How to transform your interest into commitment

If I had to pick one recurring theme that features very prominently in professionals across all demographics, it would be the likelihood of him/her deciding to do something that is seemingly important, but not ending up doing it nonetheless.

It is the story of almost every professional, young or experienced, who decide what to do, but a handful few do what they decide. ‘I will start exercising from tomorrow’, ‘I will ensure better work life balance from next month’, ‘I will change my job this year’, ‘I will take a vacation this new year’, ‘I will do better financial planning starting next month’, ‘I want to buy a house next year’, ‘I will find that special someone for myself’. We have all made such or some variants of these decisions in our lives, yet most of us find ourselves not taking action to fulfil our decision. Why do we hold ourselves back when it comes to taking action?

The answer to the question lies in single word: Commitment. Most people are only interested in achieving the things they decide to do. There is huge difference between interest and commitment. When you are only interested in doing something, you will do it only when its convenient to you. Commitment, on the other hand, transcends the boundaries of convenience. The nature of commitment is such that it is immune to circumstances. No excuses. Only results. So the question is how do you transform your dwindling interest into unadulterated commitment for doing something which is important to you.

I have once again indulged my curiosity and sought answers from those who have demonstrated such commitment and achieved the results they desired the most. Seeking answers from such professionals helped me see the pattern in their approach which I can narrow down to three powerful questions which they asked themselves and which empowered them with commitment. I strongly recommend you write down (not type down) the answers to these questions. Here they are:

  1. Why is it important for you to start exercising from tomorrow (or anything else)? What is so important about it, right NOW?
  2. What is the maximum that you stand to gain if you do what you want to do?

[What changes do you see in yourself if you do this? What will you hear when you do this? How will doing this make you feel?]

  1. What is the maximum that you stand to lose if you don’t do what you want to do?

[What changes do you see in yourself if you don’t do this? What will you hear if you don’t do this? How will not doing this make you feel?]

It is very important that you write down these answers in a notebook or digitally, as you deem appropriate. The reason these questions are important is that all human behavior is motivated by only two things: Pain & Pleasure. A human mind is designed to seek pleasure and avoid pain and it will draw the commitment needed from either of these things.

During the cricket world cup 1999, the legendary Sachin Tendulkar was bereaved by the sudden death of his father, whose unwavering support was the foundation of his successful career. Tendulkar returned back to the World Cup in two days and scored a blistering century against the opposition. He was so determined to pay tribute to his father (pleasure), it made a dramatic change in his commitment towards performing at such a trying time. In his own words, he didn’t want to fail in his first match in front of his departed father (pain), the sheer thought of which caused him agony.

The legendary Bollywood celebrity, Shahrukh Khan, in his recent Ted Talk spoke about how his fear of poverty (pain) arising from his childhood, imbibed in him a sense of unwavering commitment towards his work. As they say, rest is history.

 

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