COMMIT TO COMMIT

To commit or to refrain,
The very thought often causes anxiety and pain
The constant dilemma,
Makes decision-making a huge enigma

Isn’t it better to be free sans commitment,
To have no strings attached in any involvement?
Seems wiser than to face disappointments
And nurse one’s wounds amidst songs of lament

To commit is to give your word
So stand by it whether come storms or sword
To commit is to take responsibility
Shirk not in the pretext of some inability

Commitment does pose challenges,
As it cuts a part of ‘self’ – the ‘me’ that rules,
But it doesn’t aim to devalue you
It aims to add value, instead

Think before you commit
Don’t let any pressure shape your commitment
But when you do commit
Live by it till your last breath permits.

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WHY DO WE WITHDRAW FROM OUR COMMITMENTS?

The concept of relationship exists prior to our individual existence! Before our existence, we have a relationship with the Creator God, since the time our mom conceived us our relationship with our family began and even after our death our relationship exists. But prior to the relationship, commitment comes. In fact, it is the COMMITMENT that initiates a relationship.

As growing kids in our family, we all love to be part of the wedding service at Church. It is truly a blissful moment to see how two individuals come together and a new relationship is formed. In such a blissful moment, the most enjoyable moment for we kids was – rhyming the marriage vow along with the Bride and Groom. In front of the whole congregation, the Bride and the Groom will stand along with the Pastor. The Pastor will ask both of them a set of questions and as both of them answer those questions, they will exchange their marriage rings and they will make this vow – “I take you as my Wife/Husband on my own choice. I pledge before God and people, whether it is the good or bad moment, whether in health or sickness, whether, in prosperity or hardship, I WILL ALWAYS BE WITH YOU. From now, let my heart be yours’ and your heart is mine and both of our hearts be the heart of God.” 

Finally, they give their signatures on the court marriage certificate and they were declared as Mr & Mrs __________.

Something very similar happens, as defense personnel finishes his years of military training. In an elite gathering, he swears the pledge and joins the defense force. After so many catfights and cutthroat election, our political leaders publicly swear the pledge and take their positions to govern our nation.    

Rick Warren says, 

“Nothing shapes your life more than the commitments you choose to make”. 

Switching to another picture, we see every year only in Mumbai and Delhi 40% of marriages are heading towards divorce (the rest of big Indian cities are yet to count). India is in the 78th position in the corrupt nations list out of 175 countries, according to the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. Corruption Rank in India averaged 75.67% in 2018.

Kenneth Blanchard says,

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.”

How our commitment ends is read and watched and followed by others. 

Commitments might have been made one day at a time but BEING COMMITTED is a life-time deal! Life is a mixed bag of easy and difficult times. Difficult time demands an awful lot of sacrifices on its way. Though sacrifice seems painful and too costly at times, it is the passion of our heart for a definite purpose that makes us dare to sacrifice. A Committed man is also a man of integrity. His thoughts and ways are always God-fearing and Sacred

Often, we lack commitment in our relationships and profession because we hesitate to sacrifice our comforts and pleasures. Our commitments are mostly made when we are emotionally driven rather than driven by the maturity of mind and wisdom. Well, one of the modern-day quotes very clearly reflects the attitude of our mind – “If you want me to be loyal, then hire a dog not me”.

So far in my life, I have walked closely with two elderly men. Both of them are in their 70s’. Both of the God-fearing gentlemen have always given me one counsel:

“Relationships are initiated with commitment;

Commitment demands Sacrifice;

Respect your Sacrifices, they are Sacred and Integral!”

And as I look upon the picture of the death of Jesus on the Cross, I see the confluence of Relationship initiated with Commitment – Commitment is fulfilled with Sacrifice – the Sacrifice is Sacred & Integral to the human race. Indeed, it is His relationship with us that kept Him committed, though we were not! It is His commitment for mankind that demanded Him His sacrifice, which we human won’t be able to do! Moreover, Jesus kept his commitment with the sacredness of His heart, WHICH WE OUGHT TO IMITATE.

IS THERE SOMETHING CALLED OVER-COMMITMENT?

Is there something called Over Commitment?

