“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. 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 as well. 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 and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you do, or dream
you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”
This quote is most often attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe lived from August 1749 until March 1832. He is quite an interesting fellow who studied and influenced numerous things from philosophy, eroticism, law, poetry, drama, literature, theology and science. He wrote Faust-a very thought provoking philosophical story of the main character Faust selling his sole to Mephistopheles (a.k.a. the Devil). A great read-but not at all light, you must pay attention the entire time. The story of Faust is also the inspiration for the Police hit song “wrapped around your finger” in case you like music trivia. Makes sense given that Gordon Sumner was a teacher before he was Sting, the Rock Star. If you were looking for a quick, easy, 5 minute read stop now and come back when you have time because the ideas in this blog are going to be harder to understand than my next blog about Blowfish Encryption.
Goethe is talking about commitment and how it affects one’s life. There is this chasm of difference between a wish, a hope, and idea, the truth and commitment and it is easy to spot in daily life.
This is what you say when you aren’t truly committed:
1. I need to quit smoking.
2. I hope President Obama can get us out of this financial mess.
3. I should stop drinking.
4. I want to grow my business.
Conversely, this is what commitment sounds like:
1. I have joined a quit smoking support group and bought nicorrette, I start tomorrow.
2. I refuse to allow outside influences to control my destiny.
3. I am checking into rehab today.
4. I will do whatever is necessary to make my business not just survive but flourish right now.
Why is it important to know the difference? Because, if you know your mental position you can change it and that makes you the most powerful force in your life. Destiny, karma, fate, a political party and addiction no longer control you. Only you control your life and that is the upside. The down side to being in control of your life is that you and you alone, claim responsibility. Sales weren’t good today-well that’s on you, not the phone company, not the network server not the thunderstorm that blew up your server. Marriage is failing-yeah-that’s on you-not your spouse, kid uses crack-yep that’s your responsibility,
not your fault but your responsibility. There are some who would prefer to blame the weatherman, their spouse, other people’s carbon footprint-the list goes on forever when they could have unlimited power to influence their lives and success.
Now here is where it gets tricky so take a moment to digest this idea before you go further, commitment, truth and reality aren’t the same things. Commitment is a mental position, a notion, an idea not necessarily the truth with a capital “T”. Let me give you a very offensive example of truth and reality as follows:
Let’s say you give birth to a child with disabilities. No parent wants to give birth to a disabled child. If you are cognizant at all you will worry about that child’s future in every way possible. The “TRUTH” with a capital “T” is that your child’s disability was probably random, it’s painful, it’s frightening, it will make yours and their life harder, it will make you cry, want to throw up and it isn’t fair. And that is the truth. At that point you can make the “truth” your commitment, your mental position. Or not.
I happen to believe in God but if you have some other higher
power-wherever I say God insert the name of your higher power, whether it’s Karma, Darwin or Buddha or a doorknob. You could make your position that “God found me uniquely qualified for this task, he gave me this child quite purposefully the same way he will guide me to cope with mine and my child’s challenges.” That mental position of commitment returns the power to you instead of giving it to fate, karma or the fairness of life. Now you have your power back-you are in charge of your destiny, not the fairness we know real life doesn’t guarantee. In short if the problem is yours-you can fix it, change it and deal with it. If the problem belongs to fate-you have no control to fix it, change it, or deal with it whatsoever. Fate will decide how your life goes, the weatherman controls what you wear, and political decisions completely out of your control decide what you are having for dinner.
Tomorrow I am committing to go to the gym at lunch. I have promised my best friend and invited 2 people to go with me, my clothes are in the car and I have a plan on eating lunch after at my desk while working.
What are you going to commit to? Ready to accept the consequences of flipping the switch on Providence?