One of my favorite movie quotes comes from the movie Unforgiven starring Clint Eastwood.
William Munny (Eastwood) is a former murderous outlaw, who gets sucked back into lawbreaking because he needs the money for his farm and kids after his wife dies. He’s got his shotgun aimed at the sadistic town sheriff played by Gene Hackman, on the ground, already shot. The sheriff begs “I don’t deserve this. I was building a house!” Munny replies “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.” You can probably guess what happens next if you know anything about Clint Eastwood films. It’s a harsh reality. What you deserve has little to do with what you get. Because what you think you deserve is only that: what you think And what you think isn’t the truth. It’s just what you think. After the birth of our first child, I felt that I deserved to sleep through the night. It quickly became obvious to me that what I thought I deserved didn’t matter. I still had to get up in the middle of the night and help my wife with the baby.
It’s easy to be ruled by what you feel you deserve, or like, or don’t like about your life. But how you feel has got nothing to do with it. Plenty of people have things they don’t seem to deserve, while others who don’t deserve to suffer misfortune, or lack seem to have their share of it. So, it isn’t about what you deserve, it’s about getting what you want. And when it comes to getting what you want, it’s about what you are committed to.
I have a daughter who is 16 years old. I’m not sure what she deserves and I’m even less sure of what she thinks she deserves, but she has no problem asking for what she wants and guess what? She gets most of what she asks for. If I sense that what she is asking for is unnecessary or unreasonable, we’ll talk about it. But if I see she is committed to getting it, we’ll work something out so that she can get it by earning it.
When you have a powerful commitment it exists independent of how you feel, what you like or want, or what you think you deserve. One of the most powerful declarations one can make is: “Even though I don’t want to, even though I don’t feel like it, and even though I want it to be easy and not hard, I will do it anyway because I made the commitment to do it. Regardless of my feelings of deserving it, I’ll work to get it anyway.”
That’s called personal power. The ability to take action even when you don’t feel like it. The ability to go after what you want with power, intention, and commitment. People who consistently act because of the strength of their commitments are called Extraordinary. Maybe you have no interest being extraordinary. But if you are listening to this, I’m pretty sure you’re not committed to being powerless. Because that’s how we feel when we are unable or unwilling to take action and honor our commitments and our word. Up until 2003, the only thing I was committed to was not committing to anything. Someone told me around that time “Ted, you don’t have a lot to hang your hat on.”
Ouch. I hated the person for saying that because it was true. Not only did I feel powerless, I felt downright crappy… But from 2003 to 2008:
· I went back to school
· Got married
· Started a business
· Had two kids
· Bought a house
· Started teaching a class
· A couple of years later I published a book.
What happened in those five years? Simple: I made some commitments with the intention of keeping them and got rid of the “deserves” conversation. Simple, but not easy. The fact that I was desperate to make something of myself helped. (Better late than never.) Let me ask you: Do you have commitments you are not living up to or that you know you should make?
Feeling not deserving is one reason why folks fail to make and keep commitments. This is a sneaky form of self-sabotage.
Another reason people are afraid to make a commitment is because for some people, a commitment equals being tied down or being in bondage. That’s how I felt for many years. However, the only real freedom to create a life worth living is through commitment. It took me a long time to realize this. Without commitment, you are a prisoner to your fears, resistance, distraction, circumstance, and the conversation about not being deserving.
A real commitment requires consideration, due diligence, and an understanding of what can be created with that commitment. Finally, a commitment requires a decision to cut away things that stand in the way of your goal.
A few years back I attended a weekend seminar called the Landmark Forum. You may have heard of it. It changed my life. This is from the course materials:
Throw away being deserving. Constitute yourself as a place where miracles can happen. Living a great life is a gift. Be willing to have what you don’t deserve, be willing to have what you didn’t earn, be willing to be a r.ecipient of a gift or grace.
You didn’t ask to be born but you were. Although life is hard, for most of us living is still better than dying. The reason is that there’s a lot of beautiful stuff to experience in life. And fortunately, a lot of it just seems to show up. What I’m suggesting is that we want to be open to receiving any help, or assistance or gifts or fortune that the universe is willing to give us. Here are a couple of quotes I really like:
“Most people fail not because of a lack of desire but because of a lack of commitment.”
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”
~William Hutchison Murray
I can help you to take action and follow through. If there are commitments in your life that need to be made, I’d like to support you in making them in a way that inspires you and leaves you feeling powerful and unstoppable.
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