A fresh take on ideas and trends in Human Capital

Harnessing Willpower

“We are too young to realise certain things are impossible, so we do them anyway” Wilber

“We are too young to realise certain things are impossible, so we do them anyway”



William Wilberforce, an astounding man that was key in the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. In a time when slavery was the norm and where a great deal of the establishment and economy relied on it Wilberforce resisted it all and achieved his goal for the pure reason that it was his motivation to do so. He shared this kind of attitude with his friend William Pitt who is famous for becoming Britain’s youngest Prime Minister at 24. Considering it was the late 18th Century where traditions were law of the land it is inspirational that these two had the determination to defy what is expected of them. By this time it might be a bit obvious I have been watching the film “Amazing Grace” and that I’m a bit of a history nerd but bear with me I do have a point!

A career is a job that you’ve made a part of your life, its part of your identity and this is true more now in the 21st Century than it ever has been in the past. While people are now expected to go through several jobs in their life time they’ll still be defined by their career, it’s something that follows a person throughout their life.  Of course you only will accept something as a career if you’re happy with it, a child who has to take over his parent’s business may not have the passion in them to make it their career which means they’ll be in it for all the wrong reasons. The best way to motivate someone is to engage with them as the person, money and fear will only get short lived results but if you make the goal apart of who the individual is that person shall put their entire willpower behind that. That’s what identification of career motivation is, the harnessing of willpower.

Now for the fun cheat code to life, you don’t have to give people passion, they will have found it themselves! Everybody has some form of passion, borderline obsession or fascination in an area that can be turned into a career. There was a time when parents would hold back tears as their child “wasted” their time on YouTube, but now that child with the right support could be paying off their mortgage. If you put an individual in their element and give them the support and guidance they need they can do amazing things because their efforts are powered by the limitless resource of willpower.

This breaking of expectation is giving people the liberty to do whatever they want to do. Any group that had previously been limited because of their gender, age or anything else have a chance now to do exactly what they want to do. #WomenInTech are showing for example that technology development is welcoming to everybody regardless of their gender. A career doesn’t have a gender or age limit so people shouldn’t have to worry about these kind of things when they want to take up what they love.

Once again it’s also about how are you, or your organisation, helping to support this career motivation in people. Are you using blind CV’s for example? These are plenty of options such as career development plans with employees and career guidance in schools. People may not know the options available to them or even what their own passion is, this is where experienced individuals can offer their support by giving them the career guidance and support they need. Just think what an individual could do if from the start of their career they are passionate about what they do. While progression of a career is a self-discovery pathway there is no reason you can’t put signposts on that pathway. Then once started you as a mentor can sit back and watch them do things you thought were impossible.