Commitment Part 1: Self (#2)
Updated: Aug 23, 2020
Stormlight Archives (Book Series) by Brandon Sanderson: https://amzn.to/2wzaUa6
Atomic Habits, by James Clear: https://amzn.to/2PSROlN
Jocko WIlink - https://jockopodcast.com/
Craig Ballantyne - https://www.earlytorise.com/genesis-worlds-disciplined-man/
[00:00:00] Daniel: [00:00:00] Hi guys, welcome to the dead by tomorrow podcast. My name is Daniel winter and my cohost is Andrew Monroe. And each episode, we're going to explore topics that are too important to wait until your last day on earth. As we introduce each topic, we encourage you to remember that some tomorrow will be your last.
So each new day could be your final chance to really blend
Andrew: [00:00:24] this week we'll be talking about commitment, specifically honoring commitments to yourself. if you ever going to achieve the goals you desire before dying getting good at commitments is a must. Thanks for listening and looking forward to connecting with you soon.
Hey Daniel, since we're talking about commitment today, let's start this off with what is the hardest commitment you've kept?
Daniel: [00:00:47] Ooh, that's a tough question. this could just be recency bias speaking, but I would say that's probably a work assignment that I took. Almost around this time last year. So I agreed to move into this position where I needed to help a new group of people go through this change process, this change management, and it was a pretty challenging commitment to make upfront because it meant leaving a very comfortable well-established.
Team and in group where I had a really good rapport and then working with an entirely new group of people that I didn't necessarily have a lot in common with. I didn't know. They weren't even in the same office offices me. And then we started working through the process. Yeah. The degree, the difficulty that I anticipated, it really grew to be even more than I expected.
And it was just a really chill emotional time. it was challenging just. Traveling. Cause I hadn't really done that a lot and work before. And so there were a lot of moments throughout that process that I really questioned. Was this a commitment that I should have made was this wise, can I follow through on this?
And it was something that, at the very beginning I agreed, okay, I'll do this for a year. That was what was asked of me. And I knew this was going to be my full year was working with this different group of people working through this. Pretty tough change situation. And so I would say that's the most challenging one in recent memory.
Andrew: [00:02:26] Interesting. So your hardest commitment that you've made at least in recent memory was professionally related.
Daniel: [00:02:34] Yeah, definitely.
Andrew: [00:02:36] Cool. what about it was so difficult? Was it the? extra workload or was it a cost to your, work life balance? Or what do you think was your big sticking factor before you made that commitment?
Daniel: [00:02:51] Yes, it was a strain on the emotional side. It was a bit of a strain and in terms of just [00:03:00] travel and getting a little bit uncomfortable, but I think, yeah. What made it especially hard was the stark contrast from going from one state to the other. So going from a place of relative comfort to a place of pretty strong discomfort, anytime something is really hard.
I feel like a big part of that is the contrast from one thing to the other. No that's
Andrew: [00:03:31] fair. That makes sense. That change is never comfortable. And especially whenever it is a loss of freedom like that, if you were probably enjoying the lifestyle you had at work and you knew you were going to, you have to essentially lose some of your freedom at work to follow this through.
And you're the kind of guy that is going to follow it through that. That's a hard decision to make.
If this one was so hard for you, what kept you from tossing in the town?
Daniel: [00:04:04] Yeah, that's a good question. So I feel like discipline, which is really the backbone of commitment. I feel like discipline is one of those things that is just like any other muscle in that. The more you exercise it, the more you practice it, the stronger you're going to get.
And so that mindset really came actually from college. so I went to Texas a and M and my freshman year I started as an electrical engineer. And the reason for that is, my dad was an electrical engineer. I've always felt like engineers are smart people. I want to be a smart person. So that's what I tried to study.
And that first semester was a beat down a weed-out classes are no joke. And so at the end of what really halfway through that semester, I was barely passing any classes. If I was passing at all and I really wanted to. Just quit, really wanted to give up on that, but I had this mindset. Okay. I can't quit.
That's a failure. If I'm going to move to something else, I really need to be able to prove to myself that it's not just because things were hard. But it's because that was really, the best decision and maybe it's just something that I needed to push through and get to the other side and there'd be a reward.
So I said to myself, okay, I'm going to stick with this for this entire freshman year. If at the end of the year, we're in the same place, I'm just hitting light and it's obviously not a good fit. All right, that's fine. I've proven to myself that I can honor this commitment that I set, this goal that I set.
And at that point I can move on to something else. And so we got to be into freshman year and I still [00:06:00] absolutely hated it. It was terrible.
Andrew: [00:06:02] oops.
Daniel: [00:06:03] Yeah. But even though that was not a fun year at all, I got something valuable out of it. I actually got multiple valuable things. I learned a little bit about physics.
