We read often about the skills needed to do something. You need to be able to do this or that to accomplish anything. Athletic skill is something we marvel at. We envy people who seem smarter than we are. A person’s problem solving skills can appear so much better than ours. The simplicity with which a handyman fixes something amazes us. And so on.
A question rarely asked is what is the hardest human skill to develop? Without thought I might list forgiveness as the hardest. To be able to unconditionally love, we must freely forgive regardless of the person or act committed. So hard to do. Easier said than done.
A raised hand might share “to say no”. So many times people ask things of us that require our time to help them. Being raised to be polite, we automatically say yes even in situations where we don’t want to. For we want to be nice in the moment.
Someone in the back of the room may shout “to stay focused”. Bringing laughter and a stir of conversation amidst the group. As we cling to our phones. Embrace our laptops. And blindly follow our overbooked calendars and relentless deadlines.
With time and age, I find these possibilities worthy but limited by something much harder to do. Connecting intent with action towards realizing an outcome is the hardest skill to develop. Whether we describe a dream, state a goal, or are forced to change – this difficulty is present in all of us. Throughout our life.
Think of how hard it is to lose twenty pounds when we tell everyone about it. Learn how to cook a traditional Greek meal for the first time after we told our friends we will. Or make our first afghan, promising it to our daughter as she awaits her first newborn.
Describing the outcome is what traps us. We paint this picture with such ease. The detail in our descriptions are worthy of display in a museum. They seem so perfect & so complete. Declaring what we seek to do demonstrates our intention. When leading an organization, this is the first step in a process to realize a goal.
What’s missing on a personal level? We never seem to stop to figure out what needs to be done nor do we easily raise our hand to volunteer to do it. Because most times, it takes work, time, and effort to see something through. Discipline to get up the next day and do it again. Even when you don’t see any results. Persistence even when we lose focus. Nothing of value is easily accomplished.
Holding ourselves accountable for doing the work is never top of mind. Because the dream or goal could be described with such ease. We go easy on ourselves by simply saying we will do it “tomorrow”. Then days, weeks and months go by without progress.
Shrinking your dream or goal to a grain of sand indistiguashable in the desert. Easily forgotten. Difficult to find. Allowing our minds to race to paint our next picture forgetting that it requires us to be the main character that must rehearse diligintantly long before you can hear any applause or experience the joy of a finished product.