Many people have issues around commitment. This is probably because of the loss of freedom that goes along with committing to something, or someone.
Think about it. If you commit to something, what happens? Right after you make the commitment, everything that is the opposite comes up to challenge your commitment. If you commit to stop using profanities in public… the next time you are in public something will happen that will seduce you to want to use a profanity.
Then you think, “What does it matter anyway?” or I will “just do it this one time.” Then before you know it, your commitment is worthless and you find yourself back at square one.
This is why so many people have difficulty following through on their commitments. It is so easy to make the commitment when you are feeling good and are thinking about the theory of it, and another matter altogether to do it. The doing part takes emotional energy that was not needed when you first made the commitment. It is the emotional energy or the emotional aspect of the commitment that carries you through the difficult times as your commitment is challenged.
If you commit to something because you were threatened in the moment, then when you take the threat away, the commitment goes with it. If you get swept up in the emotion of a moment and make a commitment, then when the momentary emotional drive is gone (for example in a meeting, or a company conference where everyone is excited about making a goal, objective or ideal happen) the commitment goes with it.
The best type of commitment and the most long-lasting are the ones that move you, so you emotionally commit. Then there is no going back. Your emotional energy going in the positive direction of what the essence of the commitment is all about, along with the spiritual reason behind it, will have you unwavering. Typically, a spiritual level commitment involves connecting with the higher purpose of the commitment. This usually involves the “greatest good for the greatest number of people.“
If you commit to too many things without taking the time to emotionally and spiritually commit to seeing them through, then you will end up overestimating what you can reasonably achieve. You will also make more commitments than you can keep.
Good As Gold
The key is to “make your word as good as gold,” which means that you make small commitments – and keep them – before committing to huge, big and overwhelming commitments. By making and keeping small commitments you build trust with yourself. Plus others will also trust you more.
And this trust is the essence of building lasting relationships and is the key to success as a leader.
Below is a quote from a book by William H. Murray. It’s an old one but relevant to this subject:
Until One Is Committed
William H. Murray (from his book “The Scottish Himalayan Expedition”)
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”
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