Not sure how valuable that really is, but I learned, okay, I can make a commitment to myself. I can follow through on that. And I got to see that success. I also got to see what it took to work really hard at something and need to put in that effort and, not be guaranteed success. And that was also a really valuable lesson.
So at the end of the year, made it through, transferred over into the business school, into marketing. Love it, and that was a good fit, but I was able to look back and really feel confident in my decision, not feeling like I just ran away from. a tough situation that might've been beneficial. If I had stuck with it, I stuck with it long enough to know, okay, this is the right move.
So all that to say, how was I able to stick with this past year of a tough work decision? That same idea of, okay, this is really hard right now, but I've made this commitment. I know that I can honor a commitment to myself. I know that I can stick with this goal. Yes, it's hard right now, but I know that there's going to be a benefit at the end of it.
I just. got to practice that muscle and stick with it. I
Andrew: [00:07:19] actually follow a guy called Jocko Willick. He is a former Navy seal crazy guy, and he says that discipline begets discipline. And I was one of those guys who follow the discipline is a willpower associate that you can only use so much of in a day.
And so I thought it was a finite resource and Jocko comes along and talks about what you're talking about, where it's a muscle. And he says, no, the more discipline you focus on, the more discipline you have at your disposal. And he was right. It's life changing information that kind of goes against the grain of what we think is common knowledge.
Daniel: [00:08:05] Okay. So let me ask you this. Do you believe in unconditional commitment?
Andrew: [00:08:12] I don't believe in a lot of things that are black and white. My favorite color is actually gray. And it's partly because of that. I don't think there's anything that is going to be exactly hard set with that knowledge though. I do think commitments are almost always something that's pretty close to unconditional though.
There are times when it is acceptable to break breaking a commitment. Gotcha.
Daniel: [00:08:37] So what would be some of those times, what would be a good reason to break a commitment?
Andrew: [00:08:42] Oh, that's tough. It would depend on the situation, what the commitment was. if it was a commitment to something unhealthy or something that was not a good fit that I gave proper effort to, that's worthwhile, if it's, personal, since that is what we're going for right now.
There's been commitments I've [00:09:00] made to myself that I thought would fall through on and they ended up not jiving with my principles. They weren't something that I wanted to actually stand for. By the time I got through with that commitment, I didn't necessarily have a year rule, like we talked about, but there's been different times where I started a commitment and I was like, Oh, this isn't either giving me the results.
I thought it would. Or providing the growth opportunity that I thought committing to this would. So in those moments, I thought it was pretty okay. To break a commitment. specifically for me, I've got to watch out for laziness. Yeah. It's really easy to break a commitment because I just don't want to do it.
And my mind is able to start justifying that kind of reason to break a commitment. And I've got to really watch out for that myself.
Daniel: [00:09:51] Can you give me an example of a commitment that was worth breaking? Sure.
Andrew: [00:09:56] The one that most recently comes to mind, maybe not most recently, but a good example of that kind of mindset was a girl.
I was dating before my current girlfriend. She was really interesting. I was excited to have found a pretty fun girl in Amarillo, but the problem was we weren't a good fit. But normally I do not like two, not give something a chance. I want to give that full commitment a shot. And to me, that's longer term, six months or something before where I've really made up my mind with her though.
I realized pretty shortly in a year, probably five, six weeks in that we weren't a good fit. And even, yeah. So I had already talked to her about exclusivity and everything related to that. I came to her. I was like, this is not going to work for me. I am sorry. I know we talked about trying to give this a chance and really this is such a short timeframe for any type of committed relationship that it's not really me giving it a shot, but I've already realized this isn't for me.
And so I pulled out and said, sorry, best of luck to you on your next guy. So that kind of. Ability to pull out from something that wasn't working for me. And it wasn't a good fit for me, despite outside pressure, I'm at the time I was 27 and there's these pressures for me to be dating and getting married.
And whenever a girl that looks like a good fit on paper comes along. There's pressure on me to stick with things even if I don't want to. So in this case it was more personal commitment. That would have been easier to keep then to break, but it was the right move to break that one. And that was also honestly harder than normally keeping a commitment is.
So with that said, do you have any tools that you use to stick with something?
[00:12:00] Daniel: [00:12:00] Yeah, I've got a couple of tools that I typically use and fortunately the research backs them up as well. So the very first one. Is writing it down, whether that is via a journal or I, at this point, just a lot of putting things in my phone or on the computer and just actually physically recording.
This is something I want to do. recently I felt like I was leaning a little bit too much into some, just entertainment and wasting time, things like that. And instead of just saying to myself, Oh, I should watch less TV or I should play less Xbox. I pulled up my phone and I wrote out, okay, I want to only play X-Box one time each week.
