Do we excuse everything that doesn’t work out as being ‘just the process, just the journey’ or does that let us off the proverbial hook too easily?
And, does it really matter?
Hopes and ambitions don’t rest on anyone’s shoulders. They rest on our promises – and some of those are tricky – but I’ve become convinced the only ones that matter are the quietly internalized ones we make to ourselves. The rest of our promises too often have the shelf-life of stale milk and the value of political campaign rhetoric – both stink.
Easy ones are easy to keep.
I promise to be hungry every day. Easy peasy …
I promise to work hard [insert any good value here: i.e., work out, diet, read inspirations, do affirmations, send thank you notes, remember birthdays, do fun things I love, stay in touch with friends, say please + thank you, cross streets safely] every day. Just like mom taught. There’s nuttin’ to it.
I promise to not fail, to never waiver, to never give up, to be pure [or perfect, ideal, mistake-free, committed, loving, kind, faithful, unrelenting perfectionist, etc.] and never fail to keep my promise.
Facsimiles don’t work. We can’t submit a copy, can’t get our friends to do our homework, mail it in, phone it in or pretend. No room for fake-it-till-you-make-it here.
Promises are our undoing if they are made with undo care or thought. Promises are inherently fraught with internal conflict of ‘If I had to promise it, do I really feel it?’ and ‘is my promise important to me, or to the person I’m making the promise to?’ In relationships of every kind: family, romance, business, community, politics, causes … promises are audited. Everyone is watching, keeping count, making note – silently measuring performance. Can’t hide our failures to perform …
I’ve made so many little promises – we all have: I’ll call you right back; tomorrow for sure; I’ll do it in the morning; FAA (forever and always); it’s the truth, I promise; I’ve never lied to you, I promise; till …. I promise. We all use this term so much it’s almost as trite and worthless as ‘would you like fries with that?’ or, ‘did you find what you were looking for today?’.
Promises are archaic, unconvincing and poor reflections of intention.
Doing. Showing up. Performing. Caring. Not giving up on something, or on someone. Committed, not shown in words about commitment, but in actions that demonstrate it. These are real, they are better than the best promise ever made. Nobody second-guesses action(s). They are real. Everybody second-guesses promise(s).
Avoid second-guessing and pain – don’t make promises.
Deliver actions that are genuine. Be consistent. Apply energy to what matters to you – and not to things which don’t. The evidence will never be murky. These things are better than any promise ever could be.
For example: to say to someone, “I’m thinking about you all the time”, even if put in flowery words and accompanied by flowers is dubious. Seems unrealistic. Thinking about someone often will be reflected in actions. Not for show, but they show reality. Reality is never murky. I know this, trust me – I promise you’ll find this to be true. Easy peasy.
Murky thoughts don’t produce clear actions. Not ever.
I also publish FACILITYCalgary, a weekly newsletter, free every Tuesday: to sign up, CLICK HERE
If you liked any Musing column, it would mean a lot to me if you would respond. Comments are welcome, so please contribute to the discussion. To reply, use: email@example.com . You can also connect with me on LinkedIn . You can sign up your friends here at MarkMusing.com . This site is updated daily, each column is retained in the archive when the next day's column is loaded ...