The end of a year – or some other significant period – is often accompanied by a reflective mood which leads us to consider past experiences, changes, achievements, and our pending or unfinished projects. All that we might have done and which, for some reason, we never carried out.

This last can provoke some suspicion and even a feeling of frustration. This is especially so when we think of the intentions and themes that have been recurrent in our lives and that we can’t obtain. Others initially seemed very simple but ended up abandoned. Not for nothing is all of this indicated in humor, how the gyms are as crowded in January as deserts are in December.

What’s necessary to meet these goals? If we were to ask this question to a dozen people, it’s very likely that many would reply with ideas like willpower, perseverance, and a firmness of intention. Others might advise us on methods for adopting new habits. They might speak of scheduling, strategies, and even tricks for “deceiving ourselves” to get what we want.

In all these cases, majority opinion encourages “ability,” that is, to overcome our doubts, to calibrate our sights, and thus with a newly determined step, to conquer what we want so badly.

But isn’t that exactly what we’ve done all along? We set ourselves to a task. We take the first steps toward to achieving it. We make plans. We dedicate time. That is, we subject it to will. And so? What happens? Have you never thought, “if you can dream it, you can achieve it”?

With a certain subversive spirit, it might be convenient to think differently of these goals, repeated as they are, in our New Year resolutions. Maybe, after so much insistence, it’s time to accept that we can’t.

The idea may seem defeatist and may be, therefore, rejected. Before abandoning the reading of this article, we ask that you allow us to present a few arguments.

1-6 
What’s wrong with accepting that we can’t do something? Nothing really. In fact, if we review just briefly the biographies of prominent people, in all areas, we’ll discover that the history of their achievements is inseparable from the history of their defeats.

We now dread the idea of “inability.” There’s a kind of shame in accepting that we can’t, largely because contemporary culture lives under quite the opposite idea. Our supposed unlimited capacity is to always be able, and with everything, to think that our will is always sufficient to obtaining whatever we may want.

What might happen if we accepted that we can’t? From the start, we feel relief. The pressure of power is usually overwhelming and, in that sense, giving it up is experienced as walking away from a burden, or freeing yourself from a great weight.

It’s not a defeat because we’re not accepting that we can’t abandon our projects, our dreams, nor our desires. On the contrary, one might speak of a “strategic withdrawal,” an interruption which allows us to better understand the conditions of our projects, and our own conditions. Wanting something means asking ourselves why we want it, what we’ve done so far to achieve it, what resources we can put into play to make it a reality. It might be said that to want is to be unable.

It’s not then a problem of will. Or not only. Sometimes it’s necessary to realize that our determination can’t do everything. We need to stop, reflect, take some detours, reconsider. And we also ask for help, and we re-associate ourselves. Remember that in reality, our projects are never individual, but the result of the many, of cooperation and of shared effort.

If, at the end of this year, you’re going to re-write a list of New Year’s resolutions, do it! Don’t be discouraged if it’s the third or fourth time you’ve done it. But, this time, approach it from this new perspective: not individually, but from a cooperative stance; not as a completed and successful project, but as a work in process; not with certainty, but with unpredictability; not as an emanation of your own will and ingenuity, but as a more humble and modest task: like the steps children take when learning to walk: trembling, hesitant, always looking for something and someone to lean on. They want to walk, but they can’t. Not yet.

 

 

Image: 1) Wikimedia Commons 2) Creative Commons

The end of a year – or some other significant period – is often accompanied by a reflective mood which leads us to consider past experiences, changes, achievements, and our pending or unfinished projects. All that we might have done and which, for some reason, we never carried out.

This last can provoke some suspicion and even a feeling of frustration. This is especially so when we think of the intentions and themes that have been recurrent in our lives and that we can’t obtain. Others initially seemed very simple but ended up abandoned. Not for nothing is all of this indicated in humor, how the gyms are as crowded in January as deserts are in December.

What’s necessary to meet these goals? If we were to ask this question to a dozen people, it’s very likely that many would reply with ideas like willpower, perseverance, and a firmness of intention. Others might advise us on methods for adopting new habits. They might speak of scheduling, strategies, and even tricks for “deceiving ourselves” to get what we want.

In all these cases, majority opinion encourages “ability,” that is, to overcome our doubts, to calibrate our sights, and thus with a newly determined step, to conquer what we want so badly.

But isn’t that exactly what we’ve done all along? We set ourselves to a task. We take the first steps toward to achieving it. We make plans. We dedicate time. That is, we subject it to will. And so? What happens? Have you never thought, “if you can dream it, you can achieve it”?

With a certain subversive spirit, it might be convenient to think differently of these goals, repeated as they are, in our New Year resolutions. Maybe, after so much insistence, it’s time to accept that we can’t.

The idea may seem defeatist and may be, therefore, rejected. Before abandoning the reading of this article, we ask that you allow us to present a few arguments.

1-6 
What’s wrong with accepting that we can’t do something? Nothing really. In fact, if we review just briefly the biographies of prominent people, in all areas, we’ll discover that the history of their achievements is inseparable from the history of their defeats.

We now dread the idea of “inability.” There’s a kind of shame in accepting that we can’t, largely because contemporary culture lives under quite the opposite idea. Our supposed unlimited capacity is to always be able, and with everything, to think that our will is always sufficient to obtaining whatever we may want.

What might happen if we accepted that we can’t? From the start, we feel relief. The pressure of power is usually overwhelming and, in that sense, giving it up is experienced as walking away from a burden, or freeing yourself from a great weight.

It’s not a defeat because we’re not accepting that we can’t abandon our projects, our dreams, nor our desires. On the contrary, one might speak of a “strategic withdrawal,” an interruption which allows us to better understand the conditions of our projects, and our own conditions. Wanting something means asking ourselves why we want it, what we’ve done so far to achieve it, what resources we can put into play to make it a reality. It might be said that to want is to be unable.

It’s not then a problem of will. Or not only. Sometimes it’s necessary to realize that our determination can’t do everything. We need to stop, reflect, take some detours, reconsider. And we also ask for help, and we re-associate ourselves. Remember that in reality, our projects are never individual, but the result of the many, of cooperation and of shared effort.

If, at the end of this year, you’re going to re-write a list of New Year’s resolutions, do it! Don’t be discouraged if it’s the third or fourth time you’ve done it. But, this time, approach it from this new perspective: not individually, but from a cooperative stance; not as a completed and successful project, but as a work in process; not with certainty, but with unpredictability; not as an emanation of your own will and ingenuity, but as a more humble and modest task: like the steps children take when learning to walk: trembling, hesitant, always looking for something and someone to lean on. They want to walk, but they can’t. Not yet.

 

 

Image: 1) Wikimedia Commons 2) Creative Commons