We are inundated with options. There are choices all around us. Do we stay at our job or look for a new one? Should we date this person or not? Do we take on a new project at work or are we at capacity?
Very often, we find ourselves caught in between two options. It is difficult to live your life when you are constantly looking over your shoulder and trying to imagine how green the grass is on the other side.
Here is an uncomfortable truth that we can kind of sense but is rarely put into words: we cannot expect the full benefit of one path unless we are willing to fully commit to it. When we look over our shoulders, we are taking our eyes off of where we are going.
If you are at work, daydreaming about having a different job, you are caught between two paths. You are not really pursuing either. At least not as truly, as fully, as you could be. The toggling between trying to be productive where we are and imagining where we might otherwise be can hold us back. This lack of commitment indeed holds us back from living our lives as fully as possible.
Commitment is the way to unclog this phenomena. Look ahead and decide to be where you are. Or leave and take the practical steps toward committing to something new. The no-man’s-land in between can be both addictive and crippling.
When we commit to something, we make a definitive choice. We put our effort, hope, and trust into a specific path. The only way to experience the full benefits of any given path is to commit to it. Whether it be work, relationship, projects, etc., the degree of commitment we are willing to invest has a direct correlation to the dividends we experience.
Not That Easy
Of course, this is not as easy as it sounds. And sometimes we do commit to the wrong path, which hurts. The dividends are often pain, confusion, and a feeling of being lost. That is the very thing we are trying to avoid. If we try to keep one foot in our imagined alternatives (or maybe one foot literally in an alternative, such as people who live double lives, etc.), maybe we can avoid the pain that comes from commitment. This is exactly the strategy of those couples who live together but do not want to get married because they are worried the institution ruins relationships.
But if we cannot risk the pain, we cannot fully reap the rewards.
Committing to a path and finding out it was the wrong one is (most of the time) not as devastating as it sounds. It is better than complacency.
Life is complicated. Choosing the right path is elusive and difficult.
But commitment is the key. Until we commit, we will always be in a lukewarm place, a place defined by uncertainty and tension. In some ways, the pain of constantly spinning around has more devastating effects than committing to a path that doesn’t work out in the end. At least you can learn from the pain. At least you stewarded commitment and practiced the discipline of living according to a vision. You lose all of that when you try to straddle multiple options for long stretches of time.
So, yeah, your lack of commitment might be holding you back. It is healthy to take the necessary time to weigh and consider options. But if we are habitually living in a place of wavering commitment, we are missing out on much of what our path has to offer.
Joey Willis is a writer and Servant Leadership Trainer with The Crossroad.