The Difference Between Willingness and Capability

People Are Often Not Capable of Doing Everything They Are Willing to Do

In the religious tradition I grew up in (and in society as a whole), there was and is a strong focus on the will.

The phrase that best embodies the idea of the will is “Just do it.”

Nike — just do it.

Nancy Reagan — Just say no.

It’s quick, simple, and has the appearance of common sense.

“I’m really struggling to stop drinking.” “Well, it’s important, isn’t it? Just do it.”

“I’m starting to have serious questions about God and faith.” “Just keep believing. Belief is a choice. Just do it.”

“I know I should be nicer to my wife and kids but it seems like no matter how hard I try, stupid and hurtful things keep coming out of my mouth.” “You don’t want to be a jerk, do you? Just be nice.”

But it’s not common sense at all. The fact is, there are many things we need to do, and many we need to stop doing, that we just aren’t capable of doing or stopping.

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