It is quite possible that after reading this you might call me crazy. Even some of my friends may think that these are the utterances of a disturbed mind, of someone who himself could not meet his commitments and hence was looking for justifications or total escape.

But the fact remains that I not only believe this to be true but have seen it firsthand. And we are all entitled to our beliefs. My belief that the word commitment has vanished in the new era has been brought about by the changing circumstances created by the deteriorating economy and crashing markets. I find that all around me this is forcing many a good soul to renege on their promises and commitments and often fall back on acts and deeds they would not have otherwise resorted to.

And this includes honouring commitments.

From another perspective, if someone is not able to repay his debts on time only because of the economic downturn, should he have to resort to begging, borrowing or stealing just to meet his commitment?

The traditional commitment definition

The world today has become very different. The word commitment has taken on a different meaning. In earlier and easier times commitment meant giving your word and trying to honour that word by all means possible. When one made a commitment he made it with the belief that he would be able to honour it if he made all possible efforts. And more often than not the circumstances turned out in his favour. While making a commitment, it was also understood that it would be an honest effort. But this definition has changed today. Conditions are such that often if commitments have to be met it is possible to do so only with unfair means. Should one stoop to this level for the sake of meeting commitments?

The new definition completely undermines the actual definition of what commitment is. If I make a commitment, I will want to do my best to stay true to what I promised. What I will not do, however, is use dubious means to keep my promise.  But in the present disposition the world today probably expects me to do just that.

Changing dynamics

Earlier it used to be easier to fulfill your commitments. So many factors made this possible. There were more humble people around you. There was more kindness and generally people were more considerate towards one another. They were tolerant of each other’s mistakes and more willing to forgive than they are now. When you look at the financial perspective of making a commitment, it is easy to see that when the economy was in a better shape, it was easier to make commitments and honour them.

Commitment in the new economic environment

 But with the economic downturn, it has become harder to keep commitments. Most of our wants and needs revolve around wanting things and getting them. A tough economy tends to make people less co-operative and not very inclined to forgive and forget. Today’s competitive market also makes it harder to find a job, keep it and make money. And amidst all of this, our need to depend on money and material goods has only increased, turning us into greedy, lazy and emotionless beings.

A person in debt, defaulting on his loan, will be treated badly and with contempt. The lenders will force the person to pay up, come what may. By pushing the person into a corner like this, the lender forces him to get the money by begging, borrowing or stealing, whatever it takes. This takes them down the wrong path and they end up fulfilling their commitment to pay back, even if it means going to jail.

If this is the price one has to pay for meeting commitments how can the term commitment in its earlier sense  be relevant anymore?

Give weight age to change in circumstances

 Circumstances can change, and you might be unable to keep your commitment, and I don’t think that it is such a big crime any more. Treat it as a speed bump and think about how you can do better the next time. However, I would never use this as an excuse to not give 100% to a commitment that I have made. Whether I succeed or not depends on so many external factors.

 The right way to tackle such situations is with patience, understanding and a cool head on your shoulders. For example, when there is trouble in a relationship, our first instinct is to fight back. But what good does that do? Instead, sit down and talk about what issues you are facing when it comes to your commitment to each other. Figure out a solution to the problem and put it into action.

You will find that the situation is not as hopeless as it looked.