The word commitment is used in many contexts. The most common context is commitment (or lack of it) in a relationship. This aspect has been discussed at length in the previous articles so I won’t venture there at all.

My take is a little different.

What is a commitment?

I asked Google and this is the first meaning Google threw up:

Commitment – the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.

For me, commitment is a promise or obligation that you give to someone or some cause that you will support them. You may be committing your time or money or emotions or freedom or maybe something else.

Lack of commitment may be one problem people face. But for me, it’s the other end of the spectrum where I get stuck with Over Commitment

Imagine a child roaming freely in a huge toy shop. He has been told that he can pick up and play with any toy. He is so excited he picks up one toy and then sees another interesting toy, leaves the first one and goes to the second and then third and so on. He is not able to play properly with any of it. On most of the days, that’s me.

I am so prone to over-committing. A friend will call me for some help I will agree. Then the society will have some function and request me to volunteer and I will agree. My family will make some plans and I won’t be able to say no. Children need help with homework or need to picked up or dropped somewhere, of course, I have to do. Then there is the regular work of the office, kitchen, etc. Eventually, what happens, I run around a lot trying to meet all my commitments and end up not giving my 💯% to any of my commitments. Later on, I carry regret that I could have done a better job if I had more time. When I promise it’s all with genuine feelings of commitment, I don’t mean to do the job half-heartedly. But sometimes (not always) it happens.

I am putting in a conscious effort to improve. And now trying to follow the mantra that – commit only as much as you can deliver. A lot of people around you need you. Prioritize, Distribute and then Commit. And learn to say ‘NO, where you know that you won’t be able to give your 💯%.

Remember! Over-commitment brings about somewhat similar results as lack of commitment.

LACK OF COMMITMENT

I was wondering what some of the greats around the globe say about Lack of Commitment. I let Google uncle enlighten catering to my needs… Following are some of the quotes which can encourage and motivate all of you as they did to me:

“Most people who fail in their dream fail not from lack of ability but from lack of commitment.” ~ Zig Ziglar

God has given every one of us the abilities to accomplish a given task but as Mr. Ziglar says, we fail because of our lack of commitment to achieve it.

“Everyone says they want community and friendship. But mention accountability or commitment to people, and they run the other way.” ~ Timothy Keller

How true! We want everything but along with our wayward attitude and desires to fulfill. We always struggle to be accountable for our actions or anything. We scare away from commitment.

“Commitment. This is my favorite word because in some way, people who are committed are always much more interesting and much more reliable, and much more, I would say, deep than people who are not.” ~ Carlos Ghosn

Oh man! This is blunt and true which needs no simplification…

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” ~ Vince Lombardi

Bingo! So, lack of commitment will fetch nothing… Aastha, in her Mega this week, spoke about how lack of commitment affects the result of a team and if we go on talking about its effects on society and family, etc., then the list might get bigger and bigger.

Keep thinking as you read the articles of this week…

Stay tuned, stay blessed!

PARENTING – A RESPONSIBILITY WITH FULL-ON COMMITMENT

Parenting is a huge responsibility for which most couples land in, with their eyes wide open, ears sharpened and mind quite boggled. Even then it is a huge responsibility.  It is not easy to convince each other to reckon with the transition and adapt to it. But once you are a parent- you are always a parent, be it just for one kid, two or three or more. Parenting is not a cakewalk, it involves lots of hardships and commitment. As the couple enters into parenthood, they are responsible for a life that is growing up among them. It is not easy to understand and provide solutions for every instance, because in every instance a different solution looks appealing to the child.

Most people enter parenthood, expecting joy, the soothing presence of a baby, the sense of parenting, happiness of seeing a baby smile – but is that what it is all about?

A smile is worth -when you have undergone sadness. Happiness is worthwhile only when you know the harshness of sorrow. 

Parenting is all about committing yourself to your child as a couple. A child must be both parents’ responsibility. But if you look out in our society, we might stumble upon many families, where one of the parents has to take up the whole commitment. Most of the couples, after a child is born to them, leave the complete responsibility to one shoulder and burden them.  It always happens and none share the responsibilities and finally, parenting becomes the secret dagger to blame the partner for lack of commitment.

