The choices we make are powerful features in shaping our lives. The more consistently we follow a specific decision, the more impactful it becomes. Habits are the products of these consistent choices, and our habits show us who we actually are, not who we want to be.

In the book How to Speak Machine, the author John Medea presents a continuum on which those in the technology industry can act.

A technologist: I do because I can.

A humanist: I do because I care.

Medea calls himself a humanist technologist. His means of acknowledging the place for both perspectives and placing action because of care at the front.

I believe that this simple dichotomy of choice applies to everyone. We can all pause and ask ourselves those questions when we are trying to make a choice. Am I going to do this because I can or because I care?

I am working on building this short reflection into my daily actions. I want to make a habit of it. The more we make choices based on what we care about, the more clarity we will have of our sense of self. The more we resist doing something just because we can, the more we identify the actions that are filling our time and attention yet provide little reassurance of our identity or worth.

It’s a small and simple step I can take right now to get me toward understanding my own big picture question.