I only want to watch one episode of a show and I made it specific and I recorded it, wrote it down. And then the next thing that I do is share what I've written down with. Somebody that can help hold me accountable. That cares about me. So I did those things before looking further in the research, but I definitely did them more inconsistently.
Until understanding just how effective that actually is. There's a study from Gail Matthews at Dominican university in California that says you're 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams simply by writing them down on a regular basis. And then it goes on further to say that if you share those written goals with a friend that believes that you will succeed, it gets even better.
Andrew: [00:13:30] That is awesome. I love writing things down. I have so many more skins if you like an
Daniel: [00:13:37] author or something.
Andrew: [00:13:38] Oh yes. there's the writing thing too, but I use a laptop for that. No, if you saw next to my computer desk or next to my bed, I probably have five or six Moschino. Strewn about my apartment.
I've got two in my backpack who knows where the rest are. They're everywhere. It's wild, but have you ever heard of Pearson's law?
Daniel: [00:14:01] No.
Andrew: [00:14:02] Okay. So I don't know if that's where that study comes from or if they're related in some way, but I use Pearson's law a lot in my own life just to reference what other people are doing and that kind of thing.
And the gist of Pearson's law is whatever is measured grows and what is measured. And recorded grows exponentially. So how that works is exactly what you said. When you write something down and you write down every day, Hey, this is my goal. This is my thing. You will grow that goal. It will progress. And whenever it's recorded or reported as another way that they say it, that goal grows exponentially.
And it's everywhere in the business world. It's wild that. It's out there. It's really cool. It also reminds me of electrons and you're talking about your physics class. That stuff gets wild. If you ever get into it, look at electrons and how they teleport and all the weird things that [00:15:00] go into that.
But we won't go into that. Cause that's not what this episode is for today. So electrons aside, do you have any other tools that you'd suggest?
Daniel: [00:15:08] the only other one I would suggest is getting your environment that's a big theme in the book, atomic habits, which is, habits really are a form of, building discipline.
And so your environment is just such a big habit for determining, are you going to stick with a good habit or are you going to continue to follow a bad habit and environments and interesting thing because that's something, you really plan ahead of time whenever you're in your cool-headed state, as opposed to your hot headed state, where you want to act in a moment you want that instant gratification.
So if you can get your environment when you're thinking straight, so to speak, that's going to set you up for success in honoring whatever it is that you're wanting to achieve. That's
Andrew: [00:15:50] awesome. I like that. I need to read that book. I haven't read it yet, which kind of hurts my feelings.
Daniel: [00:16:00] Last question. Are there any. People or characters that you feel have shaped your view of honoring commitment?
Andrew: [00:16:10] Absolutely. There are two books, I guess you could say. one of them is a real life, actual person, self-guided book. It's called principles by Ray Dalio. And it's really all about how to have discipline and principles in your life and really above anything else.
I think everyone should read that book now that said. Dahlia is a really successful businessman. He's done really good investments, but the most inspiration I find is actually from him fictional character. It's from the Stormlight archives by Brandon Sanderson, another book, but the character is so good.
The character, Dell in our colon, he has this beautiful arc where he essentially becomes this really and principled man. Out of the ashes of his slovenly, terrible life choices he made. And it is great seeing him grow into this leader and it inspires the heck out of me whenever it comes to the discipline and commitment, because that's his big thing is being honorable and committed.
And I'm not going to give anything away, but there's just scene after scene where he makes choices that are hard for him, but he is honoring his commitment to people around him and to himself. And the choices he's made and it's just, it's great watching that kind of thing. Play out in a book.
Daniel: [00:17:34] Where do you feel like you're at in that story arc for your
Andrew: [00:17:37] life? I, I am just a step away from the ashes yet. The post ashes. I hope I not becoming ashes. I haven't nearly gotten on that level. but I'm doing pretty good in terms of keeping commitments to friends and family. It's something I'm really passionate about.
And I hope a lot of people. See that in my life, but I'm also, I'm not [00:18:00] anywhere near, fictional character level. And I'm definitely not nearly as successful as Ray Dalio and having written a book on principles yet. So I still on the uphill climb, I would think so. We're probably always going to be on an uphill climb in life because otherwise it gets boring.
Daniel: [00:18:22] Any of the people or the books that we referenced will be available. The show notes, definitely check those out. Okay. Also, if you want a simple path to follow, so check out Craig, Ballantine's five pillars of transformation. He does a really great job of. Breaking down some ways that you can stay more discipline.
And he's even described by some as being the most disciplined man alive. This was dead by tomorrow with Andrew and Daniel. Join us next week. And we will talk to you about commitment to others, what it means to be socially.