In the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, one of the things he addresses is how people’s culture plays a role in why some people are more successful than others.  In particular, he examines the Asian culture and the discipline it takes for them to be successful in growing rice on a small rice farm in order to make a living doing so.  This discipline and commitment carries over to everything else that they do.  Therefore, they are much more likely to spend perhaps 20 minutes working at a math problem that they can’t immediately solve but are likely to figure out in that time than people who come from cultures less centered around discipline and commitment who might give up after five minutes or less, deciding the problem was just too difficult. Throughout the book, he illustrates that the two key factors that very successful people share are opportunities that came their way because they were in the right place at the right time and the significant amount of time they spent mastering their craft.  The magic number, he says, seems to be 10,000 hours.  Without commitment to what they were doing, they would not have put in that many hours.

Obviously, not everyone can be someone like Bill Gates, Michael Jordon, or one of the Beatles, but commitment is still important for anyone to be successful at anything. This could be a job, a hobby, a project, a particular skill or talent, or a goal such as losing weight or making other self-improvements, or a cause you support. Commitment or dedication encompasses persistence, hard work, perseverance, and determination, all of which are important qualities to have to achieve success.  If you are not “all in”, then you will obviously not be as successful as you could be if you were.

I think this is particularly true of relationships.  If you are truly committed to the relationship, are willing to put forth the effort to making it work, and have a partner who is also dedicated to the process, then you have a much better chance of overcoming any obstacles or differences you may have.  When one or both people are looking for negatives, don’t see how they contribute to any problems, don’t think they need to make any changes, don’t want to share their thoughts or feelings, or don’t want to discuss the issues, then things aren’t going to work.  Or minimally things will be a struggle with a lot of stress and drama that doesn’t need to be there.  Ideally, relationships should be easy and not require a lot of work or for either person to have to make any changes, and perhaps that is the problem.  Some people go into them with false expectations of how easy and fun it will be, and when it isn’t, then things fall apart because the commitment isn’t there to work through the more difficult times.  It’s easier to blame the other person for everything and walk away.  Sometimes there are valid reasons for ending things, but I think lack of commitment often plays a role.

Whether it’s a relationship or any of the other things mentioned above, motivation may play a factor as well.  Figuring out exactly what does motivate you is important.  It’s always helpful to keep the end result in mind too, whatever that may be. And of course, thinking about how you will feel once you have achieved success or reached your goal should also help with motivation, whether it’s the sense of pride, satisfaction, fulfillment, accomplishment, a job well done, or knowing that you made a positive difference somehow.  Earning your success through hard work and dedication is a feeling that only you can achieve for yourself.  And if you have a happy and successful relationship because you have made a commitment to it, you should feel an even deeper connection to that person because of it.  Commitment, or lack there of, can either make or break relationships or other successes.  It’s a wonderful trait to have in your back pocket when you need it.

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