People, myself included, have an ability to pretend that their decisions don’t have consequences for themselves, that the bad things that have happened to them in their lives are the results of other people’s decisions or actions against them. This willingness to give up control over their own lives to other people or institutions seems to give them an “out.” It’s not their fault. It’s the fault of other people.
The Way of Kings has been sitting on my shelf for years. Brandon Sanderson was a guest at When Words Collide 2014 and I, along with many others, received a free copy of this book. It’s sat there because the book is big and time has been short. Ironically, when time is shortest now that I have a kid, I decided to read this book and I’m glad I did, all because of Kaladin, my favourite character.
Kaladin dreamt of being an honourable soldier when he was a child and carried those dreams right into his life as a soldier. Considered lucky or stormblessed, people followed him because they have a higher likelihood of surviving with him. Being considered lucky set up the belief that others, spirits or deities, acted on him to bring this good fortune. So when his “luck” turned, when he became a slave and then a bridgeman, he wondered why all these bad things were happening to him. Why have the gods targeted him so? On page 993, Kaladin says “The Almighty cursed the Lost Radiants for betraying mankind. What if I’m cursed too, because of what I’m doing?”
Kaladin’s journey comes to a point where he has to decide if he is a victim or the architect of where he is right now. Did the decisions he made prior result in his current situation?
His journey is so interesting to me, especially when all that he does is try to act honourably. I have always believed that people should act fairly. However, making honourable choices can have unpleasant or negative consequences. For example, by choosing to pick up a co-worker’s slack, you hide from your supervisor that co-worker’s negligence. Do you support the team and just get the work done or do you let the client down and allow that negligence to come to light? Either one has unpleasant consequences for you and your team but ultimately the choice is yours.
Our choices have consequences, no matter the intent that informed them.