We can sometimes confuse willingness with wanting – and these are totally different things.
Some mornings we wake up and don’t want to do life. Sometimes it just seems like there is nothing we can do that will be any good anyway, so why bother?
This is where willingness comes in – I may not want to get up, dress, and go out to meet the world – but I am willing to do it anyway.
We can be willing to do things that we don’t want to do, when we know those are the things that will make us more productive and happier people.
But I hear the two terms confused many times, particularly in support groups. People are “waiting for the willingness” to change their habits. Or are “praying for the willingness” to put down the substance that is hurting them. I understand the confusion – I sometimes share it!
But being willing to do something just means that we grit our teeth and do it – we don’t have to wait until we want to do it. Often I find that the “wanting” stage comes long after the action – it is only in retrospect that I come to want to take an action.
Often the willingness to take action – the trudging doing of the right things – brings the rewards that bring happiness. And even when it seems that being willing isn’t enough – that the rewards didn’t come as we expected – it is still worth being willing to do the action anyway.
Because the simple – or even not so simple – action of taking the action anyway will become the reward.
When you know that this course of action is the right one, don’t wait to want to do it, just do it, and the willingness will come.