In order to take a closer look at exactly what keeping my word
literally implies, I decided to start a project and give my word that I
would complete it, then notice what takes place as I made it happen.
I realised that the appropriate context for that project would be one
in which the only point of making happen what I said is going to happen
would be that I gave my word that it would happen.
After considering various contexts from which to observe that process,
because it fulfilled all the requirements perfectly.
That is how, never having jumped before from anything higher than a
garden wall, I came to complete the training course offered by Atlantic
and early one Saturday morning in May, stepped out of the door of a
Piper Cherokee 6, two and a half thousand feet up in the sky.
What I discovered in that laboratory, if you will, is that the essence
of keeping my word is not conscious intention, as I had originally
hypothesized. Even though I had a strong intention to jump, it was not
that which finally got me through the door.
While sitting out there on the edge with my feet dangling in space, the
idea of jumping somehow did not seem so attractive anymore. Having
gotten ninety nine percent of the way there, my original intention was
no longer motivating enough to prise loose my white-knuckled viselike
grip from the side of the airplane. Adrenalin pumped.
The quality that ultimately made the difference and allowed me to
experience completion was commitment. When it finally dawned on me that
I was already committed to completing the jump no matter what my mind
or my emotions had to say about it, I let go.
Five minutes later I floated out of the clear blue sky and landed
safely in a field next to the airstrip.
Commitment is not your birthright. You are not born with it. You
literally need to make it up, to create it out of nothing. To do that,
you first need to be willing to be committed.
Commitment is what allows you to make happen what you said is going to
happen because commitment is the ultimate context of keeping your word.
Commitment fosters completion, nurtures it, it is what makes completion
real and sanctifies it.
When you are willing to be committed, when you are willing to create
commitment, you begin to notice that without commitment, nothing really
works. When you are willing to have all of it work out, it is likely
The project described in this essay,
Commitment And The Willingness To Have It All Work Out For
is documented in my
which is available at