The Power of Genuine Commitment

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Setting proper goals increases a sense of commitment.

Today, may I remind you of the power of genuine commitment?

Several have said it before: “Commitment is becoming a lost art.” Few want to stay with something once it’s lost its glitz and glamour. If a kid is bored, they stop taking lessons. If a player grows tired, they quit the team. If a spouse doesn’t like their marriage, they divorce. It’s easy.

Great commitment begins with choosing the right goal. (I blogged about this yesterday). Sure it may change along the way, but the only way you’ll know if a goal is right is to sink your teeth into it and really give it your all. Centuries ago, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote,

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, ineffective stalls. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.

Burn Your Boats

If you’ve set SMART goals, you have a much better chance at enjoying the journey, day by day. In fact, each day becomes another step toward your destination and becomes rewarding. Let me be clear, however. The single greatest factor impacting whether you enjoy your “trip” is to commit to it.

The ancient Greek warriors were both feared and respected by their enemies. In battle, the Greeks established a well-deserved reputation for their unsurpassed bravery and unshakable commitment to victory. The key to their overwhelming success on the battlefield had far more to do with how the Greek commanders motivated the warriors than it did with issues of tactics or training. The Greeks were master motivators who understood how to use a “dramatic demonstration” to infuse a spirit of commitment into the heart of every warrior. Once the warriors had been offloaded from their boats onto their enemy’s shore, the Greek commanders would shout out their first order:

“Burn the boats!”

The sight of burning boats removed any notion of retreat from their hearts and any thoughts of surrender from their heads. Imagine the tremendous psychological impact on the soldiers as they watched their boats being set to the torch. As the boats turned to ash and slipped quietly out of sight into the water, each man understood there was no turning back and the only way home was through victory.

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