Have you ever said, “I would love to come!” to an event, and then on the day, completely bailed?
Let’s be honest, we’ve all done it.
It doesn’t seem like a big deal, particularly if the invite came via Facebook, or it’s to a large group of people and we feel like we won’t be missed. Does it really matter if we said we’d “stop by” and then don’t?
Or it could be revealing that our word doesn’t actually mean much.
Our word means shit
In years gone by, our word was our bond.
It linked right through to the concepts of hospitality, and the honour of our family’s name — something we would never impeach.
Now, I can quickly think of a handful of people that I don’t believe for a second when they tell me they’ll be somewhere or do something.
And I can think of scenarios in which I’ve also become unreliable.
It seems increasingly that our word, to others and to ourselves, means shit.
A slippery slope
What concerns me most are the words to myself that I’ve broken. Because for every time I’ve slipped with others, I’ve done it a hundred times more internally.
Have you ever told yourself that this week you’re not going to spend as much on going out? That “this is the last time I’m using the credit card”, but you keep pulling it out of your wallet?
Perhaps 2019 was the year you told yourself you’d start investing, and so far you’ve made no progress?
What happens if we compound this inaction?
Your excess partying could be leading to $60 a week extra on your credit card, which adds up to $3,120 in a year. Don’t act on your word for five years, and you’ve racked up $16,000 in debt.
Maybe you had saved $10,000 to invest this year, which is currently earning just 2.0% interest in the bank. While you think, “I’ll get around to it”, you’re potentially losing $600 per annum in investment returns. Compound that inaction over five years, and you’re down nearly $4,000 from one broken word.
Integrity isn’t a ‘nice to have’
Theodore Roosevelt said, “I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!”
Why are we treating our personal integrity like it’s a ‘nice to have’? And what we said we’d do as optional?
Saying we’ll do one thing, then doing nothing, means we’re choosing to be disrespectful to others and to ourselves. It might be to our friends by not showing up, or to ourselves for throwing away our money.
Let’s start keeping our word. Let’s go to sleep at night knowing that our conscience is clear, that we stand behind what we said we’d do, and that it should bring good outcomes in the long run.