Uncommon Sense

July 28, 2021

You Choose Who You Want to Be

Filed under: Philosophy,Reason — Steve Ruis @ 9:26 am

This phrase is one of the inspiring quotes/tattoos/memes that are bandied about as being a bit of wisdom.

Let’s unpack it, shall we?

When you are born you are provided with a genetic makeup including characteristics such as your potential height, possible intelligence, eye and hair color, etc.  none of which you “chose.” They you are governed by programmed behaviors that all humans tend to have for a while, then you are raised by parents who are brilliant or inept or somewhere in between at their job. They may love you for who you are or not. None of this you chose.

So far, there is not much choice involved in becoming who you are or are to be.

At a certain age we all acquire some control over how our lives go and how adept were you at this point at proactively shaping who you wanted to be? Imagine teenagers who desire is to be rich, or become an influencer, or a rapper, or an NBA basketball star. How often do those plans play out?

Possibly this statement needs a bit of amendment. Possibly they mean “You May Get to Choose Who You Want to Be.” Yeah, that’s the ticket. If you have the will and acquire the personal development skills and get appropriate help along the way, you may be able to shape you own destiny. An example of doing this is the football great Hershel Walker. As a child he was chubby and weak and poorly coordinated. He got tired of being bullied and started improving his body by doing hundreds of sit-ups and pushups daily (yes, he worked up to those levels). He increased his running speed by racing trains that plowed through his town. He became a star athlete in high school, then college , and then the NFL, and has stuck to his regimen and still has a sculpted body though he is over 50 years old. But he didn’t choose this parents, physical stature, etc. he just shaped what he had into something that served him better.

Of course, had he been born into slavery or into a very poor country which didn’t have schools or college sports or professional athletics, then he might not have been so successful. Unbeknownst to Republicans, some luck is involved.

So, this catch phrase might be better put as “If You Are Lucky, You May Get to Choose Somewhat of Who You Want to Be.”

There, that’s better.


  1. Steve,

    I couldn’t agree with you MORE on this!!! Hearing or reading this pandering distorted hyper-optimism often nauseates me to no end!!! 🤢🤮 And then once we voice this/our reality check, we are immediately branded as a “Debbie-downer” or love-killer or pissy pessimist… simply for REBALANCING our place and control in this awe-inspiring yet daunting Cosmos and ALL of its forces that play upon us, our families, our planet, our entire lives!!! I mean, WTH? Who again is the delusional denialist??? Who!?

    I recently got into a heated discussion about this very mainstream popular meme/topic during the NBA Finals. The topic came up when people began discussing/debating basketball’s GOAT. What started the argument about your subject here was how much all the NBA elite stars—and for that matter most all of any sport played around the world—who frequently preach this meme to their fans. I chose to single out LeBron James and how often he is quoted saying/preaching this trendy meme. Here’s the problem I have with his “very common” preaching to fans…

    Despite the fact that LeBron James is African-American, despite the fact that when he was born his mother was 16-yrs old, despite the fact that his biological father has a long criminal history and got a hold of his mother at such a super young age, and despite the fact that those factors contributed to him growing up in impoverished, seedy, bad neighborhoods and moving constantly… LeBron still had many advantages once he figured out his best, quickest way out of those few terrible preexisting conditions! Then, as a freshman in high school basketball, playing against a lot of inferior teams… scouts, sports agents, sports broadcasting networks & magazines, etc, etc, ad infinitum ALL—every single one of them who prey on this type of story and talent—like vultures POUNCED on this very young boy at the ripe age of 16-17 yrs old. From then on, LeBron’s life, and life for his Mom & dearest family members too, was never going to be the same… because of America’s addiction and love for “heroic stories” like this.

    Therefore, due to LeBron’s EXCEPTIONAL genetic physical makeup and an already patented storyline made many many times by African-American athletes coming out of extreme poverty and misfortune… the rest of his life was handed to him on a silver platter. This is no different than multitudes of other similar youth athletes across the globe! Same ole same ole, generation after generation because our society/societies are setup this way, ESPECIALLY so by the media! And this happens to many little boys & girls all the time no matter what their skin color might be.

    So no… 90% or more of the human population does NOT choose who they’d like to be because UNLIKE LeBron James—or name any other identical heroic sports story—we are NOT gifted the world on a silver platter at age 16-17 years old. End of story here. 🙄

    And no, I am not going to apologize for this downer comment because it simply reflects hardcore reality. So perhaps one should stop being a delusional sugar-coater denier of real-time life and quit setting young kids up for extreme failure when THAT happens. Right? 😄 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Professor Taboo — July 29, 2021 @ 11:26 am | Reply

    • One other point I want to make in light of my comment above…

      Everybody, at some point in their life and for the REST of their life… will be and are a winner as well as a looser. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts about it!

