When you keep your commitments, you are able to produce some different kinds of results in your life. So, can we keep our commitments and do we keep all our commitments? No, we don’t, you will not be at 100%. However, you will have a greater percentage rate of maintaining your commitments to yourself. Whatever those things might be; if it going to business, if it’s changing a habit that you know works against you, if its overcoming self-destructive behaviour, if it’s retraining your thinking, if it is reinventing yourself, if it is trying to begin to design your relationships differently… All of us have the possibility – by focusing and really harnessing our attention and concentrating on it; we really have available to us, the power to honour those commitments in those particular areas.
No one would go and get on an aeroplane if you thought your chances of getting to your destination were as good as your luggage. The reason why you will reach your destination more times than your luggage will is because the airline (and am glad that they do) has made it a priority to move human beings from one point to the other safely. Not send you off to Boston or someplace with your luggage. So, am not really upset when my luggage doesn’t show up, am glad they delivered me because they have made me a priority. See they have made delivering you to your destination important. So you want to honour your commitment, whatever you decide that you are going to do, make sure you make it important, make sure it is a priority, and keep it before you.
Whatever that you want to do, whatever you want to begin to create and begin to manifest your greatness and strengthening your level of commitment, and it’s really exercising your will.
That you can do it. This year I decided that I was going to exercise so I start up by just doing 10 sit-ups and 10 push-ups, I know I can do that and not get upset about it. I can do that without thinking. So, I start out small, now am up to 50 but if I tried to do 50 starting out I wouldn’t still be doing it. I started doing it in manageable segments. Do that; that strengthens your will so your commitment now is strengthened and fortified by the act of actually doing it!
So now, I can expand and build from there. When I decided to begin to manage my money differently, and I started saving 5% of my money, then I increased it to 10%, then to 15%, so now I have disciplined myself to live off 75% of my income. I took discipline to do that but I started watching how I was spending my money. I started watching the law and following myself. So, you want to begin by finding something that is manageable, that you know that you can do.
That won’t let you off the hook. That won’t tolerate anything less than the best from you. People that will support you in this new way of being, in this new state of consciousness. Have people that will hold you accountable for your commitments.
See, many times when you make a commitment to do something, there are some other variables that will happen that you can’t control or you perhaps did not think about. So, you ought to have some other plans going on. You want to become creative. See, most people do not keep their commitment cause when something goes wrong, they just stop! They don’t have a contingency plan. So, they don’t know what to do next, start being creative. If you challenge yourself, many people say “I don’t know what to do” and I always ask myself but if you did know what to do Les (that’s my name) what will you it be?
That activates another part of my mind; I start thinking about the possibilities and just experimenting. But many of us just stop and dare not to try “I don’t know what to do.” You do know what to do; you’ve got genius in you! Challenge yourself, push yourself, make yourself, come up with something. Use your imagination. And what you will find is that you know more than you realize that you know. That you are more creative and resourceful than you realize you are.
And as you do that the more you do it, the easier it will become. At first, it’s going to be a struggle and after you get into a certain level of consciousness you will ask yourself “how is it that I didn’t see this before?”
At the level that am managing my business now, they say consciousness is what we are. I literally look at myself and say how is it that I didn’t do this before? Why is it that I couldn’t see this before? And the reason I didn’t see it before is that I didn’t challenge myself. I didn’t put myself out here. The reason why most of us go through life never discovering our true greatness (literally walking, breathing corpses); is because we are not committed.
The uncommitted life isn’t worth living. Why? Because it doesn’t produce anything! See, you only make things happen, your life only counts, you only make a difference when you are committed. When you make a commitment with your life! The people that make a commitment with their lives, the people that make a commitment to their customers, the people that make a commitment to their families, the people that make a commitment to their relationships are the people that make the greatest impact in life.
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Commitment is the salesperson who says look here am going to make 1,000$ today and am not going home, you can turn the lights out, the janitors could be here running the vacuum cleaner, am not leaving here till I do it!
I used to be a door-to-door salesman and I had x no. of TV’s I had a minimum amount that I knew I had to sell every day in order to provide for my mother who was ill at the time. Who had lost her job at the M & M Cafeteria because of arthritis. And I said I am going to go door-to-door and sometimes I would not come home until 1 o’ clock at night, knocking on people’s doors, people closing “What do you want?”Would you like to buy a nice working television set no money down?“No!”” What about an interesting TV?”” No!”” Thank you very much. Would you know anybody else that would be interested?” “No!” “Thank you.”
Knock on another door. “Would you like to buy a nice working television set no money down.” “No, get away from my door!” “Thank you very kindly. Do you know anybody else that would be interested?” “Yes, my cousin, he lives two doors down”. “Thank you very much I will tell him you sent me.” I go two doors down and knock, someone opens, your cousin told me you would want to buy a new television set told me to come here talk to you we’ve got a special discount for you.” “Yes come in, am interested.”
