Today’s post (in some sense) is about today’s post itself. Since I arrived at my parents’ home in Odisha four days ago, I haven’t had any internet connectivity. That’s not necessarily a problem, because I actually appreciate the peace that I experience while being periodically away from the internet. However, not having internet at home meant a little hassle in publishing this weekend’s post. For a fleeting second, my thought was to procrastinate. “May be I should just wait until tomorrow to post on my blog, after the internet connection got reinstalled at our home.” But then immediately, I recalled the commitment that I had made to myself to publish a post every weekend, so there was no way I was going to back away from it, unless it was physically impossible to get the post published. "Even in that case, I should get my post written and ready, like I would have done if I had access to the internet," I told myself.
As a teacher of organizational behavior and leadership, I teach a plethora of practices to my students that have the potential to transform their lives. One of my personal favorites out of these is the discipline of allowing no exceptions to one’s commitment. It means once you make a commitment to something, you stick to it 100% no matter what; not 99% or even 99.9% but absolute 100%. “Why such strict standards?” my students ask. The reason is that it is much easier to stick to a 100% commitment than to be committed only 99% of the time. In the words of Jack Canfield (2004), in the book The Success Principles, “99% is a bitch; 100% is a breeze.” When you are 100% committed to something it’s a closed deal; you don’t have to think about it again. However, when you are only 99% committed, you entertain thoughts such as “Should I exercise today or should I skip my exercise today?” or “Do I decline the offer of alcohol from my friend or should I allow this one exception?” These thoughts consume a huge amount of mental resources that make it difficult for us to stick to our commitment. They become a slippery slope which lead us away from achieving our goals.
When I discuss this idea of nonnegotiable commitment with my students, most students welcome it. However, usually an astute student or two also express some misgivings. “Doesn’t 100% commitment mean that we are being too rigid with ourselves?” “Won’t we miss opportunities if we are so inflexible?” I respond, “Yes, the 100% commitment approach is surely rigid, and yes, it could also mean that you may miss some opportunities in life. Like everything in life, the 100% commitment approach also has a price. I can vouch from my experience in life that the approach has opened up many times more opportunities in my life than it has closed. However, that doesn’t mean that the approach is not completely without risks. Also, one can take definite steps to minimize those risks without compromising on the benefits accruing from this approach.”
To be continued...
In my next post, I will describe the steps that I point to in this post. In the meanwhile, if today's post spurred any thoughts in your mind, please share them through your comments. Thank you!