Why we hate to commit, and why we must

Why we hate to commit, and why we must

Most people hate to commit.

No, it’s not just guys in relationship and marriage.

The average person hates to be pinned down by a promise and that’s why the willingness to obligate to another person is THE differentiator of professionals.

But what accounts for this unwillingness to commit? Why does making commitments seem as unappealing as a rectal exam by the Incredible Hulk?

Well it’s because most people want to maintain their freedom, and …

Commitment = Loss of Freedom

Freedom to choose that is.

The minute you choose, you commit to a certain experience, and other possible experiences close; your space for action is now directed to the successful completion of the course you have committed to. You must now give up pursuing other options, you must now resist the pull of distraction to do other things, some that you habitually do, others that unpredictably appear and beckon you with the siren call of a cigarette to a chain smoker trying to quit.

Choosing to write that book means you must give up the Tuesday and Thursday dinners with the girls, choosing to go for your degree abroad means putting a romantic relationship on hold, choosing to have a child means giving up putting your comfort first.

bachelor avoiding commitmentTake the personal domain most people equate with commitment: marriage. The reason the bachelor doesn’t want to commit is that he knows he must give up the option of other women. This is why many men will stay in a relationship for years and not propose. It’s not that he’s cheating on his girlfriend whom he loves, it’s just that he can’t bear to lose the option to choose another (better?) woman.

But that’s what commitment means. The loss of the freedom to choose another (competing) option.

This is the price of a commitment.

It’s a bummer to give up your freedom to choose

bachelor not commiting
Pretending you have chosen is not a choice.

Being able to choose freely from many options feels good because it is inherently rich with possibility and with possibility comes moods of wonder, passion and excitement—the moods that power a full life.

But life is as much about giving up that freedom as it is about acquiring it.

freedom to chooseIt’s like standing in a forest clearing that has paths all around it leading to different destinations, each with its own rewards and perils.

While standing in the clearing you are free to choose;

but you must give up that freedom

You must commit to something because committing to a choice is the process by which you manifest new situations and realities in your life.

It’s in the choosing and commitment to your choices that your life happens versus happens to you.  Committing to your conscious choices is how you fulfil your ambitions, how you will find the adventures, relationships, successes and failures that will reward you with a full and directed life.

Life goes nowhere if you stay in that clearing.

Not choosing, keeping your options open, gives a temporary feel good that sooner or later stops feeling good as the options around you start closing, and you realise that you must choose you must commit  ..

or risk imprisonment

One of life’s ironies is that you must practice giving up options to get more of them.

If your strategy to keeping many options open is to not choose any, then life will present you with fewer and fewer options until one day, after you’ve stayed too long in your space of opportunity —or broken one commitment too many— you’ll look around you and find you have fewer and mostly unattractive options.

You’ll have less career options, less relationship options, you won’t be able to start or have a family, and you’ll have less things you can do with your body because you never chose to commit to exercise and nutrition.

It’s life saying, “You clearly don’t want to have many choices because you don’t commit to any.”

You hold the key

What choices are you avoiding?

What commitments are you breaking?

Act now and have faith.  You may be amazed at the wonderful new options that may open up for you in the future by giving up some freedom now.

Any thoughts? Contributions/acknowledgments welcome.