I would just keep right on. I would not go home until I did it. It is an interesting thing ladies and gentlemen, that when we put ourselves in a situation where we say we are going to do it. It puts you on another zone where the universe responds to you. When you have that kind of consciousness. See, the universe responds to the man or woman that refuses to be denied because that is your commitment.
That business that you want, that book you want to write, that dream that you have of controlling your destiny, that is yours – that power to create that and to manifest that – that is yours! That’s available to you but you’ve got to be willing to stand there and face disappointment; not have support, feel lonely, doubt yourself sometimes, be rejected, again and again, become bankrupt if necessary, again and again, and again. And refuse to turn around until life gives it up!
Nothing can resist a person that has that kind of commitment. The people that have made a difference in the planet; when John F. Kennedy said we will go to the moon, in the next decade he spoke it, that was a commitment and he shared that vision. People bought into that.
We’ve had all kinds of examples in history, where people have made declarations, who have committed their lives to bring about a difference. There are people who are taking a stand today against hunger, I guarantee you it will be a part of our past at some point in time.
Someone took a stand against polio, it no longer plagues us as it once did because someone said it is my commitment to eradicate it from the face of the earth. Someone made the commitment.
The reason that we are here and enjoying the democracy that we have is because someone made a commitment! Whatever is required, if it means that I die. I remember Paul Robeson “here I stand for, I can do no other” And that’s how we must be.
Commitment means standing up for your life. It means honouring yourself. It means beginning to see and recognize your alignment and oneness with the universe. And that you are channelled for life to express through; and we short-circuit it with anger, fear, envy, laziness, apathetic giving up easily. Why? We say ooh it’s too hard, we don’t challenge our spirit!
Ladies and gentlemen, there is nothing as powerful as the human spirit. You can’t destroy the human spirit, You can pervert it but you can’t destroy it. I was reading man search for meaning by Viktor Frankl. What a powerful book. I am reading it now for the seventh time. And he gives so many graphic examples of the power of the human spirit. And so, what are some of the things that can fortify us and give us the kind of inner strength that will allow us to forward ourselves into the future by manifesting our commitment.
Commitment means in some cases going back to school, getting some training, sitting up in classes with people younger than you. Putting yourself in a position where you don’t know and it is awkward and uncomfortable but because of your commitment to develop yourself, or to go back to school to get a high school diploma, to get a college degree; that is doesn’t matter feeling dumb and saying what am I doing here sitting up in some boring class.
Commitment can mean a lot of things, it could mean that you begin to go back, you got to back up sometimes. Back up and not give up to regroup, back up and regroup and come back again because life is wailing at you because you got knocked down.
I know when I was working on my dreams, there were times, I lost my house at one point, I lost my car, I was broke, my credit was bad, I was sleeping at different friend’s houses on their couch or on the floor. There were times, months when I slept on the floor of my office and got up early and dressed before my staff got there to give them the impression that I got there early before they did. And we all pretend to not know what we knew that the boss was staying in the office. So, we never talked about it. But I refused to give up on my dream, and what happened, they say, in the prosperous years you put it in your pocket and in the lean years, you put it in your heart. It makes me appreciate it even more. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The disappointment, the pain that I have gone through by keeping the commitment.
Keeping the commitments that you have might mean taking the stand that is unpopular. Something was said one time: when you take a position cowardice asks the question “is it safe?” politics asks the question “is it popular?” but conscious or commitment ask the question “is it right?” And see most people rather operate from the first two; is it safe for me to take this position?
I remember when I was a state legislator; I saw guys and women who believed in legislation very strongly but because of the speaker of the house said we won’t go with that, they backed down! And they felt bad about it. They wouldn’t take the position because they didn’t want the speaker of the house to be angry at them. They wanted to be alright with all of the rest of our colleagues.
See, it takes a great deal of strong courage and commitment on your part to step out alone. Henry David Theroux said a man doesn’t keep pace with his companions perhaps his listening to the beat of a different drummer, let him dance to the music that he hears, however, measure it will fall apart.
When you are committed, you are dancing to the beat of a different drummer, don’t expect people to understand you. Don’t expect it to make sense to anybody why you got to do this. Why you’ve got to go. Why do you leave? This is a good job, am going, they pay you well, am going. You just a few years from retirement, am going, why? I don’t understand. You don’t have to.
That does happen. Just own it. Don’t make any excuses, on why you gave in or why you didn’t come through. Just own it. Face the flag whatever it is and stand up inside yourself.
How did you get here? What happened that you broke down, that you had a breakdown and you surrendered? What happened? What was going on?
