When Will Meets Willingness
The definition of will is desire combined with determination. Will propels you to take the first step in anything you undertake. Whether
it’s a desire to play a sport, start a company, or redecorate
your house, it is your will that pushes you to take action.
The only problem with this paradigm is that
life has a mind of its own. The best laid plans rarely unfold the
way you imagined, and using just your will to continue to push through
can quickly become stressful.
So what’s wrong with will? Nothing,
really. It’s just that, as much as will is powerful, it was
never designed to take you all the way to the finish line alone.
That’s where willingness comes in.
To get a feel for how will and willingness operate,
try this experiment: Imagine something you need to accomplish,
such as complete a work project, or tackle a list of errands.
Now, while imagining your goal, will yourself to get it done. Notice what happens—your breathing,
Now shake it out, and imagine your goal again, this time trying
on willingness. Again notice what happens in the breath and in
If you’re like most people, there will
be a discernible difference. Will feels like work; it takes effort.
Willingness is the opposite; it feels like a letting go.
This distinction is important because
in order to accomplish anything in life, both will and willingness is necessary. Use your will to state your intentions, clarify your
goals, and take the necessary steps. Then use your willingness to notice what comes into your experience, to make adjustments,
and even change course if need be, and ultimately let go of
Sound difficult? That’s the irony; even though willingness takes less effort, most people find it more difficult to do. That’s
because it’s hard to let go of how you think things should
go. But the price you pay—emotional stress, even physical
ailments—is undeniably high.
Willingness is an art. It takes practice and trust—trust
in your own resources and resilience, and trust that life has a
wisdom all its own. Being willing to partner with this wisdom is
what achieving true success is all about.
Until next time…