When one says he is committed to something, does it mean a trade? Does it mean that I will do this or that only if you do some other this or that? Does this commitment expect something in return from the other side? Will the commitment waver if one doesn’t get a response from the other side?
In my experiences over the years, I have realized that our aim should not, and cannot, be to make our commitment contingent on some external factor. If our commitment wavers because of a lack of response from the other side, then maybe that was not even commitment in the first place.
That is the difference between interest and commitment. If I am interested in some results, I will take steps to get that result. But it will be very easy to give up (in the case of interest) when circumstances turn averse or not as expected. We no longer see the interest getting fulfilled, so we have every reason to back out. Fair enough.
But a commitment is bigger, it is a promise you make to yourself (more than anybody else) and then there are no excuses, but only results that matter. For example, a mother has a commitment to her child, and she will even go hungry to feed her child. A mother doesn’t demand fairness from her son, she just loves her, for that is her commitment, irrespective of the situation or whatever obstacles life throws in front of her. As they say, any obstacle will have to go over her dead-body.
So how do we know if we are committed or just interested? Wait for the tough times as real commitment is only tested in the face of obstacles and conflicts, and that is what reveals the true character of all of us.
If we can let go of our attachment to the outcomes of our efforts and just focus on the fact that we are committed to doing our best, we are more likely to achieve success regardless of how the world shows up. It will always be tempting to give up when we don’t see the outcomes we expect, and that is the threshold of ‘interested‘ and beyond that, the world of ‘commitment‘ starts.
Every time we experience being upset, irritated or frustrated, we know our commitment is wavering. The question is, “Can we cross this threshold?“
And once we step into the world of commitment, we experience being calm, happy, at peace and confident, even in the face of harsh challenges. An interested person will get angry at an unexpected result, while a committed person will accept that fully, and take the next necessary action to stay committed to his goals without backing out.
If I reflect on my life, the times I thought were the toughest have given me the best lessons in life. I am really grateful for them for making me who I am today. These tough times have also taught me that we should not define success by the outcome of one’s results, but by the efforts being put in.
Being committed gives us the freedom of doing our best, yet be completely fine with the final result not being what we expected. No effort is a failure just because it doesn’t result in an expected outcome. It is a success if we gave our best!
If we notice carefully, this dilemma comes up in every area of our lives. Look at the things that frustrate you, or you got angry over? Were you interested or committed in that situation?
If commitment is present any setback would not last long. Be open to life’s little surprises, and experience its beauty when it does that. Allowing these surprises to happen without getting upset is one of the best things we can do to fulfill our commitments.