We had an interesting ICA teleclass session on the subject ‘commitment Vs trying’.

Our class leader Leon asked us to write a few high priority issues in our lives and rate them in terms of our commitment as well as our actions regardless of result.

I seemed the only person with a problem with his exercise.

To me, commitment meant 100% or 10 in a scale of 1 to 10. I could not look at it any other way. Others rated various issues ranging from 5 to 10. What did this mean?

Our reading material said commitment + action= success and trying + doubt = failure.

I agree that trying with doubt or halfheartedly guarantees failure, unless accidentally one reaches where one wishes to.  Trying means wishing, wanting and seeking. Dr. Doolittle said famously in My Fair Lady to Prof Higgins, ‘I am willing to tell you. I am wanting to tell you. I am waiting to tell you.’ This is trying.

Commitment to me means action. No action needs to be added to commitment to lead to success. We can rewrite the equation as ‘Intent + Action= Commitment = Probability of Success’.

No action can inherently lead to success. It can only increase the probability of success. Without action, the probability decreases. Without action, no commitment exists.

Why then so much confusion between commitment and trying?

If by commitment we mean a mere intent or desire or wish , we get into this quandary. Every world leader worth his salt and every politician claims that he/she stands for world peace. Yet, every country keeps increasing its defense budget. If every one is for peace, why stockpile weapons? Their actions do not match their intent. They have no commitment to what they say.

Our leaders fight for peace. What an oxymoron!

We spend much of our lives in making resolutions, but do not follow them up with committed actions. Everyone knows that overweight is unhealthy. Yet, everyone indulges indiscriminately in food and drinks. We say that we try to reduce or diet. This trying in no way reflects any commitment on our part. So, it fails.

For years, though not overweight, doctors advised me to exercise regularly to get over a genetic problem of high triglyceride content. I never took this seriously. I made a few attempts going to a gym, bought a tread mill, but didn’t stay committed. A year ago, a new doctor i met at the clinic after my annual check-up didn’t mince words. he told me that the genetic condition was not my problem but the absence of resolve to exercise.

From the next day, every day, i walked at least for an hour a day.  This doctor was a great coach.

How can we help people when we coach them when the clients says that they have been trying but their efforts don’t seem to work?

If you are a coach in such a situation, ask your client what s/he is trying to do. Let the client list and see  that what they state as intents to do, have no actions to follow.  The coach can hold a mirror to the client  for the client to see that his/er intentions remain hollow if actions do not follow the intentions.

An old adage says, trial costs nothing. A trial, if it remains only as an intent, does cost something. It costs success.