This post is inspired by someone I met today in Colombo. When he decided to move back to Sri Lanka from the Middle East 15 years ago, his wife wasn’t too happy with the decision. She loved Dubai too much. This man promised his wife that he’ll bring her to Dubai for at least ten days every year. And he hasn’t missed a year since. He told me it was difficult at times to take the ten days off because of work pressure, or other priorities, ‘but a promise is a promise’.
How often do we sabotage our relationships, health, productivity, talent, dreams… by not fulfilling the commitments that we make to ourselves or others. Whether big or small, every broken promise adds up to create an unhappy situation. Some of the most commonly broken promises I can think of:
- To our loved ones: I’ll call you back in a minute. I’ll do it during the weekend. I’ll be there for the… (birthday party or the game or the parent-teacher meeting). We’ll take a vacation this year.
- To our kids: We’ll read it tonight. Yes, I’ll help with your math. I’ll fix it tomorrow. We’ll go there during the weekend.
- At work: I am working on it. I’ll email you today. I’ll clean up my desk. I’ll call you back. I’ll learn the new… (skill, system, program, equipment) soon.
- To ourselves: I’ll start exercising. I’ll read that book. I’ll eat healthy. I’m off desserts. I quit coffee. I’ll wake up earlier. I’ll clean up. I’ll volunteer. I’ll start saving.
And I am as guilty as anybody else. Let’s promise to keep our promises. And commit to fulfill our commitments.
[Photo of Fauja Singh, the 100-year old runner. See the story here]