Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say: Do Not Dishonour Your Word or Commitment

Over the years, I have noticed with concern how very casually and carelessly some individuals are when it comes to honouring their word or commitment. They take this important matter much too lightly, not realising that they are, in effect, dishonouring their word or commitment. Who is going to believe or trust someone with a reputation for not keeping his word? This is especially so, if he is habitual offender!

Commitment Freely Given but Word Not Kept

I have come across individuals who promise to get something done within say three days. This commitment was given freely and in good faith. However, when the day dawned, this commitment was not kept.

Was there an excuse offered by the party concerned? None was offered because to him it did not seem a big deal! When questioned, he quickly offered a new date to complete the task. Do not hold your breath that he will keep his word this time around, especially if he has already built a poor reputation in this regard.

Dishonouring Your Word

But hold on for a moment. Isn’t this somewhat like scoring an own goal? A decent, responsible man’s word must be his bond! There can be no two ways about it. It should be a matter of integrity, dignity and honour that people can and will trust you when you give your word.

So think very carefully before you casually and carelessly dishonour your word. If people around you soon distrust you as person or cannot rely on you because you seem to have acquired a credibility problem, do remember that you had brought this upon yourself. No one will simply and for no reason lose faith in you. There has to be a good reason.

Damage to Reputation Can Be Severe

If an individual, especially an educated person or a professional does not seem to understand the damage he does to his reputation and standing when he does not keep his word, then he is probably living in a world of his own! It takes a long time to build a solid reputation but this reputation can unravel through careless and thoughtless actions and in this case, failure to keep his word repeatedly.

To many people who are acquainted with him, his word can be easily given and just as easily broken. He does not seem bothered because he has a justifiable excuse(s) on each occasion or so he thinks. When not keeping your word or commitment becomes a regular habit, then that is when it becomes a major problem. It damages his credibility with bosses, colleagues, associates, friends and neighbours.

Think Carefully Before Giving Your Word

If you happened to be robbed at home and lose a number of valuable possessions, including expensive branded watches, gold, diamonds and jewellery, it can be a heartbreaking experience. If the expensive, Ferrari supercar is stolen from your front porch during the night, then that too can be hard to bear. And if you happen to fracture your leg while playing football, then that incident can be a real downer!

However, all that pales into relative insignificance when your reputation is seriously damaged. Worst of all, this damage to your reputation is not done by others, but by your own thoughtlessness and carelessness. Such a reputation will take a very long time indeed to be rebuilt… if it can be in the first place. This is because while it does take an awful long time to build a solid reputation, it does not take much to destroy that reputation.

A Sucker is Born Every Minute

I would also like to touch on a related matter although it is not directly connected to this topic. Do think very carefully before agreeing to undertake certain tasks, for example, standing as a guarantor for a relative, colleague, neighbour or friend. Too many people have fallen victims to unscrupulous individuals who approach you with all sorts of sob stories and promises. Making that critical decision too easily and foolishly may well cost you more than your piece of mind. It may cause you to end up paying off that person’s loan or even having to sell your house to settle somebody’s huge loan obligation.


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