by David DeFord
Let’s start a new movement.
PETA promotes ethical treatment of animals. The Sierra Club promotes the environment. The Urban League promotes the advancement of a minority.
I’m prepared to form a new movement to promote the more widespread use of the word “will”.
Last week, I had one of those “aha” experiences. A religious teacher, whom I respect, made a small comment about her admiration for the word. At that moment, I realized its power.
The word “will” has multiple uses. It is short and purposeful. It’s a resolute word, and is used extensively by English speakers of every dialect.
Let’s look at a few of the uses of this powerful word.
n. a legal document specifying the disposition of a person’s property after death.
In this usage, the word speaks of legacy—not just of property—but of gifts, characteristics, attitudes, and tendencies.
Those with children know that their children watch the actions and attitudes of their parents. They mimic them precisely.
Not long ago, I watched my neighbor as he mowed his lawn. By his side, his three-year-old daughter pushed her toy mower in exact cadence with him. When he stopped and pulled his mower backwards, she copied him exactly. She synchronized to her actions to his so precisely that they seemed to have been choreographed.
Whether we have children or not, we leave legacies with others in our families, with our professional acquaintances, and with our neighbors and friends.
We may not use a legal document to bequeath our legacies, but the marks we leave on those around us are very tangible.
What legacy would you like to leave? Do you need to make some adjustments in order to leave the legacy you wish?
n. the power of choosing or deciding.
We have free will. We can choose our actions, our thoughts, our paths. Predestination is a myth.
We choose our destinations.
We choose our attitudes.
We choose our levels of happiness.
We choose our levels of affluence.
We choose our values.
And, we choose whether to live according to our values or to live counter to them.
We may feel locked in as if we have no options—but we always have options.
n. purpose or determination: the will to succeed.
A person with gifts and abilities will likely succeed. But one with determination will (there’s that word again) definitely succeed.
The difference between a gifted athlete and a star is in the will.
The difference in a talented sales executive and a member of the Million Dollar Club is in the will.
Tiger Woods is a talented golfer. What sets him apart from the rest of his competitors? Look closely at the determination in his face. He knows what he wants. He will let nothing stand in his way. He pursues championships like a tiger chases his prey.
n. disposition toward another: good will or ill will
We determine our attitudes towards others. We can focus on their flaws or their offenses. But we also have the free will to choose to look for the good in them.
Which approach do you think will bring about the best result?
auxiliary verb used to express futurity: I will be there.
In this usage, we forcefully state what we will do. We eliminate hedging.
Consider the difference in these two statements:
I may be there. I will be there.
The former expresses probability and passiveness, the latter certainty.
If we choose to live lives of certainty, true to our values, we will gain the determination to succeed, we will enhance our power to choose (free will), and we will leave more powerful and positive legacies.
So will you join me in my new movement to promote the greater use of the word “will”?
If we start with ourselves, our movement will grow. Legislations, boycotts, nor speeches will spread our cause—only quiet, purposeful, and determined personal actions.
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