Do you like my whiny title? How millennial of me, right?
Committing is tough for me and lots of others. The toughest. Maybe it’s the fear of failing to follow through that leads to our shying away from commitment. Maybe it stems from emotional claustrophobia. Everyone is a little bit different.
I really don’t like commitment. But I never get anything done without it. More honestly, the amount of stuff I get done when I don’t commit pales in comparison to the amount of stuff I get done when I do. Still, the hate and the fear are still always there for me.
How to get over our aversion to commitment?
Baby Steps – have you ever seen What About Bob? In that film Bill Murray plays a man, Bob, with all sorts of mental problems. He can hardly move around for one of his phobias acting up. His doctor tells him to take baby steps. Bob no longer has to worry about making it downtown for his appointment, he only needs to worry about getting to the door, and then to the end of the hallway, and then the elevator, and then the lobby, then into a cab. Baby steps. The difficulty we have committing might just be alleviated if we employ the same method as Bob. Smaller commitments are no doubt easier to stomach than gigantic ones. You may still hate committing, but you’ll hate it a lot less when you break your commitments up into baby steps. At least, it’s worked for me (and Bob).
Practice – I feel slightly foolish just writing this one. But, like Batman, one effective method to overcome our fears is to immerse ourselves in them. Throw yourself into uncomfortable situations. If nothing else, you’ll learn a lot more about yourself, which is always a good thing. Make a small commitment and stick to it. You’ll feel good about yourself. You’ll realize that you didn’t miss out on much because you made the commitment or even because you followed through. The more you commit, the more you’ll get used to committing.
Psychoanalyze Yourself – Try to get to the root of the problem. Why do you hate commitment? For me it’s the claustrophobia thing. I don’t like feeling caged. The fact that the caging was done of my own volition makes it all the worse to contemplate. But I also know myself pretty well. I know that I’m most likely going to end up going with the boys to see the movie on Saturday night, so why won’t I just say yes when they ask me a few days before? So what if I decide on Saturday I don’t feel like going anymore? Almost nothing bad happens. I usually have a good time. If you can get to a point where you really understand your own aversion to commitment, the effect is usually that you’ll have an easier time committing.
Foresight is a valuable skill to have. It’s not possible to know exactly how you’ll be feeling at a given point in the future, but the more you learn about yourself, the better you’ll get at guessing correctly.
Be Polite – Realize that making others wait on your answer is pretty damn rude. Like when you get invited to an event on Facebook, and there’s an I don’t know button. I’ve never understood the function of that. Oh, yeah, I might be coming to the party. It’s the same as not responding. The only helpful responses for the host of the party are yes, I’m coming or no, I’m not. If you’re unsure, just say no. You’ll miss out on a lot of really cool experiences most likely, but at least you won’t be that jerk who flakes an hour before the wedding. Or even worse, the jerk who shows up when no one else thought you were coming. When others are involved, it’s polite to commit one way or the other.
Realize that the cage is in your mind – Everything is subjective and perception is reality and we’re all just insignificant specks of dust. But really, the thing with a cage is that the animal can’t get out usually. This is not so with commitment. Name me a commitment that you couldn’t break if you changed your mind. I can’t think of one. The cage is artificial. You can open the door and walk out at any point. (But that doesn’t mean you should. As I said before, committing helps people get shit done.)
Those are my tips. Commitment is scary yet useful. Especially for anything to do with creativity. You can’t half-ass it. Well you can, but it the end result will turn out half-assed. I’ve come to realize this especially about my writing. Very few people can “fake it ’til they make it.” You’ve gotta really put yourself out there if you want your art (or anything else you create) to be something special. Commitment is the only way to do that. But I do struggle with it. Hopefully this 30 day blogging challenge will help.