It was just another Friday night, and I was headed out to see some friends at a local bar I frequented in previous years which consistently had swing dancing in downtown Kansas City. When I arrived I saw a friend of mine behind the bar and I grabbed his attention. After a basic interaction, we parted ways with, “We should get together again soon.” Both of us agreed with a simple head nod but nothing was set in stone and away I went.
This is a classic example of a socially acceptable way to not make a commitment. The number of examples is endless but this one I feel suffices. You see the statement that “We should get together again soon” is vague enough that an unspecified someone needs to take the initiative to make it happen and yet if nothing takes place both of us walk away guilt free. If either of us were willing to take any form of action the conversation could have been more like, “Hey man, I would love to hang out again soon. What are you doing tomorrow?” This instant follow-up of trying to set a date forces a basic level of commitment which in turn defeats the previous polite social gesture that serves nobody. Even going a step further, if I were to actually make time in my schedule right then and not leave until it happened, it would expose my friend and I’s level of commitment to”hanging out”.
I cannot count the number of times in life I have chosen to stay in the realm of vague so that I protect myself from commitment. If someone says they are going to complete a task for me, I now like to pin down a time and day to ensure its completion, because it seems when it is externally processed what is expected, the commitment carries a significant amount more of weight. For example, I have found if I verbally commit to a friend that I will be at their house by 5 pm on Friday to pick them up I find the success rate of my follow-through goes up 100%. On the contrary, when I vaguely commit to thinking about going that night with an, “I’ll let you know later” reply I totally evade any form of responsibility. This type of action is what I want to dispel because I have found the desire to evade commitment and responsibility do me no good at the end of the day.
“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes… but no plans.” Peter Drucker
It is my belief a defining moment for boys to grow into men is when their words go from dirt to gold. If your words carry no value to you or the people around you, it is a classic example that in this area of life you are immature, but if your commitment can be taken to the bank and people know that without a doubt you will do absolutely everything in your power to accomplish that which you spoke you would do, you are a man on a path to maturity. Masculinity is all about taking self-ownership and doing what is right even if it means going through an arduous process just to maintain personal integrity. Every little commitment kept is a brick set in the castle of your inner empire. Every commitment broken is one taken off the castle and thrown into the nearby ocean. There is a personal power growth that occurs when you make and complete a commitment.
So are you scared of commitment? I know there are points in my life where I am still. If you want, you can join me in the process of becoming more of a man by taking small steps of commitment. I see it as working out. You have to start small, otherwise, you will never get strong.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. I would love to hear your thoughts and your story!