Each morning I gaze at the eastern horizon, and if the sun keeps its promise, I keep mine. ~Robert Brault

Finding individuals who are consistent in keeping their word is becoming a rarity today. Accountability seems optional at best. Why is this happening so often?

Here are a number of reasons:

1. Not playing out the movie in full. When I lived in San Diego, I wanted to buy a German Shepherd. I found one that was absolutely perfect – all of 14 pounds of fuzzy, lively joy. 14 pounds . . . .now. As I began to play out the movie, I soon realized that 14 pounds would eventually become about 80 or 90 pounds and the place that I lived was simply not big enough. Nor did I have the time, being a full time student AND working full time AND doing side jobs as a writer. The poor little puppy would not have received the attention, love and time that he needed and deserved.

If you are considering committing to something, play out the movie in full PRIOR to making a commitment. If you see “green lights” and still feel excited and passionate about the project, go for it. If you are not able to commit fully, either let the other person know or pick a different project.

2. Interest versus a Passion. If something is an interest, you will do it now and again. If it is a passion, there is nothing that will stop you from pursuing it. Be truthful when answering the question, “Is this really a passion or simply an interest?” People who are passionate about a given topic will always keep their word.

3. Not wanting to hurt another’s feelings. The intention behind this is admirable. You like, care for or love the person and think that by saying no, you will hurt their feelings.

You won’t. People are not built of glass and even if a person is disappointed, they will recover.

When you give your word, others based their decisions upon the assumption you will follow through. When such is not the case, problems arise.

4. Inability to say no. This is a “cousin” to #3. Some people simply have a tough time saying this powerful, 2-letter, monosyllabic word NO. We could spend 154 pages discussing the reasons for this issue but the reasons for it matter not. Just do it. Be truthful. Be yourself. Say what you mean, even if the answer is no.

Notice what is not included in the above. . . .

“Lack of money” is typically not one of the reasons for breaking one’s word. People will spend their money on what is most important to them. Therefore, the issue is not money or lack thereof, it is priorities.

Most who state “I don’t have the money” really mean “I do not want to spend my money on this.” So say it! Have the courtesy and courage to let the other person know the truth. Not everyone is meant to do what you are interested in.

“Lack of time” is simply a variation of lack of money. No one has enough time. Unlike money, it is a finite quality.

Once again, be honest. Let the other know that zipping or computer classes or scuba diving is not your thing. Truth will trump disappointment every time.

I teach martial arts and am so very fortunate to have a large group of high quality, wonderful people. One person in particularly sticks out. He works full time, is married and has a daughter. He has been training for about a year now and has never — not once — missed a class. He takes vacations, gets flat tires, has allergies at times, has to deal with his 4 year old etc., but manages to attend all classes.

One day we discussed this matter and his reply was direct and noteworthy. “I come because I gave my word I would.”

Never a better lesson was taught than this. . . .

Author's Bio: 

David Orman is the publisher of TheOrdinaryBuddha.wordpress.com.