Uncomplicated Willingness

You’ve no doubt heard the name Betsy Ross as she occupies a significant place in the history of our great nation. Born the eighth of seventeen children to Quaker parents, Ross was thrice widowed, lost her mother, father and sister within days to yellow fever and eventually became blind herself, a fact which did not stop her from continuing to attend weekly meetings at the Free Quaker Meeting House. Remarkably, the many tragedies she experienced in life were overshadowed by her devotion to service and her many achievements as a wife, mother and entrepreneur.

According to oral history, three men – George Washington, Robert Morris and George Ross – came to Ross’ upholstery shop in 1777. Washington pulled a folded sketch of a flag with thirteen white and red stripes and thirteen six-pointed stars from his pocket and asked Ross if she could make the flag. Ross responded “I do not know, but I will try.”

Ross indomitable spirit was neither flashy nor arrogant, as was evidenced by her reply. That said, she overcame tragedy after tragedy through life, making history in the process.

How do you approach the unknown? Some cower before the unknown with trepidation and hesitation while others throw caution to the wind and rush in, even where angels fear to tread. Ross revealed an uncommon approach, that of an uncomplicated willingness to give it a try. “I don’t know, but I will try.”

How complicated is your willingness? Are there strings attached when you say yes to something? Caveats? Holdbacks? Apologies or excuses prior to starting? One of the qualities I admire most is the ability to greet the unknown with an unprejudiced heart, a clear mind and an uncomplicated willingness.

Prior experience and precedent established by others can teach you many valuable lessons, but you must take care that you do not become overly entombed in the past. Look to approach the opportunities that come your way with a remembrance of what worked and didn’t work in the past, but never make the mistake of assuming that the factors are exactly as they were, for they are not and you will likely miss something important if you’re not careful.

Say to yourself or out loud, “I don’t know, but I will try.” And mean it! Don’t give it a partial effort, give it your all, no matter how much you like or dislike the task at hand. Be honest in your effort, reconnect with something that inspires you when you are down and never, never give up!

6 thoughts on “Uncomplicated Willingness

  1. Colin

    To do this, you really have to be honest with yourself and not give up too soon. I think the people who say “I will give it a try” the most successfully are the ones who don’t know how to quit. These people will only be stopped by a serious block.


  2. Lady Leo

    Wonderful story. There were so many people at the particular time in history that had the same spirit. Whenever I read about a specific event or achievement that has helped us leap forward as people, always there is this spirit.


  3. Kolya

    I have always thought that anything is possible and love when I hear someone else thinking the same thing – it opens up so many possibilities. It’s always exciting to step into the unknown, take a chance and see if you can create something new!


  4. Rosa Maysen

    I don’t see any harm that can come from willingness to try. On the other hand there is much to lose from an unwillingness to try. I will remember this today!


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