Authentic engagement usually increases when we make a fundamental choice. The term fundamental choice comes from the work of Robert Fritz (1989). He tells us that a fundamental choice has to do with our state of being or our basic life orientation. It is a choice to live in a certain way. It is different from what he calls primary and secondary choices. Primary choices are about specific results.
“There are many people who have chosen the religious path (primary choice), without making the fundamental choice to live in accordance with their highest spiritual truths. There are many people who have chosen to be married (primary choice), without making the fundamental choice to live from within a committed relationship…Fundamental choices are not subject to changes in internal or external circumstances. If you make the fundamental choice to be true to yourself, then you will act in ways that are true to yourself whether you feel inspired or depressed, whether you feel fulfilled or frustrated, whether you are at home, at work, with your friends, or with your enemies…When you make a fundamental choice, convenience and comfort are not ever at issue, for you always take action based on what is consistent with your fundamental choice [Fritz, 1989, p.193].”
To make a fundamental choice is to enter the state of authentic engagement. To be authentic is to be genuine, actual, legitimate, true, real, pure, and uncorrupted. We become authentic by being true to what is highest in us. We do this by committing to live by principle to do what is right even when it is not pleasurable. In the normal state, we flee pain and pursue pleasure. It is unnatural to do otherwise. Yet when we make fundamental commitments, we are choosing to be unnatural. We choose, if our commitment requires it, to embrace pain and sacrifice pleasure. We become positive deviants, extraordinary people.