The Importance of Committing

That great Indian teacher, Gautama who became the Buddha, had once instructed his followers to stop dithering. He said, “Bhikshus, when you sit, you sit. When you stand, you stand. Don’t dither.”

Maybe he didn’t actually say those words since I just made that up but he must have said something to that effect. All smart people come to that realization, and we have to admit that the old chap was smart if he was anything. I will get the reference sometime later.

snap1762 But for now, I have a more authentic quote on committing from W.H. Murray’s The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951):

… but when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money — booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. 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. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a 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!

2 thoughts on “The Importance of Committing

  1. Kaffir Thursday February 18, 2010 / 9:57 am

    Buddhism has the concept of adhitthan and Hinduism has the concept of sankalp – both are about making a commitment and being firm about one’s decision.


    • Atanu Dey Thursday February 18, 2010 / 10:03 am


      adhitthan is spelled “don’t dither” in English 🙂

      Seriously though, this is just another example of how much wisdom is contained in the Indic traditions. But our pseudo-secular education system designed by commies does not expose us to those ideas. It is now up to us to dig out the good stuff and make it accessible to ourselves.



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