Kusang-loob—it’s not just a tagalog term for free will, it’s the secret sauce that makes the difference between a job and a calling.
When we show up without kusang-loob, we’re just going through the motions. We are sleepwalking through our tasks, checking boxes, and watching the clock until it’s time to go home.
This lack of commitment is the first domino in a chain reaction that leads to procrastination, to the ‘just enough’ mentality that breeds mediocrity. And in a world that rewards the remarkable, mediocrity is a death sentence. It’s the mark of a professional who’s left their ‘art’ out of their ‘work.’
Now flip the script and consider the power of kusang-loob at work.
It’s about taking initiative (kusang-palo) , owning the room, and leading without a title. It’s what happens when we put our hearts into our crafts—when we bring our full selves to the job.
That’s when magic happens, when work stops being a four-letter word and starts being the canvas on which we paint our masterpieces.
It’s not about waiting for a muse or for inspiration to strike. No, it’s about discipline. Yes, the kind of discipline that’s in love with its routine. The discipline that delights in the grind, knowing that this is where the alchemy of turning the ordinary into the extraordinary takes place.
The path to the work you want to do—the work that matters—is paved with responsibility (pananagutan). Responsibility is the price of admission to the game of change. It’s not something you wait to be given; it’s something you grab with both hands.
With kusang-loob, you’re not just a cog in the machine; you’re the one who built the machine, who runs it, and keeps it humming.
And when you work with buong-loob, or wholehearted commitment, you’ll find that not only does your work stand out, but you also start to attract the kinds of challenges, people, and opportunities that make professional life not just bearable, but exhilarating.
This isn’t just a pep talk.
It’s a strategy for thriving in a world where so many have settled for surviving.
So let’s make a choice to work with kusang-loob until it becomes buong-loob.
Let’s decide to be professionals who don’t just do our jobs but excel at them.
Let’s be those who lead, who innovate, and who bring our full selves to the table.
Because in the end, those are the ones who don’t just change the game—they’re the ones who win it.