Rule 53. Make few promises
How many problems could be avoided if this simple rule was applied? How many friendships would have continued, businesses open and families together?
There is an element of modern society that dislikes having to say no, to admit to one’s inability to accomplish a task or appear weak in any way. So, instead of honestly saying no, or admitting to our shortcomings, we say yes, and suffer the consequences.
A promise is a sacred bond, in which an obligation is made between at least two people. As we walk through life we pick up these promises and give them to others. This is not a problem in small doses, a promise can often encourage and support another, and is good for the soul. If, however, an individual doles out promises like candy, there comes a point when two difficulties arise:
- The Promise is worthless – Like currency or commodities, the over abundance of something lessens its value in the eyes of others. If your promises are common they are less likely to be treated as valuable.
- The Promises become empty – If you promise everyone a piece of the world, a point starts when you cannot deliver, leading to feelings of disaffection and irritation. Some stop promising at this point, seeing their folly, others keep right on going, believing their illusions are real.
If any man or woman wishes to remain in a state of peace and tranquility, they will refrain from making promises often. By recognizing the value and respect promises deserve, perhaps we can use them better, giving them only when we can deliver the investment they require.