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Always Choose To Make Commitments Not Mere Promises

Updated on May 27, 2019

Commitments are like solid ground, promises on the other hand, are more like bad checks.

You know a winner by their level of commitment making. True commitments are not entered into quickly or without thinking it through.
You know a winner by their level of commitment making. True commitments are not entered into quickly or without thinking it through.

Sydney J. Harris said it best in his book Winners and Losers, Harris states in the very first page of his book "A winner makes commitments; a loser makes promises." A very simple yet, very profound statement. I remember being blown away when I read it. This statement made me realize, that when I made an offer, or agreed to do something, I had better be willing to stick to what I agreed to. otherwise, I would risk, being just another loser drifting through life, and never really offering anything real.

I realized that the people who hurt me the most, are the ones that simply made promises and never kept them. They just wanted the attention, or simply to get others off their back. Trying to please people momentarily with a lie is the unkindest cut of all. Promises, that are unkept are like checks that bounce, they can be written for any amount and yet remain worthless.

Many people make promises to their children they have no intention of keeping. Promises like "yeah we'll get you that puppy next year, if you keep your grades up." You notice how these parents want something from their children in exchange. There also those promises that people make to get their spouse off their back, small promises like "sure honey I'll wash the dishes tonight' or bigger lies like" If your careful with your spending, I'll get that special something you want next month dear."

Then there are promises that were made at the altar like to love, honor, and cherish, that are soon forgotten. Lets face it, how many people use offensive language, and even threats when they don't get their way. Then there is the promises of for better or for worse, richer or poorer, and in sickness and in health. We can't deny that many marriages break up because of sickness, money matters, or just plain irreconcilable differences. Then there's the big one, forsaking all others until death do you part. Given the amount of infidelity in our society, you know that many people lied during their marriage vows. Maybe not intentionally, but they had no intention of sticking it out for the sake of their marriage.

On the other hand, commitments are different. Commitments are solid, not just some pie in the sky promise made at the heat of the moment. Commitments require thinking things through, and are not made quickly or lightly. You know commitment makers by the wonderful examples they set. People always cherish the memory of those who knew how to honor their commitments. Keeping a commitment takes character, sacrifice, and unselfishness. These are the marriages that not only survive but bring great joy to the couple who understood what their marriage vows meant. It is through commitment to good parenting that we rear stable and happy children. It is through the commitment of sticking it out in school, that great careers become not just a dream, but a reality.

If everyone in our world made commitments from governments all the way down to every individual. What a different world we would have. A world with no broken marriages, no hurt children, a world where the elderly wouldn't have to worry about who will take care of them when they are too old to care for themselves. A more secure world would prevail. I know that is not the world we live in, but imagine what a wonderful world it would be.

Like Sydney Harris wrote "A winner makes commitments; a loser makes promises. So be a winner.


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