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by David Truman

When we speak of commitment, what exactly do we mean? Well, commitment has several parts:
Duration -- Depth -- Quality -- Purpose
Therefore, when defining any commitment, it is useful to sort the commitment into its various parts and consider each part separately. Take the concept of enduring love for example. Some people think mostly of the ENDURING part, others think mostly of LOVING. Enduring has to do simply with length of time -- duration. Love, on the other hand, is about what will be happening over time -- i.e., loving. Love is a matter of quality and purpose. A commitment to loving is very different than a commitment to simply enduring.
With that in mind, let's consider the four aspects of commitment, and how they relate to each other.
1. Duration
It has been said, "There is no time like the present." It is equally true to say, "There is no present like the time."
DURATION is the factor that allows your commitment to ripen and bear fruit.
While everything we do has immediate effects, sustained effort can produce other effects that are more lasting. Many of the most beneficial processes on earth -- even very positive, dynamic, and effective processes -- take time to do their work. Why engage in any useful enterprise without allocating the time required for its fulfillment? Why mow down the corn before the crop matures? If we wish to accomplish something of magnitude in the physical world, we ought to give the time required for the development of results.
DURATION makes the other aspects of commitment more effective. People may express grand intentions and begin with a flourish. Unfortunately, in many cases, these promises fizzle out before long, leaving the result nowhere near as satisfying as it could be. A person who makes a real commitment of quality makes good on his word; he follows through on his intentions with the consistent application of diligence, focus, and energy over time.
2. Depth
DEPTH is the measure of how much of your heart is in your commitment.
Beautiful living means throwing yourself into life without reservation. Mediocre participation does not yield much benefit over virtually any amount of time. A person who takes a superficial approach achieves little more than shallow experiences, and a hollow feeling. A person who invests himself deeply in his projects and relationships satisfies himself and others -- as long as the QUALITY of commitment is also high (see the next item). Therefore, if you want to commit to something or someone, waste no time -- move right into the heart of the matter, and make your participation as deep, meaningful, and positive as you possibly can.
3. Quality
QUALITY is the factor that determines how well your commitment satisfies yourself and others.
In all things, quality is a powerful factor in satisfaction. A well-built house will last for generations, whereas a poorly built house will provide grief even for its first resident. Similarly, when it comes to any undertaking, are we going to produce something excellent or something no one would be proud of? The answer to that question is primarily a QUALITY consideration. A stalker has a DEEP commitment, perhaps even a commitment of long DURATION, but it's to an ugly activity. No matter how deep or enduring a commitment is, the quality of the commitment determines its real value.
4. Purpose
PURPOSE is the magnet that draws desired results to you.
When considering whether to commit to an endeavor, everyone wants to know, "Where will this lead?" The answer is, we decide by the purposes we choose. Purpose is a power to be respected, not trifled with.
As an expression of its purposes, every enterprise generates a mixture of dynamic processes, both positive and negative -- for example, competing, cooperating, hoarding, contributing, persuading, compromising, demanding, etc. The processes which predominate in our affairs determine our course across the sea of life.
NOTE: PURPOSE is closely related to QUALITY. A high-minded intention behind a commitment tends to uplevel the quality of the commitment. For example, an unselfish or loving purpose kindles high quality, self-transcending actions, while a small or selfish purpose supports only mediocre or uninspired effort.
Now that you know what commitment is
What is commitment? It's our BUDGET for our lives and loves.
Your understanding of the nature of commitment is now clear and strong. Duration, depth, quality, and purpose -- these are pieces of the puzzle. Now add who you are into the mix, and generously throw in your precious soul-gifts. This way you can create wonderfully rich involvement with life and with those you love.

by David Truman

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