What makes promises so difficult to keep?
The dictionary defines “promise” as “a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc. by one”. It sounds simple enough. You agree to do something and then you do it. So why is it that so many promises are not kept?
Even worse, those who make and then break their promises often don’t seem to feel the least bit of remorse or the need to offer an apology or explanation for having broken their word.
Currently, the college age daughter of one of my friends is on a solo month long adventure through India. Her initial contact/host family is a relative of one of her mother’s co-workers and their home has been her base of operations. Somehow, contact was established with another family in Mumbai who agreed to play host. So off Leslie went on a twenty hour train trip. When she arrived at the station in Mumbai, Leslie found that her “hosts” had changed their minds and had sent her bag to a hotel. So, here she is in an unfamiliar city, in a foreign country far from home. She is traveling alone. She knows no one.
Being the strong, brave, resourceful soul that she is, Leslie finds the hotel, recovers her bag, and finds a place where she can afford to spend the night. She makes plans to return to Bangalore on the following day’s train. If anyone can handle this situation, Leslie can.
The point, however, is that she should never have been put at risk like this. If the family did not wish to play host, it would have been much kinder in the long run just to have said “no” in the first place rather than to leave a young woman stranded.
My parents and various mentors over my career always stressed the importance of doing what you say you will do. Consequently, I don’t make promises lightly. I expect to keep each and every one that I make. If something happens to prevent me from keeping my word, I find a way to make it right.
It is a small thing in this great big fast moving world, but there a still a few people around who keep their promises. Whether in business or in your personal life, strive to be one of this rare breed. A promise kept should not become an endangered species…