Most of the self-help kind of sites will tell you one thing: when you make a commitment, tell the world about it. The idea is that if you start failing in that commitment, the world will be keeping a watch and you will be motivated not to fail. Because the world is watching. I think that’s wrong. You should ever be doing things for yourself than for the world.
This world is really the set of people that you call family and friends. And that lot has to be studied well. While you call them family and friends, what do they really mean to you? When you make that public commitment — I am going to quit smoking — for example, what do you want them to do? When you sneak out for the a drag 16 hours after you have quit do you want them to stop you or do you want them to support you? Are you ready to continue to like them if they stop you and are you ready to hate them if they allow you? It starts becoming less about them and more about you.
Different people in this set will respond differently to your public commitment. And they aren’t wrong in the way they respond. The logic of a public declaration is not so much about the public to whom you have declared the commitment, it is more about how you want that public to respond. To me, that dilutes the essence of the commitment.
But commitments are personal. You make them for your own reasons. You follow through for a personal gain. There’s little that people can do anything about it. If we think that words and phrases of encouragement will help us build the statement that we seek to make, it’s absurd. We are playing to an audience and we become deeply dependent on the applause; performance should be guided less by the applause and more by the excellence of the act. And the act belongs to us. Only your will to make that change can guide you. Unless, of course you need professional help, in which case you should seek it. Even there, the public cannot help you there.
A commitment is made up of two things: the intent and the manner. And both of them are personal. What you want to do and how you want to do it. Notice that both of them are about you?
I’ve recently made a commitment. The purpose of that commitment is very personal and important to me. The manner is simple; I just have to act on it. I may stumble or falter. I may not show up, at times.
But that stage is mine forever, and I care less about the applause and care much about (improving) the quality of the performance.
Raise the curtains.