For those of you who remember my friend Arthur Reigal, he used to say that commitment is the thing that helps you follow through with the thing you said you would long after the feeling has left when you said you’d do it.
Enthusiasm has a half life. No matter what our feelings are about whatever you commit to, everything will eventually change. This is when people fall out of love, stop working on a project that they’re passionate about, give dogs back to the shelter, etc. etc. Humans change and how we feel changes. This can be good thing. But sometimes things should be left behind and sometimes things should be brought with us. Here’s where the mind games begin and where we lose many battles.
We’ve all been there. We get bored, it gets hard, something shiny comes up and the bargaining begins. And that part of you can drive a HARD bargain. Everybody has given up on something at some point. And everybody has felt regret or self doubt because of it. Sometimes it was a bad agreement and its good that you quit. You still need to look at why you committed to do something that was a bad plan. And if that’s the case why do you keep making bad plans and practice failure by quitting over and over?
For the rest of you quitters there’s good news. Quitting is often just a bad habit that needs to be broken. Like cracking your knuckles, picking your nose, or leaving your wet towel on the floor. You know who you are. They dynamics of commitment and quitting are simple once you’re aware of the underlying drivers creating which you do.
Change isn’t really that much of a mystery. Most of the time it’s not complicated it just requires us to commit and follow through. In many ways change is actually boring. It just takes doing something over and over and over until it’s done or integrated. I’ve known many of people who got their degree or even an MBA and it wasn’t because they had much more than the ability to commit and follow through. We’re all pretty smart.
Our perceptions around commitment are skewed. Some don’t make commitments so that we don’t fail at following through or we commit to something ridiculous and give up when reality sets in.
So… what drives commitment? Our values, making money, being happy, having an easy life? The the stratus of the need that the commitment fulfills effects how dire it is that we follow through. Physical needs… fairly easy. Gotta have electricity, right? There is also tangible evidence in shorter periods of time in this area.
Spiritual needs like change, evolution, and reaching higher states of consciousness… lot of bargaining and more rare. How do you really track being closer to god or feeling whole or experiencing prolonged periods of peace? These take a longer amount of time and evidence and tangible residual is less traceable.
What is a physical need that is short term and will provide clear trackable markers along the way? What does this fulfill? Why is this easier?
What is a spiritual need that is longer term and will be vague and difficult to track the progress? How will your life be different when you achieve this? Are you committed to do whatever it takes to get it?
Welcome to the ride.