Commitment & Loyalty

Commitment is doing something even when you don’t want to. No matter what. Loyalty is wanting to do something even when you shouldn’t. No matter what. Both can get you into trouble – or pay off in spades. Either way, commitment and loyalty are worth the risk.

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Scheduling Love

Busy people often struggle to make ends meet with their loved ones. Life gets out of hand. Before you know it, you miss every meal with him or her and spend no time together except asleep at night. If left unchecked, this can tax your relationship to a bitter end.

If your relationship is truly important to you, you must carve out sacred time for it. One of my teachers in Hollywood, Bruce Botnick, upholds a rare feat in the entertainment industry: he and his wife have been happily married for 43 years. Beyond a pact to stay the uncompromising individuals they each fell in love with in the beginning, a large part of their success as a couple comes from sacred time together. To this day, they still go on dates and get to know each other. Bruce’s stories are a charm to hear – and he spouts them like a giddy schoolboy. A man in true love.

Spending time together is one of the keys to keeping a union healthy. Many forget or neglect it, especially couples that have been together forever. As unromantic as it sounds, you must schedule time for love. Make those blocks of time sacred and let no one take them away.

Consistently Persistent

Do you have plans to write a book? Make a film? Start a company? Do you work on them every single day?

You do not achieve goals by taking breaks here and there, chipping away when you feel like it. You achieve goals by consistently persisting forward and never taking a day off. Thirty minutes per day yields better results than three hours once per week. If you take a break, you will lose momentum. Lose momentum, and your passion project may fade to the back of your mind. You will lose.

If your mission is tied to your very core, then maybe you can survive output droughts. To intertwine your mission to your core in the first place, you need to consistently believe in it. There are feature films I have wanted to produce since I was eleven years old. I have no polished screenplays or financing to show for them, no plans to produce anytime soon. I touch these projects once every few months at best. But I wake up at night after dreaming about them every so often. They will not leave me alone. To make the films, however, I need to commit. I will need to start making daily progress to finish them. They will never get made otherwise.

Marry the Man or Marry the Mission

I’ve seen a lot of relationships collapse because partners failed to compete with the work or passion of their significant others. Especially in Hollywood, where living the dream and working 18 hours per day takes priority over all else. There are two different kinds of people – those who live for life and those who live for their dreams. The former tends to put people first; the latter tends to put the mission first, whatever that mission may be. There’s no right or wrong, better or worse. But when you are trying to engage in an intimate relationship with another person, it is very important to identify the type of person you are with. The disconnect comes when one party invests first in the relationship and the other invests first in the mission. You can fight the disconnect all you want to. But when a person’s love is unwavering or his or her mission is unwavering, you may never win. If the mission comes first, you need to fall in genuine love with the mission. Or move on.

Avoid False Promises

The most respected men and women follow through with their commitments, return favors, honor agreements, and exceed expectations. Without question, dependability is a virtue. Do not make promises you cannot keep. Breaking a promise causes more trouble than passing on the promise in the first place. Never string people along. Never say “maybe.” If you know you can or cannot, say so. If you do not know for sure, make no promises – make the facts known, do your research, and return with a definitive answer (if you have no intention of doing the research, get it out of the way and just say “no” now). Do not be afraid to say “no.” Smart people respect and value honesty over weak commitments.

The Hat-Trick of Leadership

While it takes many different ingredients to make a leader, some of the greatest I study share the following three traits:

  1. Higher Purpose – for the mission and for humanity abroad.
  2. Steadfast Optimism – faith in people, the direction, and positive results.
  3. Genuine Patriotism – in service of and love for the family or organization at hand.

Do you have what it takes?

Erase ‘Maybe’ From Your Vocabulary

Commit, commit with stipulations, or don’t commit at all. ‘Maybe’ leads people on and only procrastinates the real answer. ‘Maybe’ hardly answers the question and forces you into an awkward corner where you ultimately have to decide. ‘Maybe’ usually means ‘no’ anyway, so why not be honest?

You will disappoint people more by leading them on and saying ‘no’ later than if you just say ‘no’ now. And who knows? Say ‘no’ now and they might return with a better deal.

Decide. Stop wasting people’s time. Stop wasting your own time. Yes or no?