Sunday, January 10, 2010


"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. 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 favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."

- William Hutchinson Murray (quoting Goethe)


sam said...

Commitment is key but figuring out *how* to commit can be hard. In rock climbing, committing is sometimes thought of as the point when it's harder (or more dangerous) to go back than forward on a climb. So in that case, an external factor helps you commit.

I rode my bicycle from South Carolina to San Diego in 2001, and one of the keys to success was telling people (in a non-bragging, casual way) that I was going to do it. This created a mild, external pressure that helped me pull it off, b/c I knew people would ask me about it later -- and I wanted to be able to say that I did it. The actual task of riding across the country isn't that hard if you take it slow (I did about 60 miles a day). It's mustering the commitment that's hard.

Joseph Heath and Joel Anderson have a good paper on this topic titled "Procrastination and the Extended Will" (

Great, thought-provoking post as usual Boris.

Boris said...

Thanks Sam. Commitment, ownership, the right habits - all essential.

Another favorite quote on commitment is Lou Holtz's take:

"If you don’t make a total commitment to whatever you’re doing then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking. It is tough enough getting that boat to shore with everybody rowing let alone when a guy stands up and starts putting his jacket on…"

I look forward to the paper.