The greatest of follies is to sacrifice health for any other kind of happiness.

~ Arthur Schopenhauer ~

Is That a Promise?

October 24th, 2011 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 14 secs

Pigs learn to fly on broken promises

Will you do that? Is that a promise? Promises are still a big deal. In fact, we couldn’t do without them.  Though business dealings have largely switched to signatures, the spoke word remains a vital basis for trust.

Think of family life without the certainty of a promise to make dinner, be ready on time, or arrange to pick someone up.

For some a clear statement isn’t enough. Intentions must come with the words, “I promise.”

The idea of your word being your bond goes back a long way, doesn’t it? Traditionally, people who broke pledge risked losing status, and sometimes, paid the ultimate price through execution.

Yet these days we have a built-in tolerance for broken promises. In some cultures, false promises are part of doing respectable business. Whilst in English speaking nations, promises to “catch up”, ”do lunch”, or “give you a call” are equally empty.

Politeness takes precedence over pledge. So we take it for granted that there are promises and then there are promises.

For instance, a wedding vow is a binding promise.  While a promise to help someone out is often a gesture with no guarantee at all.

There is a great line from the Old Book that offers some simple wisdom: “Let your yes be yes, and your no, no.” Or, be true to your word. By all means do as you say and people will respect you for it. If you want to emphasise the point, say, “I promise.” But if you do, make it stick.

Your word says loud and clear whether you can be trusted or not. So aim to leave no room for doubt, when asked, “Will you do that? Is that a promise?” Because every promise makes a statement about ourselves.


Comments are closed.