See, when I used to go on a diet, and I no longer do that, I’ve made a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. I used to eat up until 12 midnight on Sunday, anything that wasn’t moving and on Monday I would get up and eat a fruit for breakfast and for lunchtime, I would fix some boiled chicken and meticulously peel the skin off and eat the chicken and then eat the skin. Do 5 sit-ups look in the mirror and become discouraged because my stomach does not look like a washboard or one of the Alvin Ailey dancers. And I would say what the use, then I would go to the refrigerator and eat food cold while standing right there at the refrigerator.
So, when I evaluated where I broke down, I realized that I can’t have junk food in the house. So I changed my route, I stopped taking people to lunch or dinner because I wouldn’t watch them eat. When I had to go to someplace and speak and they were eating I would say come for me downstairs when it is time for me to speak. Because if I sat at the table looking at them, the food is going to call my name. And I know this, so I had to begin to make sure that I wasn’t putting myself in a position where I would give up on my commitment. I hope this makes sense to you.
So, I began to strategize around avoiding situations where I knew I would have to become weak. Another thing I do when I don’t keep my commitment is I either deny myself something or I do a tradeoff. If a glazed doughnut takes advantage of me, then I require myself to do an extra 25 sit-ups or I walk for an extra 15-20 minutes because I have a hammer-lock on my head that says come on over here. So, you might want to deny yourself something or do a tradeoff. Do something that will offset it.
So what you fell flat on your face, start again. Learn from experience and start again don’t quit or count yourself out. Don’t sentence yourself to a lifetime of being miserable. To a lifetime of being broke, a lifetime of being unhealthy, a lifetime of being in a relationship that is no longer fulfilling to you, a lifetime of working on a job that doesn’t bring you satisfaction- that is not giving you the creative urge that you need and that got-to-have that stimulates you. Don’t sentence yourself to that.
You are a human being don’t volunteer your life that way. Your life has too much value to the universe. You’ve got to do something to contribute; you’ve got something to give. So what you make a commitment and you are not able to do it like a pro? That you are not as good as everybody else, live in the moment! I like what this says “look to this day for it is life, the very life of life, in its brief course lie all the realities and verities of existence. The bliss of growth, the splendour of action, the glory of power, for yesterday is just a dream and tomorrow a vision, but today, today well lived makes yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well therefore to this day.”
See, we if we just start enjoying where we are and we make that kind of commitment to enjoy where we are, to experience the experience of life where we are, to do all we can right now where we are, forget about the mistakes yesterday, forget all your yesterday’s failures, forget about what you don’t have; that’s not important, the only thing that we have is right now. Life is calling on you to call forth on that.
The optimist which I think is one of the most positive groups in the world, have what they call the optimist creed. They say, promise yourself but I change it to commit yourself because I believe that commitment has more power than promise. It says commit yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind, to talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet, to make your friends feel that there is something in them, to look at the sunny side of everything, and make your optimism come true. To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and expect only the best, to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. To forget the mistakes of the past, and press on the greater achievements of the future, to wear cheerful continence at all times, and give every living creature you meet a smile. To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble. Commit yourself to these things. Isn’t that powerful? What a commitment to make with your life.
Commit yourself to stretch, to get outside of your comfort zone And, not be concerned, about what people think about you because they are thinking it anyhow. Don’t worry about what they will say, they are already saying it. So what do you care? Decide that your life has so much meaning to the planet. Decide that you have something to give. That’s why you are here.
See, you didn’t just show up, you brought something here, you are on a journey, you have a destination- mission to achieve, to do, to implement, to perform, to experience. Decide to commit yourself to be an adventurer in life. Look out on life around you, look within yourself, and say where is it in my life that I need to make a commitment right now? Where is it? It might be for your health, it might be to be a happier person, it might be to make a difference in your community, It might be that. Where is it?
I say that commitment shows up and the man or woman who has some idea, some dream that they have been nurturing within themselves and no one believed it, no one saw it for them, that they weren’t masters at it, they weren’t experts at it, no one would build a statue and ever call their name and recognize them. They never made it to the front page of the newspaper, but they had something that was theirs. Something that was their baby, something that they loved and they believed in. And they just did what they could with what God gave them, with their dream.
Commitment shows up and people who are willing to give themselves a chance, who look at their lives, look within themselves, and say I know, I know, that this just cannot be it for my life. I know that there is something that I am supposed to do, I don’t know right now or maybe you do know but you have talked yourself out of it and I understand that, because I am late, No! Everything happens as it should, I got the courage to step up to become committed, I was seriously not serious before and I decided, it took me some time to build up the courage to become committed because it frightened me.
So, I understand wrestling with, I wish I could tell you I have been doing this for 20 years but I haven’t. I am just glad that I decided to become committed before I left here.
And wherever you are, decide that you are going to commit your life now and let it show up in your contribution. Let it show up in what you have to share. And whatever commitment that you make, honour your commitment as yourself. Honour your word as yourself. Whatever you put out there, do it with what you’ve got it.
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