There is a big difference between being interested and being committed. As the motivational author Kenneth Blanchard said: when you are interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient; but when you are committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.
If you want to achieve your true goals in life and be successful, interested is not even close to being enough. You have to commit and discipline yourself to make progress on a daily basis. Yes, on a daily basis, not weekly or monthly; otherwise you’re are probably just wasting your time and not getting anywhere, if we’re being honest.
If you want to improve your health, you must put effort in this on a daily basis. Working out a few times per week, stretching, meditating, and eating healthy food. There is always something you can do to benefit your health day by day, even if you get ill or something.
Same goes for your closest relationships. It’s the same concept as watering plants. You can water a plant every day for months but when you stop, only a few days have to pass by before the plant starts to wither. You cannot be merely interested in having a relationship with someone, you have to be seriously committed.
Of course you can always find hundreds of reasons and excuses why you didn’t have time for something. And I trust you that the excuse was important. But the reality is that if you really want something, you will find a way, if you don’t, you will find an excuse. Don’t make compromises. Throw yourself in the water, start swimming and continue with the motion every day.
The key lies in quality not in quantity. Select only a few things you want to be really good at in life. A few relationships. A few really big goals. Make room in your life by suitably managing time. And then commit.
Interesting is the biggest enemy of lean life
In the lean start-up principles, when you are developing a new product and present your minimum viable product to a potential customer, interesting is your biggest enemy. You are looking for either extreme enthusiasm over your product or a quick no, even hate if you want. Getting feedback that someone is interested is misleading. It's the worst type of feedback.
“Interesting” is the most misleading and the worst type of feedback.
People have a hard time saying no or not being interested. We feel that someone will be offended if we turn them down. How empathic we can be sometimes. That’s why it’s much easier to say that something is interesting, but deep down knowing that it’s not for you.
Everyone will say that you have an interesting product if you “torture” them long enough. But when they have to open their wallet, their empathy quickly goes away and we face hard reality. Actions speak much louder than words.
It’s the same in other areas in life. If you take your girlfriend to dinner and her reply is that food is interesting, it means it sucks. If you get a reply “I don’t like it”, you know where you stand. If you get a reply that it’s fuc*ing awesome, I love it, mmm… you know you have hit the target. “It’s interesting” will make you feel better, but actually you should know that you have to choose a better restaurant next time.
Ironically, you can do the same to yourself. You many times do things that are only interesting to you, instead of finding and doing things that are pure love and enjoyment and then really commit to them.
If you try a new sport and it feels interesting, it’s not really interesting. What you are looking for is a feeling of something like, “how cool is that”, “I want to do this every day”, “why haven’t I tried this before” and so on.
Don’t look for relationships, activities or people you are interested in. Look for pure love and enjoyment. When you find it, when you find your perfect fit in the search mode, it will be no problem for you to commit.
The mental shift from being interested to being committed
The key question is how to switch your attitude from being interested to being passionately committed. Here are some ideas how.
Make room for the important things in your life
The first (and obvious) thing you need to do is “make more time” in your life. If you want to do that, you have to let go of some other things you’re currently spending your energy on – people, activities and stuff. That requires saying no to people, saying no to things you are only interested in in your life, maybe throwing away some stuff that consumes too much of your time, and ignoring all distractions.
Less is many times more. You can be really committed in life only to a few things.
When you make some free time in your life, you have to make sure that you are emotionally and mentally focused in the dedicated time period. You have to be in the moment in order to be committed. You need a couple of hours where you are undistracted and focused only on that one thing that you are committed to.
- You are not committed if you text with others while being with your girlfriend/boyfriend
- You are not committed if you hang out on social networks while working on a project
- You are not committed if you gossip too much when going to fitness
- You are not committed to learning if you go to the fridge every five minutes
- Interested is not committed
Follow your True North
There is a simple, but very difficult trick in connection with being focused and present in the moment. As Buddha figured it out thousands of years ago, our mind is closely connected to our body and emotions. What we think is what we become. The best thing for a focused and peaceful mind are positive emotions.
You feel positive emotions if you are committed to the right things for you as an individual. We say that you are following your “True North” when you are committed to the right things. Then you can progress much faster, because you are much more calm, optimistic and productive.
Make zero compromises when it comes to following your True North.
Knowing all that, it is essential for you to choose the right fits in your life, and even more to avoid all unnecessary stress, conflicts, negative emotions, distractions and anything else that will drain your energy and has nothing to do with your True North. Energy is the scarcest essence you need for your personal and professional progress and commitments.
Just to emphasize how big of a destruction negative emotions can cause, remember that a few minutes of anger require the same amount of energy as a normal calm eight-hour long working day. So make sure you manage your time and emotions very wisely. It’s the only way you will have enough energy and mental focus to commit to things that you truly want in life.
You only get a limited number of fucks to give over your lifetime, so you must spend them with care. Mark Manson
Enjoy the things you do
It helps a lot if you see your commitments as fun, hobby and relaxation. As we said: you have to make a dead-serious goal and commitment, but it should not feel as an obligation or a chore, but more as the most fun part of your day.
You are definitely on the right path when you wake up every day and can’t wait to start doing all the things that you are committed to. That is how life should be. Waking up energized and excited, looking forward to all the activities and commitments.
The best mental attitude you can have is: “Nothing will get in the way of me and a few daily hours dedicated to [enter your commitment].” Nothing. Day after day. That is a clear sign that you have successfully made the transition from being interested to being passionately committed. Look for the same thing in other people. Deal and spend time only with people who are committed, not people who are interested.
A story about how interested is not committed
There is a quite famous Pig and Chicken fable about being committed not only interested. Here is how it goes:
A Pig and a Chicken are walking down the road.
The Chicken says: “Hey Pig, I was thinking we should open a restaurant!”
Pig replies: “Hm, maybe, what would we call it?”
The Chicken responds: “How about ‘ham-n-eggs'?”
The Pig thinks for a moment and says: “No thanks. I'd be committed, but you'd only be involved!”
That is the difference. Love and commitment are your friends on the road to success. You can move on and learn from quick no’s. You can be super happy if you get a yes. But interesting is your biggest enemy. Interested does not equal committed – that goes for all the people you interact with and so does for yourself.
If people don't see you kind of obsessed with your goal, you are definitely not trying hard enough.
The key takeaways
Here are the key takeaways from the article and the Pig and Chicken story:
- Don't be only interested in things, find a few goals that you are really committed to
- You know when you are committed to something when you put in the effort on a daily basis
- Make sure you commit yourself to the right things with searching for your fit
- To achive that you have to simplify your life and follow your True North
- “Interesting” is the worst feedback you can get, look for people who are committed as you are