Willing AND Able?

“Are you willing and able?”

It’s usually posed as a single question, when in fact, there are two very distinct things at play here. Willingness and ability are not the same thing of course, though we’re often led to believe they should be.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

And just because you should doesn’t mean you can.

Ability. This is about skill, talent and know-how. If you’re not properly qualified or trained to perform certain tasks or undertakings, then your choices are two-fold: 1) Learn how to do what you want to do or 2) Don’t do it. Get educated or move on to something else that you are qualified to accomplish successfully. Ability is largely external and, barring any mental or physical limitations, can be taught and learned, more or less.

Willingness. This is about desire, passion and interests. If you’re not willing to consistently do something… you won’t. Be honest with yourself when it comes to what you’re really willing to do in life. Whether it’s pertaining to a career, relationships, or your hobbies, people only stick with things they are passionate about or significantly interested in. For long-term commitment, true willingness must be present. Willingness is primarily internal and generally cannot be taught. One can be forced to be “willing” temporarily, but this is more accurately called obedience, not willingness.

Four scenarios pertaining to willingess and ability exist:

1) Willing and Able = A calling…

full of happiness, adventure, fulfillment, & contentment. (best case scenario)

2) Unwilling and Able = A job…

full of stability, security, restlessness, boredom, & wonder. (head-case scenario I)

3) Willing and Unable = A dream…

full of good intentions, excitement, anxiety, uncertainty, & unproductiveness. (head-case scenario II)

4) Unwilling and Unable = A waste of time…

full of dread, angst, apathy, & loathing. (worst case scenario)

So what to do if you find yourself stuck in scenario 2, 3, or 4 – where either willingness or ability, or both are absent?

the shiFt:

First, you may voluntarily leave the situation after you’ve had enough. Second, you may be asked to leave, or the situation may leave you after others have had enough. Or third, you may seek one or more vices, devices or distractions to cope with and endure the disconnect.

The take-away?

>> Pursue your passion that’s also your talent.

If you’re an “easier said than done” enthusiast, you’re likely stifled in scenario 2, 3, or 4 right now – and are likely a chronic excuse-maker and victim. The real question is… how long are you willing to stay there?

Only when the pain is great enough to exceed the need for excuses can real change take place.

Ask yourself if it’s a matter of can’t (unable) or won’t (unwilling). Big difference. Honestly answering this is the first step toward the solution.

Stay tuned-in…

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Go Your Own Way

This short video is of Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point, Outliers) discussing the band Fleetwood Mac’s story as an illustration of the – often – very long time it takes to truly become great at something. The comment below it prompted my reponse that follows:

“I don’t doubt he is correct about the time it takes to achieve greatness. To me this isn’t a big breakthrough. The hard part for most people is finding that special thing to put their energy into. Why aren’t more authors and thinkers pointing out this aspect of success?, identifying one’s callingbecause it’s only natural to devote energy to something when you believe it is really worthwhile. This is what I believe separates the top 5% from the rest (finding their niche) which isn’t easy!”  – coreydmont, YouTube comment

As a writer, observer and participant, here is my take:

Finding your niche… discovering your destiny… uncovering your calling… this is the hardest part of being “successful.”

Knowing the what you should be pursuing has to precede the how you’re going to get there. Many people get this backwards.

A lot of well-intentioned and ambitious people exert tremendous amounts of time and effort pursuing undertakings that are wrong for them. They get so wrapped up in the doing that they don’t stop to consider if what they’re doing is what they should be doing.

The what you should be doing is that which exists at the intersection of your passion AND your talent. A calling must marry one’s interest as well as their skills. It’s that thing you do that few others can do as well or as uniquely as you do.

It’s not enough to just enjoy something; it’s not enough to be good at something… one’s true calling or destiny or life’s work HAS to contain both elements. A passion for – and a knack for – must co-exist. Passion PLUS talent produces the necessary perseverance required to turn your calling into a career.

Next, this calling has to be specific and focused. No one can be good at everything… nor should you try. One must specialize and then organize. Countless hours, days, months, and even years can be saved if you really stop and consider the “what” before the “how.”

Once you know that… then do that… for as long as it takes. Maybe even for 10,000 hours over the next ten years

Real “success” is enjoying the journey doing what you’re supposed to be doing… to “Go Your Own Way” – regardless of the outcome.

Stay tuned-in…