Long-term commitment: Why is it so hard?
Our work relationships have been turned on their head in recent months, laying bare a deep-seated shift in the way we commit. A long-term commitment to a profession, mission, cause or community can be deeply fulfilling, but has become difficult for many of us. Is it possible to change?
“When people have too many choices, they make bad choices,” the saying goes, and the expression does contain a useful lesson: An abundance of options can wipe out your decision-making circuits, damage your ability to make choices and curb your capacity to fully engage. In Dedicated, Pete Davis dissects the key components of personal commitment as he explores several ways to help you become more implicated in the projects that matter to you.
Dedicated, the Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing,
by Pete Davis, (Simon & Schuster, 2021).
Commitment – a value that’s on the rise: True – but especially for other people
Consumer society, the advent of digital technology and our increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world have bred a culture based on agility, an abundance of choice and keeping your options open. Most young people no longer learn a profession. Instead, they learn to how to learn so that they can adjust to any particular situation.
While our parents dreamed of a straightforward, linear career, we prefer to amass new experiences, surfing from one job to another without wasting too much time. We’ve entered the age of infinite browsing, one in which we’re always being urged to see if, by chance, the grass is greener on the other side.
But there’s a problem: Hopping from one lawn to the next means we lose the taste for gardening. We still commend people who go to great lengths to achieve something, who toil year in, year out on pet projects and who campaign unstintingly for worthwhile causes. This capacity to give all of yourself is admirable at a time when the challenges facing the planet are becoming glaringly obvious. Admirable, but not for us, thank you very much.
Commitment is scary: True – times three!
You claim that so-and-so’s love life is an endless string of one-night stands, that he’s afraid of commitment. But the same could be said about you if you’re unwilling to make long-term plans. Surfing through a world of open doors has fomented three great fears in you that have put the brakes on your personal engagement.
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