What do our words actually mean to us?

“I will call you in 5 minutes” was the message.  I’m still waiting after 5 days.

“I am on my way.  Will be there soon” was the response when I called my prospect who was already late for the meeting (that was scheduled a month earlier and confirmed just that morning).  He is probably coming to the venue via the pacific route!!

Why do we have so much trouble keeping our own words?  Deeper still, why do we make commitments without an iota of intention of keeping them?

Actually, both of them are inter-related.  I believe that we find it tough to keep our words because we weren’t being serious about delivering on that promise.  In fact, we lie when we say ” we will be there in 5 minutes” when we know that it will be atleast 1 hour.  But we do not want the other person to give up on us and hence make a false promise.  Unfortunately, that is the result we end up having.

We have also earned a reputation of not keeping our words and so when we say “5 minutes” the other person will convert it to 1 hour because he knows us too well.  And if he hasn’t learnt it so far, he will certainly get it on this occassion the hard way.

The real danger:  It has become our culture to give our word and break it with impunity and nobody will hold us accountable for our commitments.

The great opportunity:  When we deliver on our commitments, we are considered heroes because most never do.

The choice is there very clearly for each of us whether we want to give the word that we will keep or be very casual about it.

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1 Comment

  1. Ramkumar said,

    November 28, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Great share Badri, Honouring one’s word is one of the critical distinctions that I am present to always. It’s worth being this way man.Thanks for making present again for me.


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