Perseverance without commitment is effective as herding cats.


Goals need commitment

Setting goals is not enough, we need three more ingredients, perseverance, determination and commitment.

A conversation with a person I have been coaching gave me a significant aha moment, it was like the sun coming out from behind a dark cloud.

She had been saying for months that she struggled with setting and achieving goals, was unable to persevere, abandoned those goals she had set before making any meaningful progress. In her career, she had to coordinate projects. She would set up schedules and make plans to accomplish the required steps, then take no action, she would leave everything until the last few days before the deadline.

Then she would work frantically, for long hours and get the work done. The project would be completed on time, barely.

She had experienced the same difficulties when trying to start a series of part-time businesses. She would start, then abandon each one before achieving any results.

From what I understood of her life, she was competent at her job, had years of experience in her field, had a happy family life and was a good mother. She took pride in the appearance of her house and garden.

One week she was unable to attend our scheduled telephone sessions. The following week, I found out the reason.

One of her daughters had not been feeling well, tests indicated that she had an obscure, potentially serious disease. A disease extremely rare in North America, one more usually associated with less developed parts of the world. Probably contracted by exposure to a carrier through her work as a hospital nurse.

When we resumed our regular sessions, my client told me how when she learned of her daughter’s condition she was determined to do everything she could to get the best treatment for her. She took time off work, spent hours researching the disease on the internet, found detailed information on conventional and holistic treatments. She contacted doctors, specialists, hospitals and clinics.

After reviewing her results, she secured an urgent appointment for her daughter with the most highly recommended specialist in the field.

Unlike in earlier times when this disease ravaged Europe, treatment is now simple, effective and without side effects. Her daughter made a complete recovery.

Why the difference between the determination and perseverance to achieve the goal of solving her daughter’s problem and the inability to persevere in other areas?

Was it her natural maternal protective instinct? Possibly that was the motivator.

The sole reason was:


She was committed to finding a solution and getting the best possible outcome for her daughter.

Since then she has been able to make far more progress with pursuing her goals in other areas of her life. She has also and perhaps more importantly realised that without commitment to achieve them, there is little point in setting goals.

W. H. Murray of the 1951 Sottish expedition to Mount Everest put it this way:

“Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

Murray provided an impressive example of commitment and perseverance himself, when he wrote the draft of his first book “Mountaineering in Scotland” on rough toilet paper while a prisoner of war in WW2. When the manuscript was found and destroyed by the Gestapo, he immediately started writing it all over again. Source – Wikipedia.

That’s commitment.

Commitment is the fuel that keeps our perseverance burning until we achieve our goals and to overcome whatever adversity we are facing.

Are you committed to doing what it takes to live your own extraordinary life?


p.s. I get a daily reminder about commitment and perseverance with membership of an exclusive group of supportive people for $9.97 a month by subscribing to OMFG click here to check it out. (affiliate link)

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  3 comments for “Perseverance without commitment is effective as herding cats.

  1. Roberta
    June 11, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Commitment and competence. The two go together. Not sure which comes first. Again….just do it……and keep on keeping on. Never know when your goal will be reached. Must never give up to soon.

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