I can’t over stress how important it is to keep your word. While it’s important for meaningful communication and coordination with the world around you, it’s even more important when it becomes the only thing you can trust.
Some things in the Work are flexible, this one isn’t. You should make every effort on two fronts. The first is, never promise something you don’t fully intend to deliver. If that means actually thinking about your words before letting them fly then so be it, because it makes the second front twice as easy to manage.
The second is, if you do tell someone you’re going to do something, make every effort humanly possible to keep your word. You should do this knowing that any and every failure devalues confidence in your word. Nobody is infallible, but the fallibility of man should never be used as an excuse to fuck up.
In fact, there should be no excuses, you either keep your word or you don’t. If you do fail, you should know that whatever you have to do to restore that confidence has to surpass what was originally promised and expected. This is likely going to be way more work than keeping your original word would have been, so it becomes an additional deterrent to taking it lightly.
Your word is one of the few things you have that is actually worth anything, and when the time comes to realize it’s full value, you’re either going to be really happy you kept your word, or really confused and fucked because you didn’t.
Your word is your true worth in this world and those beyond, nothing else in existence is so universally valuable. When people can’t “take you at your word” you are seen as being worthless in general and people couldn’t care less what your excuse is this time. Most people stop listening to the excuse after the second or third time. From then on your credibility is pretty much trashed until you do what it takes to restore it, which is going to require twice as much effort as keeping your word in the first place would have.
You can look at all the debt in the world this way. All unpaid debt is a result of people failing to keep their word. Material debt is only a “sign” of what is really going on. Want to reduce the deficit? Get people to realize the importance of this and start keeping their word.
Any harping about how important it is to keep your word for the benefit of others is falling on deaf ears for those who need to hear it the most because our entire economy is based on false promises. Respectable businessmen seal world shaping deals with their word and a handshake, unfortunately they are a rare breed.
Here’s why you might want to re-estimate the true value of your word. It might not matter that nobody else can trust you as far as they can throw you, but when that someone else becomes you, you’re going to wish you paid attention to what your momma told you.
I’m in the position now, I’m undergoing an initiation that is almost completely blind. What I mean by that is, I have to make critical decisions that affect my own creative process with absolutely nothing to go on. The only thing I have is my own intuition and that voice inside me. I trust that voice implicitly because it has never lied to me, it is a voice that rarely makes promises, but when it does, they are always fulfilled.
It allows me the patience I need right now, I’m working on the promise of payment while I’m doing all this. The reason I can trust that, is because I know myself, and I know that I’ve always kept my word. I can’t even describe how comforting that is when it’s the ONLY thing you have to go on. It also doesn’t take a genius to see how totally fucked I would be if I hadn’t.
It’s an uncomfortable position to be in, to have to decide your own fate with absolutely no clue. It’s been tough enough with an unblemished record of keeping my word, I can’t even imagine where I’d be if I couldn’t trust my own inner voice. Here’s the thing tho, everyone is moving into a similar position and I see a lot of people completely unprepared for the consequences of their own actions.
In the world we’re moving into, you need to be able to trust yourself to even get there. There is no evading people knowing what is in your heart, everyone is going to know exactly what you’re made of. Keeping your word is not about others being able to trust you tho, it’s about you being able to trust yourself when there’s nobody else you can trust and it’s all you’ve got left to go on.
Hope that helps 🙂