in their footsteps, but self-improvement is not really the answer.

There is one basic fundamental that drives the outcome of our lives.  Steven Pressfield calls it “inner necessity”.  I think it boils down to the story we are living in.  What is the narrative?  Who are the characters and what is the nature of the struggle?  What is at stake?  What is our role and what do we bring to the table?

It is through story that we find the meaning of our lives.  If you take away the story, a human life becomes nothing more than a step in the survival and development of a species that serves no particular purpose. Inner necessity doesn’t fit with such a worldview. Forget about trying to change, you might as well sit down and watch television.

The truth is, of course, that there is an epic story unfolding and there is an open invitation to enter into it and to play your part.

Where to begin?…

I find it helpful to think through the story of your own life.  You may even want to write it down.  Recount the flow of events, the ups and downs, the triumphs and the disappointments, the choices you made, the things that happened to you that were out of your control, all of it.  You’ll begin to see the narrative of a life emerge.  You’ll begin to sense the depth of meaning in it.  Recount it all up to this very moment and then ask yourself, what happens next?  Where does the story go from here?

This is where inner necessity comes from, the realization that you are in a story, that you play an important part, and that everything is at stake.