I spent the summer thinking about this concept. What is the value of commitment? It obviously has potential value, bit precisely, what is the value?
BTW, when I say it has potential value, I do not just refer to getting something done. I mean value to the self.
Keep in mind that commitment does not always add value. When we commit to a process that doesn’t work, we can get in trouble. And a majority of starter uppers do just that. This type of failure can create a “loser complex”.
And keep in mind that we are talking about various types of commitments. Not just the big ones, like getting married or having kids or performing at work. We make commitments every day about all sorts of stuff. And often we fail to keep them. Like losing ten pounds by summer. Ooops! What went wrong?
This got me thinking about an aspect of commitment that I had not considered to be that important. I had thought of commitment as an end point. A decision that ends freedom to choose. But with each commitment, we also open the door to next steps. Commitment can be seen as starting point rather than end point
I was reminded of my younger days.As a lad, I rebelled from commitment. The reason was staring me in the face. I did not like what my dear old dad’s commitment to his career had tone to his personality. He was too grumpy. Too distant from people. Too driven. I didn’t want to live that way. Bad end point. So I rebelled.
I thought of this as freedom from commitment. And because of that, I didn’t, I didn’t take my rebellion too seriously. I allowed it to turn into drifting. And as a drifter, I couldn’t figure out how to take a next step. I became paralyzed by my own introspection.
At a certain point, i got fed up with it and committed to go to law school. That got me started on a new chapter of my life and a new learning cycle.
Commitment as the start of learning. That may be a more precise way of describing the value of that type of decision for the self. Not as an end point, but as a starting point that empowers us to take next steps.
There is an added bonus to this. Our minds instinctively form beliefs about what is going on around us. Each of these beliefs has its own logic for taking additional steps. That is why commitment has a domino effect. We tend to act in a manner that is consistent with our beliefs — even unconsciously. But steadily.
So as you go through your day, you might ask yourself more frequently, what am I committed to here? What commitments are pushing me forward? If you can’t answer, it is time for a re-set.