Alfie Deyes released a video discussing how to stay motivated. In it he speaks about how you should spend all of your spare time doing the things you love, pointing out that you can’t spend all day wishing (for example) you could be an artist but never painting. It is an obvious statement, passionately and enthusiastically communicated by someone who has proved that investing time in the things you love can, indeed, lead to unimaginable, life-changing outcomes.
Of course, the magic ingredient Alfie is talking about is commitment, unswerving loyalty to doing the things that you love but, as Deepak Chopra eloquently expresses, commitment isn’t a straightforward path free of risk or obstacles (1). Nor is it a guarantee of success. By committing, you make yourself vulnerable. You expose yourself to the possibility of failure, pain and a potentially exhausting expenditure of energy.
Thankfully, Chopra offers some ideas to help us accept more readily the risks of commitment. Additionally, he outlines the benefits that can come from taking this path. Like Alfie, he is categorical that when you truly and deeply commit, the rewards can be beyond your imagination.
[Source: Deepak Chopra, Why Commit?]
“Commitment is the ultimate assertion of human freedom. It releases all the energy you possess and enables you to take quantum leaps in creativity … As you surrender to commitment, the entire field of potentiality opens to you, and fulfillment becomes your daily reality”.
The problem with commitment is that it can feel so black and white, to do it completely or not at all. But in order to be sustainable, commitment demands balance. We need to find the middle path, which I will call compassionate commitment.
Compassionate commitment is getting things done but in a way that is kind to ourselves. Remember kindness isn’t necessarily about sitting back and taking the easy route. It is also about having faith in ourselves to achieve things we maybe didn’t believe were possible. I have been guilty more than once of using the idea of balance as an excuse for not pursuing my dreams. It is an excuse that can cost you dearly.
However, pushing the boundaries of realistic expectation has its own price to pay and it can be equally high. So it’s important to keep things fun and sustainable, allowing time for other things that bring us joy or a sense of perspective.
If there is one take-home message from this post, I would like it to be believe in yourself and aim high. If you get to a point where you feel like you are wading through treacle though, pause, ask yourself if it has to be this hard. The answer may be yes but don’t accept this if there is another choice.
Let me know your experiences of commitment below. Do you avoid doing things because you get scared or do you push yourself too far? What helps you to compassionately commit to something? I would love to know your experiences.