Posted: April 11, 2020 in: Uncategorized, Faith, Personal Empowerment


The late William James, the great American author, psychologist and philosopher, delivered a profound lecture called The Will to Believe.  It was first published in 1896.  The whole lecture is worth reading, but I want to share one excerpt that could be a position statement for anyone committed to striving to make the most of his or her life.  James said:

If this life be not a real fight, in which something is eternally gained for the universe by success, it is no better than a game of private theatricals from which one may withdraw at will. But it feels like a real fight.

I think James’ statement taps into more than one essential truth about human beings.

First, we are beings with imagination.  We “write” the narratives of our lives, page by page, chapter by chapter, in an attempt not only to reach personal and professional goals we treasure, but also to contribute to causes we believe in, deep in our hearts.  We want to become self-actualized.  We want to succeed—as individuals, as a people and as a species.

Second, we know that getting that story “right,” so that we reach our goals, always takes effort.  It’s a fight.  It isn’t easy to manifest the best of ourselves—our truest dreams and most deeply held beliefs and purest emotions.  Much can happen in our existences, even very early on, that obscures who we truly are and, therefore, what we can truly bring to life.

Third, it is always worth putting in effort to express one’s true self, not only for one’s own sake, but for the sake of the universe.  That may sound like an exaggeration, but it isn’t.  Every one of us is connected to the greater, mystical, immeasurable fabric of human existence.  Think about it as a connect-the-dots drawing.  Leave one of those dots disconnected, and the whole picture can change.  It matters whether you optimize who you are and what you create and the relationships you engage in.

Finally, William James was making his point about what life feels like because he valued human intuition and awareness—how truths manifested themselves in personal conviction—not just what could be proven scientifically.  He would have had a lot to say about being careful of today’s obsession with science and technology, often at the expense of the soul.  And he would have celebrated anyone’s quest to increase self-knowledge and self-esteem to optimize self-expression.

Here are some more of James’ powerful words, which may empower you a bit.  The fact that they could, even after his death, is a miracle and would seem to prove the limits of trying to see everything that matters through a microscope:

These then are my last words to you:  Be not afraid of life.  Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will create the fact.

Dr. Keith Ablow


2 responses to “A FIGHT WORTH WINNING”

  1. Keith Ablow says:

    Thank you, Susann . . . I will be sharing thoughts on life here on, consistently.

  2. Susann says:

    I would love to hear more about your thoughts on life