Parenting is all about commitment.  There are many things to keep in mind when you are a parent.

  1. It is not a single effort- As becoming a parent is not just a one-person effort, it is important to realize that, the task must be shared. The child is equally both mother and father’s responsibility. The sooner you realize it, the better the results.
  2. Give time –Time is essential. Parenting is not just about having a child. Parents should dedicatedly give time to their child and also ensure they spend it as a family. Mostly as kids grow up, they become independent and might not completely need parents to help them. I personally believe that a child should be given a requestive amount of attention at a very young age. This is the time when bonding happens.
  3. Kids rely on their parents, hence be their rock: Kids rely on parents for everything, from the very beginning. It is important to be their support, but it doesn’t mean you have to be there for everything, few things they should be let to experiment on their own. All you need is to offer a hand of help, they might not need it but will be happy to hear from you. As a parent, your commitment must be to guide them, as well as give them space to decide on their choices.
  4. Share your responsibilities: Parenting is a big task, hence it is ideal when sharing is done. Taking care of your child is not just one of the parents’ duties. A happy mother or father can only make a happy family. To get a happy mind, relaxation is important. When one of the parents takes up the whole responsibility, they get exhausted and will not be able to do it well. Both mother and father need to share their work so that the other person doesn’t get drained.
  5. Understanding: This is something that washes away quite soon in a marriage. You need to understand and support your partner in parenting too. He/She might be confused, hence understand their plight and be supportive.

Even though parenting is something unplanned, there is a joy behind every moment of parenting. At times when I am exhausted, juggling around the responsibilities, end of the day, I feel like I am dead, but the moment my kids come and hug me, I feel energized.

In the end, the joy of being a parent is in the touch of your little one. There are no best or good parents – all are just work in progress parents.

DISTRACTIONS ENTHUSE LACK OF COMMITMENT IN A RELATIONSHIP

Making friends is an art, which I know very well. I had been craving for people around me since I was a kid. The very reason was my restrictions to go out and be with my friends. I suffered from being alone (I won’t call it loneliness) since I was 8 years old till I went to college at the age of 17. But you can say, it was God gifted quality that I had in me, that I can make friends, build connections very easily. And at the age of 43 now, when I look back and assess all the relationships or friendships that I had established in my life I find one major cause of Lack of Commitment in a given relationship or friendship is DISTRACTIONS surrounding it.

DISTRACTIONS
Image Credit: Google Inc.

There was one close friend of mine, who was sharing about the problems in their marriage. She wrote it down about all that was happening in their life and I took the time to read her long detailed messages and answers, again and again, to come to a conclusion. My conclusion was, they had every other thing around them to distract each other from ‘THEIR TIME‘.

Let’s do a postmortem of what and how these distractions creep into the relationships

1. Work Pressure: Previously, I have seen my grandfather coming back home at around 6 PM and rest for an hour and then used to spend time with family, with us. He was an engineer and was a very sincere man in his work. He used to go on official tours as well. But he never had forgotten the time that he had committed to his wife, his children,  grandchildren, even to the extended family members as we were in a joint family.

But today, the work stress is so much that it had taken away the time which was supposed to be committed to the relationships we are in. Work Pressure has been working as an agent of distraction towards our lack of commitment.

2. Social media: Social networking sites have taken our primary leisure time today. We think we stay very updated because of social media but these sites eat us up from within as the days pass by. The Bible says, “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief“.

How true it is…! Previously, when we were uninformed, we were at peace but today, when we have everything under our fingertips we get distracted from the main issues of life getting distracted by unnecessary information.

3. Easy and many friends: It is though a subpart of the above point – social media, yet I kept it separately knowingly to explain the gravity of this issue.

Previously, we were rarely going out of our box to make friends. We used to have friends from our schools, colleges, workplaces and to the maximum, from our localities. If we extend a bit more, then we used to have something called, Pen Friend which is treated as a tiny dino in today’s world. 😛

But now, we have friends from different continents, from the whole world. We know everything about them, even the dates of their birthdays and anniversaries but don’t remember our own special days.

Sometimes, I feel very guilty of having such a huge list of online friends in my life. Trust me, they do distract individuals from their personal commitments to their parents, spouses, children or to the relationships that matter the most.

