What’s Our Problem With Commitment?

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Why is our society today so afraid of committing?

I’ve seen it time and time again, especially in the past few years. People hate making concrete plans. They’re terrified about locking themselves into a lease or contracts in general. They worry about where to go to college, who to marry, and what career to consider. We completely stress ourselves out over so many decisions and end up just avoiding them entirely instead. Why are we always so hesitant about anything that resembles future obligation and responsibility?

 

Is it because we’re so incredibly greedy that we don’t want to limit how much we can get?

We live in a very “more” culture, so when we put ourselves in a situation of settling down with something, anything, we panic because we think that’s all we’re ever going to get. We have a happiness problem, a lack of appreciation and gratitude for what we do have. We don’t want to commit to something because we feel like we’d be cutting off our ability to gain more (which, by the way, is not really true).

 

Is it because we’re so insecure about our ability to make a good decision that we just avoid making decisions altogether?

Y’all, why are we so unsure of ourselves? Why do we harbor so much self-doubt? So many people are indecisive; they hate making decisions, even if it’s just which restaurant the group is going to go to for dinner (I know I’m definitely guilty here). We’re so scared of messing up, that we avoid picking one option at all costs. But standing for nothing means falling for anything, and it’s just so much better to trust yourself and live life.

 

Is it because we lack the patience needed to turn out something great?

Of course we love to learn and grow, but we’re so impatient. We want to know everything immediately. There’s a want to sell a prototype for a million dollars immediately. There’s a want to fast-forward to the fancy house, big paycheck, expensive car, and extravagant vacations. That being said, few people are actually willing to work hard to earn those things. There’s a sense of entitlement to success without putting in the hours to get there. We want to do *all the things* and we want to do them all quickly and successfully, but it’s just not possible without committing ourselves to our goals.

 

Is it because we’re so discontent with what we have that we’re always waiting to see if something better comes up on the horizon?

We always look for something better, the latest and the greatest. We fail to recognize what we already have and, in doing so, we miss out on a lot of awesome things. I know I’ve sat on job offers for a little while because I had other interviews lined up and I thought “what if I sign this offer, but something better comes out of these interviews?” I didn’t want to cut myself short, but I also ran the risk of losing the offer I already had. It’s a fine line to walk and a bit of a gamble sometimes, but you have to be honest with yourself. You have to take a step back and evaluate everything in play and, yes, commit to something.

 

“In a society where 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce and today’s newest retirees changed jobs 11 times on average during their lifetime, it’s no wonder that today’s young adults seem to be commitment phobic.” source

 

As Paul Angone discusses here, we’re always told that our younger years are the time to experiment, the perfect time to move around and try everything. While it’s true – freshman year of college is the perfect time to try different classes, the summers between college years are the perfect time to try different internships, and every single day is the perfect time to find new people – you can’t actually learn anything from these experiences until you fully commit yourself to each one.

You can’t find your tribe or your soulmate or even the dog fate wants you to have unless you put in the time to get to know a person (or puppy 🙂 ). As an adult, you have to put in the effort for your personal relationships; you have to work at it, but that level of commitment to a group of people is what will bring you all closer.

You can’t find your dream job unless you find your focus and keep your mind open. Breaking news, commitment isn’t about closing yourself off to everything else. At least to me, it’s more about loyalty, hard work, dedication, and unconditional focus. Yes, you have to try different things to see what you enjoy, but you have to commit to an experience to get the most out of it. Jumping from one job to the next week after week is not going to serve you well, I can guarantee that.

You never reach anything of depth without some sort of commitment and without that level of depth and understanding, you’ll likely get bored and move on, only to repeat the same process with something else. Long story short, getting nowhere.

I’m not recommending that you say “yes” to every big opportunity that comes your way without giving it a little thought or  weighing your options. It’s smart to take a day or two to think about how a decision will impact your life’s course, if at all. It’s important to evaluate plans and make sure they’re going to be good for your physical, emotional, mental, and academic (it’s a thing, I just made it up 😉 ) health.

Life is big. It can be scary and messy and overwhelming, but it also has so much to offer if you dedicate yourself to a part of it.

So go ahead. Get your friends together and commit to a date on the calendar. Book a trip more than a month out. Look at where you want your future to go and plan for it. I’m all for spontaneity, but if you never commit to anything more than a day in advance, you’re cheating yourself out of all of these great opportunities to see the amazing results that come from hard work and dedication as well as your own personal development, which, as we’ve explored, is likely a reason for the fear of commitment in the first place. *coming around full circle*

 

~What does commitment look like for you?

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