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Commitment Posted on 10.07.2010 by greg.kuchyt
What does it take to be committed? What does it even mean to be committed? Can commitment even be defined or measured, or is it one of those things that you only know when you see it? In our society we idolize those who commit more than the average joe and put their extra-human accomplishments on a pedestal, what does this do to our own expectations/definitions of commitment? How much are you really willing to give in order to achieve your goals? If any of these points resonate with you, it’s possible you know the hunger of being fully committed to some larger goal.

While working on my undergrad I learned that in order to fully understand anything, you need to understand the definitions first. So, what is commitment? The dictionary definition includes “the act of binding yourself (intellectually or emotionally) to a course of action” as a definition. Dictionary definitions are nice, but in our society, words become so loaded with connotation they often become contextualized. So what I think commitment is, probably differs from what Joe Six-Pack (of beer) thinks it means. To borrow from Mark Twight, it means “the mobilization of all available resources to achieve a particular goal”. In short, commitment is wanting; it’s hunger. You have to want something before you can be committed, and the more concise that something is the easier it is to make a plan to get there. Second, you need to take action on that goal; to mobilize “all available resources” in an attempt to meet that goal.

If you ask someone what their goal for the next new year will be, there answer will be filled with optimism and lofty goals. If you ask them how they choose to accomplish that goal, they may even have a plan. How about when you check back in around March? Ask them what they’ve done to accomplish their goal, and you’ll probably get a reply with a lot less optimism. More likely, you’ll get a lot of excuses. The excuses aren’t necessarily a sign of laziness or a sign of any inability to commit. The excuses are a handy comfort mechanism we use to dull the sting that results from having nothing to show for all the talk.

Why is it then that committing to goals is something that so many people falter on? It’s hard, plain and simple. Truly committing to something takes, as Twight side, the mobilization of all available resources. That means everything you have goes into achieving your goal. You don’t half ass work, you don’t get to blow off the things you need to do to succeed, you work, pay attention, learn, adapt, and grow. The completion of a goal is more an expression of the journey taken to get there and this is reflected in the accomplishment. Hard & honest work will yield stronger results than half-assed, dishonest work.

So what is commitment? It’s hiking in the rain to check out your project, knowing full well you won’t be able to climb it. It’s training when you should, but don’t want to. It’s leaving the doubles on the ground, forcing yourself to work with the gear you have. It’s the countless other examples of actions taken in the pursuit of some larger goal. So while we can split hairs about what commitment means, it’s always something you know when you see.