In life’s breakfast, are you the chicken who lays the egg or are you the pig who ends up on the plate as bacon? Show your commitment: be the bacon. You may be wondering what I am talking about. Let me tell you the fable of the Chicken and the Pig, then all will become clear.
A Pig and a Chicken are walking down a road together. The Chicken asks the Pig, “do you want to open a restaurant?” Pig thinks about it for a moment and says, “Well, maybe, but what should we call it?” “I was thinking about Bacon ‘n Eggs,” the Chicken responds. The Pig gives it a little more thought and says, “No thanks. I’d be committed, but you’d only be involved.”In life's breakfast, are you the chicken who lays the egg or are you the pig who ends up bacon? Click To Tweet
It’s one thing to lay an egg, an entirely different thing to lay down your life for the meal. This fable is told primarily to employees who have a hand in a project. Involvement is OK, but commitment takes your efforts to the next level.
Commitment is missing in America.
Too often, in life, we are the chickens, because making a commitment just seems too hard. Experts estimate the divorce rate in America is as high as 50% for first marriage. It’s even higher for second and third marriages. My wife and I agreed, prior to our marriage, that we don’t believe in divorce. That’s a commitment we made and have kept. I know a lot of people who got married without making the commitment. Most divorced to soon.
If we can’t even commit to the most important relationship in our lives, how can we expect to bring commitment to our jobs, our communities, or to our entrepreneurial endeavors? The days of staying at a job for two years or more ended with the advent of the 21st century. And how many people make it when they start a business? Some 50% of businesses fail in their first year and up to 95% fail in the first five years. Clearly there are a lot of factors in business failure, but lack of commitment has to be in the top five.
I know a woman who opened a business in a challenging location. Her store is right beside a friend who has a coffee shop. Despite the lack of organic traffic, the coffee shop is flourishing? Why? Primarily it’s due to his commitment to making good coffee and always being there for his customers. Customers, like myself, tell everyone we know about the place. The other business probably has more crickets than it ever has had customers. The owner is never there and when she has scheduled groups to come by, she has failed to show up. Commitment? Not so much.
Self-Focus Takes The Stage
I read an article, The Lost Art of Commitment, recently that put this problem into perspective for me.
Among today’s young adults, the unwillingness to commit is alarming, clearly one result of the philosophies of the 1960s and ’70s coming to full flower. In 1979, sociologist Robert Bellah conducted extensive interviews to understand what “habits of the heart” defined average Americans. Many had no sense of community or social obligation. They saw the world as a fragmented place of choice and freedom that yielded little meaning or comfort. They even seemed to have lost the language to express commitment to anything besides themselves. Bellah called this “ontological individualism,” the belief that the individual is the only source of meaning. Bellah saw how this attitude would, in time, unravel the church and larger society. Since then, we’ve seen an almost uninterrupted march toward self-focus, affecting all of our institutions but especially crippling work, marriage, and family.
I tried for a 100% success rate helping couples save their marriages, individuals find happiness, business owners achieve success, and so on, taking personal responsibility for the outcome. Whenever the desired results didn’t happen, I blamed my skills and methods and sought more training and techniques, and never achieved more than a 50% success rate. I felt relieved when I discovered that other helping professionals did no better. Thinking of all the people I tried to help, the biggest difference between those that succeeded and those that didn’t, appeared to be – Commitment.
To be happy, you have to commit to happiness daily.