Don’t be fooled, willing is not always able

A few days ago, a good friend of mine, a magistrate by profession, an educated and serene man, over 60 years old, told me: “To will is to be able to do”. And he added with a circumspect tone: “if you set your mind to something, you can always achieve it. Will and determination move mountains and are essential in life”. I told him that I agreed, but with nuances, with many nuances.

Will and perseverance are two essential qualities to achieve the goals we have set ourselves, that is not in question. But not everyone has them in equal measure, nor can they be increased “to the consumer’s taste”. It is necessary to make a lot of effort, and sometimes even doing so does not achieve good results.

Each person is different

It is often forgotten that we have a predetermined biological structure and an organic framework from which it is very difficult to deviate. Some people are very tall, others are short. Some are very thin and others more plump. There are those with thin and delicate skin that burns when they sunbathe, and there are also those with skin rich in melanin that allows them to be exposed to the sun for very long periods of time. In short, there is a great variety and differences among human beings and this is due to different factors.

One is heredity, which is of paramount importance as it will be the framework that will have a decisive influence on our attitudes and biological variables. Another variable may be nutrition at key stages of development. The levels of certain hormones can also have an influence, even the atmospheric pressure or the type of education can be elements to take into account in the acquisition and maintenance of a certain character.

Therefore, we cannot rely on willpower, a mental function that in turn depends on genetic parameters. Consequently, it would be scientifically incorrect to say that “to will is always to be able to”. It would be much more appropriate to say: “To will is often to be able to, but not always”.

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And this is not a problem of grammatical or semantic style, but has great practical importance, since there are people who are inoculated from childhood with certain messages, and when they are adults and see that on many occasions they cannot get what they want, they become more frustrated than reasonable and overwhelmed thinking that they are incompetent and useless for not fulfilling the expectations they had defined.

One thing is the value of effort and perseverance, which no one doubts, and another is the obsession with personal capacity and competence, the result of irrational beliefs rather than proven evidence.

Attitude is important, but we all have limitations

We all have different attitudes. What does not exist is the individual ten, the perfect person. We all have multiple limitations, and sometimes, despite effort and perseverance, the desired goal is not achieved.

Do not always think that you are the one who has failed and who has not been tenacious enough, fighter or competent. Simply your capacity (aptitudes and attitudes) have not allowed you to get where you wanted to go. Accept it with serenity, reflect to see where is the slip and try again, but this time in another way, not in vain remember that: if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always obtained.

For more information, consult a specialist in Psychology.