Commitment Vs. Trying

Most often, we think of commitments as things that we declare to the world like marriage vows, or work commitments, or a commitment to running every morning. Of course, we generally see our commitments as significant. Consider, also, that as human beings we are always committed to something. There is never a time, not even a split second, when we are not committed. Now, we know this is a big statement, so let's test it.

You might say, "What about when I'm lying on the lounge watching television? I'm not committed to anything then." But we would reply that is exactly what you are committed to at that very moment: lying on the lounge watching television. There could even be a stronger underlying commitment.

Consider this scenario: It is Saturday afternoon and you have a stack of work to complete by Monday. You know that to finish it on time, you will need to work on it all weekend. Instead, you're lying on the lounge watching television. What might be your underlying, in fact, your true commitment at that moment? Try the following ideas:

You could be committed to not succeeding at work. Perhaps you are committed to proving that "you have too much on your plate," or that everyone else is lazy, and they leave it all up to you. It could even be as radical as: You're committed to being financially insecure and there's a real chance you could lose your job if you don't complete the work. There are infinite possible commitments that may underlie your actions for lying on the lounge watching television. Any commitment which you have not consciously chosen, we call an Underlying Automatic Commitment, or UAC.

Of course, the problem is that we are often not aware of what that underlying commitment is at the time. We have amazingly creative reasons for why we lie on the lounge and they always seem so "true." We even make sure we have friends around us who agree with our reasons: "Oh, I know, it's terrible the way they make you do all the work. You deserve a break."

So, what's the point?

Well, the great news is this: There is a lot of power in becoming honest with yourself as to why you do things the way you do. This is the key to living a powerful, peaceful, fulfilling life, as opposed to living as a Victim of life. Now you may be adamant, "I'm not a victim!" If you are complaining about how your life is, or any part of it, then you are being a Victim. You don't have to be complaining out loud for it to be costing you something. It could simply be that little voice inside your head, singing its repetitive "tune."

Applying the Model

It's very important, especially when first engaging in this kind of inquiry into your life, not to use these insights to disempower yourself. In other words, you need to exercise compassion towards yourself. It is important to realize this is the way we all think. It is how all human beings behave. It is not wrong, it is just part of being human.

In fact, if you criticize yourself for anything, you might discover that your criticism is part of some underlying commitment to disempower yourself. You might be committed to the fact that you are a bad person, or that you always get it wrong, or you know you are not as good as everyone else.

Either way, the purpose of getting to the real commitment behind anything we do is to give ourselves "free choice." Once you are clear about your commitment in any given situation, you have your hands "back on the wheel." You can be in control. You can choose how it's going to go by replacing your underlying commitment with your chosen commitment.

Look for an area in which you have been trying to produce a result and haven't yet. This is an opportunity to look for the Underlying Automatic Commitment (UAC) behind your trying. You see, trying is a cover-up for that UAC. As long as you are trying as opposed to committing, your UAC has control over you. In the example above, you may have been trying to get ahead at work but your UAC - dedicated to proving you are busy and overloaded - may be pulling you back.

Note at this point that UAC's can also be very effective in your life. You may have a UAC called "being independent." Sometimes this will be a positive aspect while a negative one in another instance, or simply a negative one. The point is you are driven by your UAC's unless you can see them for what they are.

Topic 2: Techniques


Help your client speak powerfully. The word 'try' leaves a "back door open for escape." "I'll try to quit next week," means you are really not trying that much, not enough to seriously commit. This is very different from, "I will stop smoking Saturday."

The phrase, "it depends on," is also away from true commitment. It's another "back door." Help your client rephrase or "re-language their choices." For example, change the phrase: "I'll do it if Bill gets back to me tomorrow," to "I'll do it." (Note: This is also taking Responsibility for Bill getting back to you by tomorrow.)

Sometimes commitment is called for even when you don't know how you will get something done. It can be scary, particularly when we're being Significant, but very powerful.


One way to test if you or a client is committed is by looking at the actions. If your actions are aligned with your goal, it's fair to say you are committed.

One way of causing this alignment is to put in place a Structure.

Accountability. If you say you're committed to being on time yet are constantly late, you are Trying. If you are Committed, you will put in place a Structure to get yourself there on time. (You may need a reminder system; getting there early; choosing a day where you have less to do, etc.)

Client exercise: This exercise will demonstrate that there is "no trying." We either do it or don't. Trying is simply an excuse that keeps us locked in our UAC's.

Ask your client to stand. Once they are standing request that they try to sit down. Encourage them and enthuse them to sit. Give them 30 seconds and then ask if they are sitting or standing. Whichever one they are doing is what they are committed to. There is no trying! We either do it or we don't. It is a choice. Once we realize that we are always choosing, and therefore committed to a choice, we can let go of the dis-empowering perspective of trying.


Christopher K. Randolph
Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, Sales Trainer & Coach, Speaker

WOW! Simply Amazing!

Having spent 6 years as a military officer, Chris Randolph was ingrained with the basic building blocks of management & leadership. Overcoming the challenges in successfully motivating individuals from different backgrounds for a common cause, Chris realized that this was one of his natural talents.

In the last 19 years, Chris has applied himself to the study and pr...

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