Do You Know the Power of Commitment

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. – Rumi

I’ve been thinking about the difference between trying and doing and how it applies to our creative lives. Consider how it feels to say “I’m going to try to write a book versus I am going to write book. The word try brings with it a lot of resistance and a sense of effort, whereas I am going to do it carries the sense “I can do this”.

Perhaps the most well known line in the Star Wars movies is when Yoda says to Luke Skywalker “do or do not, there is no try”. Yoda is encouraging Luke to commit fully because he know that if Luke is uncertain that he can achieve the goal, he will not be able to. I’ve heard of trying referred to as “failing slowly.”

So what makes doing so much more effective than trying? The following quote from W. H. Murray, of the 1951 Scottish Himalayan Expedition, conveys the full power of committing: “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!’” When we commit to do it, we are more open to new possibilities and inspiration. We bring more of our presence to the task and are able to access the flow of our expanded self.

Just deciding we can do it, doesn’t necessarily mean that our early efforts are going to be brilliant. There is always a learning curve to anything new we do or to increasing our skill level at something. Still with commitment we bring our heart to the task which helps fuel our capacity to show up and find pleasure in the doing.

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