      We are all winners. We are all losers. End of story, flip a coin. 😛


      Comment by Professor Taboo — July 29, 2021 @ 11:33 am | Reply

      • Yeah, baby! Losers of the world, unite!

        As a coach I often tell athletes that losing has a role to play. The Basshams say “Either win or learn, there is no lose.” I think they say that to inspire. They are just saying “not winning, er . . .learning!” instead of losing.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Steve Ruis — July 29, 2021 @ 11:42 am | Reply

        • Exactly! I do love the inspiring quote by Napoleon Hill:

          “In every adversity lies the seed of an equal or greater opportunity.”

          So essentially what should always be taught and always promoted is NOT win, win, win or you’re a failure. What is of the most valuable in most all of life is to learn how to keep failing better. Improve to be NOT victorious all the dayum time, but to be consistent in your efforts whether you lose or win. The latter doesn’t matter NEAR as much as your level, consistent, quality effort. Do that 85% — 90% of the time, and you’re good. Sometimes you’re victorious, sometimes you lose. And sometimes you crash-n-burn HORRIBLE!!! 😆 Whatever, right? 🙂


          Comment by Professor Taboo — July 29, 2021 @ 1:48 pm | Reply

    • Growing up I loved baseball and basketball, In high school my baseball talent ran out (I was 1 for 8 in HS.) but I played basketball all through college. I had great big man moves, but unfortunately was only 6’3″. If I had been 6’9″ I would have played at a major college and been a star, I believe. But no one was particularly interested in a 6’3″ center-forward. But being of an age, I know who the GOAT was. It was Wilt Chamberlain. Who I say play in the NBA finals and who I met personally. The rules were different them. Wilt got clobbered and couldn’t play like Shaq (driving through people rather than around them). Michael played in an era that allowed hand checking, LeBron did not, so direct comparisons are not possible. Will did more in fewer seasons that any other player in NBA history. He led the league in assists one year for Pete’s sake and in his early career, played over 48 minutes per game. If any modern player were to attempt that they would be in the injured list almost immediately. (Sorry for the diversion, it is just recency bias I am fighting here.)

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — July 29, 2021 @ 11:40 am | Reply

      • I hear ya and totally understand. 😉 All the GOAT comparisons are a total waste of time to me because as you correctly point out, all the popular professional sports have morphed, changed, refined, UNREFINED, morphed again… all to appease their fan bases… at whatever point in their finicky timeframe… want from the game so that they’ll keep buying outrageously priced season tickets! 😆 Therefore, when it’s all said and done, it’s all just relative to a multitude of relative variables over time that pro games/sports change with it. La de la de dah. 😁

        I can think of a few things in life that TRULY merit our worship… and it dayum sure isn’t trendy iconic sports figures or popular celebrities. Most of the people I’m thinking of literally gave their lives—hence, their dead now—for a much greater cause. ❤️


        Comment by Professor Taboo — July 29, 2021 @ 1:58 pm | Reply

      • Sorry. And to your last point about modern athletes and their MODERN game and the IR list… what I’ve noticed in a MASSIVE way today compared to when I played collegiate, pro, and semi-pro soccer (as only a 6′ 0″ goalkeeper) is how many effin games these athletes play! Their off-seasons have gotten incredibly short, near non-existent now! It is almost inhumane how many highly competitive matches they are required to play and perform at 100% to 110% perfection… every minute of every game of every season! 😯 There’s only ONE reason for this enormous increase…


        Money mostly for the grossly wealthy opulent owners of the franchise/club, but to an extent the players and the free-agent/free-market prices. Nonetheless, it is all PURELY and SIMPLY just about money today. Which explains why the majority of middle class fans in all demographics… but the tiny sports markets too, can no longer afford ticket prices. Whatever happened to the pure love and spirit of playing the game and playing it well—no matter what the cheap revenues were? Huh? 😄


        Comment by Professor Taboo — July 29, 2021 @ 2:23 pm | Reply

        • Money . . . the root of all sports! I coach in a minor sport (archery) and archers have a massive case of golf envy. Archers look at golfers playing for millions of dollars and see that, at best, they can play for thousands, and whine about it. Actually making a plan to do what golf has done, well, that would be too much work.

          The Olympics has gotten so much about “show me the money” that I have totally lost interest.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — July 31, 2021 @ 12:12 pm | Reply

          • I too have lost interest in watching (on TV) many sporting events, like the Olympics, for the primary reason that there is just WAY TOO MUCH commercialization breaks—now even with side-by-side commercials going DURING a game or event! It is irritating as all DUCKIN’ EFFIN interferences! As if we don’t have enough noise & interference in our lives already!!! 😠 And do I need to go off about how brutally invasive companies/corporations are today on our dayum cell phones now!!!? Geeezzzz, it is noisy interference out tha WHAZOOO with no Preparation H handy!!! 🤬

            Yes, money, money, MONEY… and more money!!!

            Liked by 1 person

            Comment by Professor Taboo — July 31, 2021 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

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