100 Ways To Live A Better Life – 47. Make A Promise To A Close Person And Keep It

It doesn’t have to be something big. It doesn’t have to be for someone special. It doesn’t have to be difficult also. But it has to be a commitment to somebody. Just reach out, make a promise, keep it and then enjoy the feeling after.

Making and keeping promises is the best social glue I ever encountered. There is no easier and more effective way to make friends, to reach out and to build invisible bridges between you and other people.

It also improves your self-esteem drastically. Committing to somebody else has this magic effect of growing more inner resources. It’s like what you build outside is coming back to you in an invisible way.

The more promises you make and keep, the more inner fulfillment you’ll create. 

How To Make A Promise That’s Realistic And Keep It

In my experience, people are not bad at keeping promises (except for the pathological liars, but those are accounting for less than 1% of any social circle I’ve seen). Once people make a realistic promise, the vast majority of times, they keep it. The nuance is in the “realistic” thing.

People fail to keep their promises not because they want to disappoint the others, but because of the fogginess they have when it comes to what’s realistic or not. They have a certain image about reality, they have certain expectations when it comes to reality and they act based on those assumptions. But most of the time those assumptions are based on what we usually call “wishful thinking”. Or, in other words, the hope the things will turn out to be just fine. Alas, reality doesn’t work this way.

Reality simply works. Reality doesn’t care about what we consider to be good or bad for us. It doesn’t give a shit about that. Good or bad, for reality, are equal. And here’s another thing: what’s good or bad for us changes with circumstances. What was good yesterday may not be good today, and what was bad last week may be a blessing today. Think only at the meteorological phenomena if you don’t believe me. In the middle of the winter, a hot and sunny day would be a blessing. But in the middle of the summer, another hot and sunny day will be just boring.

But we make those stories, you know. We create those expectations. We project a certain reality that we consider desirable and we ignore all the clues. Because reality works with clues. They are there, all the time, we just choose to ignore them. If there are clouds on the sky, then it’s very likely to rain. That’s a pretty solid clue. It would be absurd to make a promise about going to the beach and get a tan, under those circumstances. A much better promise would be to buy an umbrella. And yet, we still commit to the “sunny and nicey and happey day” and we promise we’re gonna bring that to those people. And we really want to, you know. We really hope it would be like this. And then it rains.

The secret of making and keeping promises is to make them realistic. The secret is to take into account everything you can and be honest. If people will push you to promise a sunny day but you see clouds coming in, well, don’t promise a sunny day. Don’t promise anything at all. Just be silent. It will be so much better for everybody.

But if you see the clouds coming in and you still promise a sunny day, then, by all means, move the earth around until the clouds are gone and bring back the sun.

Photo source: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Make-a-Promise-95075953

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