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  • Kit Allowitz

Until one is committed…...there is hesitancy

“Until one is committed…. there is hesitancy,” written by, William Hutchison Murray, a prominent climber whose first book was scratched on toilet paper scraps while being held for three years in one of Hitler’s concentration camps during World War II.

As I reflect on these 7 words…... daisy-chained together, I am particularly struck that, for me…. the words are unequivocally true.

As I recreate on paper the last 20+ events that for me required a commitment, this quote brings immense wisdom …. And the reality that were I allowed hesitancy, where desire was not strong…... commitment and action did not occur.

Here is a short list of events where I capitulated and so did my commitment. (Not in any sort of order, just listed)

  • Reading Bill Clinton’s newest fiction thriller…...I returned the book after first hour. I like Bill …...I just couldn’t put my head around 20 hours of a fiction book.

  • Getting a tattoo.

  • Starting my own business decades ago…. instead of just 2 years ago.

  • Forgiving some of those who I feel have wronged me.

  • Getting a PhD.

  • Climbing Mount Everest.

  • Being ok with my soft sensitive side. Truth is, I am a softie that loves sappy emotional things and chooses to see tears and my emotional side as weak.

  • Removing the callouses that keep me from getting emotionally connected with more of those I’d like to.

  • Act vs. waiting for many of those I love and care for to make the first move to repair the relationship.

  • Keeping my ego in check* about a decade ago as I began achieving and winning big (for me in life). *I got out of check and the universe smacked me back to earth.

  • Pursuing with confidence relationships with many heroes I have.

  • Building my own house with my own hands. (I’ve gotten close in many aspects and times…but that desire “ship” has now fully sailed, this one I can let go).

  • Living in Europe.

  • Treating my first marriage with more respect.

  • Living or creating a job that allows me to travel extensively internationally.

  • Learning how to fly.

Back to the Murray quote, he has more words to finish his thought… “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.”

Murray adds, “this may sound too simple, but is great in consequence.”

Think about how many events, stimuli, incidents, occurrences and choices we get hit with each day. Think about the items that require some sort of attention, that if we are not clear and commit to or not commit to, leave us stuck in hesitancy, which gets us nowhere. The hesitancy leaving us ineffective and often regretful.

The Huffington Post has an article written by Bruce Davis, Ph.D. that suggests we have somewhere between 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. That’s something like 35 to 48 thoughts per minute per person.

Holy cow! Is that even possible?

How many of those thoughts are decision points? Maybe 1/10th? That would equate to 5,500. That’s a lot! What if it was only .01 decisions per 50K-70K thoughts? That would be 550. Let’s get those decisions down to a reasonable number, what about .001 of those 55,000? That’s 55. Even 55 can be quite a few if they require full commitment and action.

If we are stuck in hesitancy for any number of reasons, one being clarity of our true desire…or the lack thereof, is there any question as to why chicken switching occurs?

What drives or doesn’t drive commitment?

May I suggest that one answer lies in the 7 steps to less chicken switching model:

To commit…. or said in a wiser way, to reduce hesitancy towards commitment, there are several preparatory steps, which if followed, reduce the lack of commitment and the tendency to get hung up in hesitancy.

To make a well-informed commitment, a person needs knowledge, desire (strong desire), which creates awareness and choice.

Once we have awareness and a conscious choice, true commitment can happen. The seven preliminary steps form the foundation to make a well-informed and thought-out commitment that has the feet to hold fast when temptations and whirl-wind occur.

Being clear with ourselves about which thoughts occur to us as possibilities and which of those thoughts are really desired action items is vital. We need to be clear that not all possibilities are action items.

I suggest taking the time to run your many random possibilities through the seven steps of accountability.

Find those items that are truly action items for YOU- not others or to please others, commit to them and work the work. Looking back, I wonder how many of the possibilities I listed as items I have not taken action on were/are truly desired.

Big 10 kind of desire (on a scale between 1-10, with 1 being low desire and 10 being high desire). Realizing what possibilities are action items and then letting go of those that are not, allows us to live in the present and not in a state of regret or indecision.

And finally, …...reminder of what Chicken Switching and Willpower are:

Chicken Switching is defined as:

  1. Not doing something you said you’d do - consciously or subconsciously.

  2. Bailing out, not following through on previously made commitments.

Less chicken switching takes Willpower. Willpower is defined as:


  1. The motivation to exercise will.

  2. The ability to make conscious choices.

  3. The ability to control impulses and therefore determine behavior.

Synonyms to willpower include self-control, self-discipline, self-restraint, determination, resolve, drive, dedication, discipline, doggedness, tenacity, stay-power, desire, persistence, constraint, temperance.

And now my …… Powerful Emotional Close (PEC): As Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story,” …. Murray’s manuscript on toilet paper was discovered by the Gestapo soldiers, and it was confiscated.

What did Murray do?

He simply started writing the manuscript again. Murray learned deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets, “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

For me, the only thing that stands between my list of uncompleted items … me and running each item through the seven-step accountability model.

Close the gap Kit!!

What is your list of items? ......Possibilities where there is hesitancy and a lack of action and commitment?

Get clear about what you REALLY desire, act on those items, let the rest go and CLOSE THE GAP!!

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