Let’s not get entangled with such distractions much today and suffer in our relationships for lack of commitment towards the person entwined with us.

Stay Blessed!

WITHOUT COMMITMENT NOTHING WILL HAPPEN

Looking back at my life, I can assuredly say that I have made mistakes because of my fear. In one of my earlier articles, I have expressed how fear for something new holds me back sometimes, it could be moving to a new place, taking up a new job or going on a new adventure. While some of these examples were only causing a little setback or slight disappointment, there were other big-ticket items that were affecting my contentment of life. When I realized I am falling behind than where I ideally should be in life, there was one question that I had to find the answer for, “What is that one thing that is different than earlier?”. When I say earlier, during schooling or university time and even during my first few years of job, I did not have this feeling of missing something. Did I change, if so, what is the change? 

The analyst in me needed to roll the sleeves up. I started with something very basic. I asked myself, these questions. “Am I where I wanted to be?”. “If this is not where I should be, do I have the right skills to move to the next level?. “What should I do differently to progress and make an impact on my own life? and so on.. While I was going through the list of questions, one particular question caught my eye, the second question (In teal color above). Many times when we do interviews, we don’t look for candidates who have all the required skills to perform the job. We only look for candidates who have the right attitude to learn on the job to be able to perform their duties. We even ask them questions about their personal lives and their choices to see if they are really committed to serving their duties. There it is, that was what I was looking for – the reason for my delayed success is my fear of commitment. I have always been a hopeful person, and my wishes are very discreetly defined. If I have these two in place, then the only thing that is required is commitment. I won’t say I have commitment issues, but I do have a fear of commitment.

I always check if I am eligible to take up the commitment and if I can perform my responsibilities to fulfill the task I would be committing to. This holds good for both personal and professional fronts. Unfortunately, in life, nothing comes with a guarantee or warranty, so, it is almost impossible to anticipate what the future holds for us. With the unknown, making the commitment has a lot more to do with our beliefs. Let me give you an example to explain this.

While working with an NGO, I came across an interesting man. Both the man and his wife are from joint families, so, they are very much used to living with more than 10 people in the same house. They never wanted to have their own kid, but to adopt one. When it was time to choose the kid they want to adopt, they chose a disabled girl. The girl is paralyzed down below her waist and needed special care. They thought since they have a big family, it would be much more apt for the girl to have so many people who can be there for her all round the clock. The girl settled into the family and was happy. Two years later, the wife was diagnosed with colon cancer. As the medical facility was not available in their town, they came to Bangalore for treatment. As living expenses in Bangalore are relatively high, the husband and wife only moved to Bangalore. Their hometown is almost 20 hours journey by train. After 3 months of fighting with cancer, the lady started to fear that this may be the end of her life. She wanted to spend more time with their daughter. Neither the girl nor the woman was in a position to travel often, so the father brought the girl to live along with them. He is the only one who has to take care of the girl now. On one side he might lose his wife to deadly cancer and on the other side, he has to be at home to help the little girl out for most of the time. When they adopted the girl, this was not the life they imagined for the little one. He has been doing this every single day for more than a year now. He could do this only because he is committed to both his wife and their daughter.

When I compare my problems with something like this, I find them very trivial. Is any decision I am going to make cost me my life or harm anyone? If not, then why am I scared to make a commitment? During childhood, a plan is almost set to us by someone else, and we only need to do our best in learning the same. When it comes to life, we are committing ourselves to the plan we make and that was my main drawback.  I lead a team of almost 25 people at work, and I know how a lack of commitment affects me. If one cannot commit themselves, the probability that they are going to ensure deliveries on time is minimal. Would I be happy to have such a team member? If I continue to nurture such behaviour what I would experience is dysfunction.

At home and outside, we form the team(s). Some times it is only two people that share the responsibility and some times it is more than two. Even if one of them is not committed, the task may not be accomplished or would be accomplished with diminished quality.

When we are committed we put our plans to action and that leads to success. In the process of being committed, we gain fulfilling relationships because one can trust us with their eyes closed. Commitment is the most important stepping stone to success. I believe if we are committed we will always find a way to make things work.

“Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.”