There is an old joke that as far as breakfast goes the pig is committed and the chicken is just involved.
Are you just involved in life or are you committed? During the Chinese crackdown on democracy at Tianemen Square there were many demonstrations about commitment. However, none seemed to capture the world so much as “Tank Man”.
Talk about commitment! He was willing to stand in front of oncoming ROLLING tanks. He realized that he was as committed as he could be to the ideals he stands for. John F. Kennedy has a favorite poem. It is Ulysses by Alfred Tennyson. You can read the whole poem at:
Ulysses - JFK's Favorite Poem
In the poem an old King looks back on younger days. However, in the last stanza he states:
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,–
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Not to yield? Never give up! Keep going! Keep striving to reach all those things that you have committed to. There are pledges and promises that you make constantly. You make these oaths to your friends, family, co-workers and to those who look up to you, whom you do not yet realize. They are your true audience. Challenge yourself to do the best you can at all things so that those who are watching, and oh so many are watching, can benefit from seeing true commitment. Edward Hale may have said it best:
I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do
The something that I can do.
I don’t care if you are one and ONLY one. You can make a difference. You can change the world!
Princess Diana talked about doing what you really believe you should do. That will help you to ensure that there is a deep commitment to complete all the tasks because You want to. She said:
“Only do what your heart tells you to.”
She saved hundreds, if not thousands with her efforts to remove landmines. Look at the first word she chose. ONLY!!!! Only do what will ensure that you keep your promises. Then you don’t have to worry about motivation as much.
Thomas Jefferson as he wrote the Declaration of Independence included these words. What a commitment they were. Would you sacrifice as much if needed?:
“We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour.”
Would you give up your life, fortune and even your honor to keep those commitments that you promise to deliver on. The founding fathers did!
What are your willing to give up to achieve that which means so much to you? What can you leave behind, so that you can move ahead. Your reputation, your “status”. Who cares what other people think. If you knew how little they think about you, you would not worry so much about what they think.
Spanish Conquistador Hernando Cortez upon reaching the Mexican continent had his 11 ships burned. Whether his men were committed or not, Cortez was. He was going to conquer the new world at any cost up to and including his own very life. No retreat, conquer or be conquered.
David McNally said, “Commitment is the enemy of resistance, for it is the serious promise to press on, to get up, no matter how many times you are knocked down.”
My father, Thomas L. Wheeler said once, “Rob its not how far you fall, but rather how high you bounce.”
We are going to get knocked down, bullied, told no, rejected, unrequited…etc. No matter how many times it hurts, we HAVE to get up. What number of times will it take you being knocked down to stay down. I say, I DON’T know yet and I ain’t gonna find out, ’cause I WILL get back up!
Vince Lombardi the great coach of the Green Bay Packers, talks about commitment from a team standpoint:
Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.
So, the individual has to commit to the team, company, society, work, civilization as a whole or whatever he or she is involved in for the whole to work as a team. So, there is an “I” in TEAM. The “I” is “I commit to the team!!”
Even the english language places importance on it. According to the dictionary, commitment is a noun. A noun is a person, place or thing. They are all concrete, physical, defineable stuff.
Here are some solid steps to handling commitments:
#1. Define the commitments you have made. Write them down.
#2. Define who they were made to. Again, write them down.
#3. Determine those you can keep -vs- those you will not.
#4. Go talk to the people whom you made the commitments you are NOT going to keep and apologize.
#5. Redouble your efforts to keep those which you will keep.
#6. Carefully consider all future commitments and don’t commit to those you can’t keep.
These steps may seem simple. However, they take time, emotion and effort. One of the biggest problems many of us experience is over-commitment. Your time is your most valuable asset protect it for you, your family and career to ensure that you can keep your promises.
Like the pig, Tank Man and Cortez, if you are going to commit. Doit! Go the whole way! If you are not, then don’t.