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meat, beans, and egg dish

Here is a simple, yet profound, saying that I’m fond of:

Regarding eggs and ham.
The chicken is involved.
The pig is committed.

This quip serves more than to remind us to distinguish between what we are committed to and what we are involved in. It drives home the fact that commitments and involvements are two entirely different things. You’ll bleed for a commitment; you’ll cross the street for an involvement.

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I’m not here to tell you what you should and shouldn’t be committed to. That is for each individual to determine, but to remind you that commitments should be the things that matter deeply to you and make a difference in your life. Things that you are involved in bring up the rear when allocating your time and resources.

If you are committed to everything, you are committed to nothing.

Enumerating your commitments and involvements and what each demands will help you manage your limited time and energy. But realize that things are rarely simple. There must be a hierarchy to each list, which will probably be dynamic as priorities change. Sometimes we don’t even realize the hierarchy until a conflict arises.

Take for example an instance where you are involved in a club, but your best friend is committed to this club. A commitment of yours may interfere with a club event, causing a conflict. But you realize that among your commitments is being a good friend and supporting someone who has been there for you before.

Digging deep and understanding the relationships between the things you are committed to and the things you are involved in will help you make decisions with less headache and heartache when conflicts arise. Communicating to others what your level of commitment or involvement is will also help to avoid conflicts.

Understanding Others

It is a common trope in coming-of-age stories that a young person artificially creates conflicts with friends and family as a litmus test used to determine how much another person loves them and is committed to them. A more mature approach is, shocker, to simply ask.

Even more impactful is to tell someone how committed you are to them. Relationships are nourished by commitment. When people cross-pollinate their relationships with examples of commitment, magic can happen.

What Are Your Commitments and Involvements?

We would love to hear your insights about what aspects of your life you feel are commitments and what are involvements, how you choose between the two, and any conflicts that arise. The stories you share can help others who come along in a similar situation to get through tough times.


2 responses to “Regarding Eggs and Ham”

  1. Anne Turnbow Avatar
    Anne Turnbow

    I wonder to what extent our values guide our commitments. Perhaps, knowing our values helps us decide which commitments are sustainable given what comes naturally. And also how are our values formed? This makes me want to sit down and think about my commitments, why I have them, whether they are tied to my values, and to what extent I am choosing any of them.

    1. Agreed, I think it would be a good idea to list our commitments and why we have them and then revisit this list about every three months. So many times commitments sort of wiggle their way into our lives without us realizing it, to the point that the rule our behaviors. And this is from someone who has decades of experience. Young people are just getting into the world of commitments and may not recognize them for what they are until they are overburdened by them.

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