Life perspective

Your Word

In days of yonder (although, probably more of a romantic legend) “your word” used to mean quite a bit. No legal fluff or long-winded contracts- it was your word that counted most. Today, that still is true, but we also have legal contracts because, i guess, in days of yonder, much like today, people renege on their word for various reasons. And that is a complex issue on its own, but reasonably i see it as primarily coming down to not taking your own word seriously enough. The opposite of that is interesting…

And by word i do mean commitments and promises, both explicit and implicit. Explicit as in “I promise i’ll get that done by tomorrow” and implicit as in “Sure, i can do that by end of day”.

So the opposite is that you take your own word so seriously, you check yourself at every turn and make no commitments or promises, either explicitly or implicitly. Your speech changes to “I might have that done by the end day, but no guarantee”. It is a lot better in terms of expectation management, being realistic and does give yourself room to breathe a little; even under-promise somewhat. As a default, neither are great.

On the one side you get to disappoint a lot of people through broken commitments, and on the other side, you get to disappoint yourself because you never get to challenge yourself. It’s one of those situations where neither end of the spectrum really works, and the middle ground is pretty soft. The best is to fold the spectrum back on itself.

Take your word seriously AND make big (not brash) commitments (and then pull it off). Of course, the wisdom and grace to get that perfect won’t come without a bruised ego, but, like i read once, it’s hard(er) to stumble when you’re on your knees. Don’t be scared to commit and give yourself a challenge and then take your commitment seriously enough to see it through.

The ultimate is like saying “I do”. It’s not “I might” or “I could” or “I probably should”. Commit, lock and load and make it work. The fruit is way more than you could ever positively dream of.

2 replies on “Your Word”

Hey Bryan, brilliant article. I completely agree. It’s so easy to commit loosely (talk is cheap), but ultimately, it’s damaging. Would love to see more articles like this on your site.

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