Willing AND Able?

Tom Leu

“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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One thought on “Willing AND Able?

  1. “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”


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