Three Kinds of Commitment – Self, Witnessed & Entangled

Not long ago I realized there are three types of commitments, each of which has a different degree of impact on a person who makes it.

They not only differ in their power, but also in the courage it often takes to make them.

A Self Commitment is when you commit to yourself that you will do something. Typically you would say it to yourself silently or in your head.

“I commit to going to the gym tomorrow.”

A Witnessed Commitment is when you make a commitment to yourself, but you do it aloud and in the presence of someone whom you trust. This is more powerful because your not wanting to be seen not keeping your word to yourself gives the commitment leverage.

“I commit to going to the gym tomorrow. You can hold me to that.”

An Entangled Commitment is when you make a commitment to another person which entangles them into your world. Whereas in a Witnessed Commitment the consequence is someone seeing you not be your word, in this case you not fulfilling your commitment would have a direct impact on the other person. Entangled Commitments are the most powerful and they thus also require the most courage.

“I commit to meeting you at the gym tomorrow at 6am.”

Often we think we are making a powerful commitment to ourselves. A way to test our commitment is to move it up from a private commitment to one people know about or, even more strongly, to one that people are depending on.

Which commitments could you make more powerful by adding entanglement to others?