Are You Interested or Are You Committed?
Have you ever gotten excited about some new passion or hobby and decided to spend a sizeable amount of money or energy in pursuit of this new interest? Maybe it was a weight-loss program that promised to deliver results in 90 days, or maybe a business venture that claimed to double your money with minimal effort. Whatever the scenario, your interest was high, and so you made a commitment based on your current emotional status. This happens often, and while this may feel like the right thing to do at the moment, it’s the absolute wrong way to make a decision. Committing to things you only have an interest for is a surefire way to guarantee failure.
Interest is fleeting – here today and gone tomorrow. It lacks the necessary components that help us stick to our decisions: connection to purpose and self-image, a willingness to sacrifice, assumed risk/reward potential – all part of what creates inner commitment. Without this, it becomes difficult to stay with our decision when times get tough or when seemingly better options present themselves. This is one reason many marriages end in divorce – they made a decision to commit, but they were never truly committed. They were interested, gave it a chance, then when things got hard, or when someone ‘better’ came along their interest waned and the commitment faded.
The act of making a commitment is wholly an external process; it’s setting a goal, making a declaration to ourselves and others that we will do a certain thing or behave a certain way. Being committed is something altogether different – it’s about priority, conviction, and dedication. It’s the willingness to do whatever it takes to keep the commitment intact. If the commitment we make is not high priority or we don’t have strong conviction and dedication supporting our decision, we may be highly interested, but we’re not truly committed. We’re just going through the motions. There is a world of difference that lives between interest and commitment. It’s important to be aware of this difference, especially as it relates to how we make decisions and enter into commitments. Committing to something we’re not truly committed to is a recipe for disaster. Making this a habit in our life will compromise our integrity and jeopardize our ability to feel happy and fulfilled.
In the end, our word is our bond. If we don’t follow through on our commitments, it hurts our potential, our credibility and the people around us that we let down. One way to protect ourselves from entering into commitments that are doomed from the beginning is to be more aware of who we are, what we want and what we’re willing to sacrifice for what we want. A decision to commit should follow only if and when we know in our heart that we’re willing to do what it takes to see it through. This will mean we commit to a lot less, but it also means that when we do, it’s one we can believe in – and others can believe in our ability to stay true to our word.