Opinion

Some thoughts on promises and schmucks

Where there is another day of life there is another opportunity to fulfill promises unkept from the day before.

The thing about promises is that when you deliver a drop dead deadline for them, you are left with no way out—you have to keep the promise otherwise you just end up joining one of the oldest clubs known to mankind: The Schmuck Club.

We all know at least one member of the Schmuck Club. And to know one such member is to know one too many.

The old adage of saying what you do, should always give way to doing what you say. For if you do what you say you’ll do, you’re considered a person of integrity.

Whether it’s Trump as President trying to fulfill his campaign promises or a guy who promises a foot rub to his wife tomorrow, you have to come across and actually do what you say you’ll do in order to continue being taken at your word.

Schmuck Club members don’t worry about looking bad or how good their word is. This does not matter to them. They’re only interested in getting what they want. That’s why they call them schmucks after all.

Excuses are typically delivered by people who cannot keep their promises.

An easy way to get out of keeping promises is never to make them in the first place. But, we cannot be human unless we promise to do certain things:

  • Promise to show up for work
  • Promise to be faithful
  • Promise to set a good example for those that look to us for guidance and leadership
  • Promise to love ‘til death do us part

There are lots of other promises, and by engaging in certain actions or activities, promises can be implied and not spoken.

In the case of sports teams, members of the team promise not to “throw the game” intentionally for the sake of illegal gambling gains, by always playing to the best of their ability.

I like it when I hear of anonymous donors who give large sums of money to charitable organizations on condition they remain anonymous.

Actions such as these are evidence that we humans are capable of functioning at high levels and not at those experienced when we are doing exactly the opposite—donating monies primarily for the sake of drawing attention to ourselves and secondarily for the cause at hand.

Personally, I make more implied promises than spoken ones. Most of the time when I make verbal promises it is because I am cajoled into them.

“Now that we’ve had a pit stop, do you promise to go to the bathroom again before we head back out on this road trip they call life?”

“I promise.”

“Do you promise to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?”

“I do.”

Promising to go to the bathroom is easy.

Promising to tell the truth is not always so easy, especially when you’re tasked with protecting your loved ones.

Another old adage concerns the “white lie” and how it’s alright to tell one for the greater good or to save someone some pain.

We judge daily and we should promise to try not to do so as often as we do. We’re no better than anyone else no matter how much power or money we think we have that speaks otherwise.

One last thing about promises that I haven’t mentioned to this point. It’s ok to be reminded about a promise, especially if it prevents you from not keeping it.

 

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