Derek Sivers
from the book “How to Live”:

Here’s how to live: Commit.


If you’ve ever been confused or distracted, with too many options…
If you don’t finish what you start…
If you’re not with a person you love…
… then you’ve felt the problem.
The problem is a lack of commitment.

You’ve been looking for the best person, place, or career.
But seeking the best is the problem.
No choice is inherently the best.
What makes something the best choice?
You make it the best through your commitment to it.
Your dedication and actions make any choice great.

This is a life-changing epiphany.
You can stop seeking the best option.
Pick one and irreversibly commit.
Then it becomes the best choice for you.

When a decision is irreversible, you feel better about it.
When you’re stuck with something, you find what’s good about it.
When you can’t change your situation, you change your attitude towards it.
So remove the option to change your mind.

You think you want more choice and more options.
But when you have unlimited choice, you feel worse.
When you keep all options open, you’re conflicted and miserable.
Your thoughts are divided.
Your power is diluted.
Your time is thinly spread.
Indecision keeps you shallow.
Get the deeper pleasure of diving into one choice.

The English word “decide” comes from Latin “to cut off”.
Choose one and cut off other options.
To go one direction means you’re not going other directions.
When you commit to one outcome, you’re united and sharply focused.
When you sacrifice your alternate selves, your remaining self has amazing power.

Ignore other aspects of your life.
Let go of every unnecessary obligation.
Each one seems small, but together, they’ll drain your soul.
Focus your attention on the few things you’re committed to, and nothing else.

When our ancestors shifted from nomadic hunter-gatherers to settled land developers, human development boomed. We made massive advances when we stopped moving, and committed to one place.
Choose your home.
Stay there for good.
Get to know everything about it.
Even if you’ve lived there for years, hire a local expert and learn even more about the history, architecture, and areas you haven’t explored.

Find a community of like-minded people.
Don’t waste your energy fighting norms.
Trust helps your happiness more than income or health.
Invite your neighbors over for a meal.
Make friends.
Make the effort.
Borrow and lend.
Trust and show you can be trusted.
Let them know they can lean on you because you’re here to stay.
They’ll reciprocate.

You’ll be an inseparable part of your community.
The good relationships you build will build you.
There’s no greater strength in hard times.

When you stay in one place, daily life is better.
There’s little incentive for businesses to give good service to someone who’s only passing through.
But by committing to a community, people treat you better.
The rules are different.
They know they’ll see you every week so it’s in their best interest to treat you well.
You’re more of a friend than a stranger.

The more social ties we have, the happier we are.
The bond of friendship is one of the deepest joys in life.
Notice those words: ties, bond.
These are words of commitment.
We say we want freedom, in theory.
But we actually prefer this warm embrace.

You and your best friends don’t decide anew each day whether you’re friends or not.
You are friends, without question.
You’re committed to each other, even if you’ve never said so.
That’s what’s wonderful about it.

When people say you’re a person of good character, they mean you’re not just good, but consistently so.
You’re defined by what you do repeatedly.
Your habits create your character.

Once you decide what’s important to you, you know how your ideal self will act and what your ideal day will be.
So why not act that way and live that day every day?
Commit to your habits to make them rituals.
If it’s not important, never do it.
If it’s important, do it every day.

Rockets use most of their fuel in the first minute of flight, to escape the pull of gravity.
Once they get outside that pull, it’s effortless.
Same with your habits.
Starting is hard.
The rest is easy.

New habits are what you’re trying.
Old habits are who you are.

Commit to one career path.
Build your expertise and reputation over time.
Because you cut off other options, you won’t be derailed by distraction.
Since you’re committed, you can’t fail.
Even if it takes you years longer than expected, it’s not failure until you give up.

This even goes for technical choices, whether hardware or software.
Pick one.
Commit to it.
Learn it deeply.
This is much more rewarding than always switching and searching for the best.

Marry someone full of kindness who is committed to putting you in the center of their life.
Marry someone you don’t want to change, who doesn’t want to change you.
Someone that doesn’t punish you for mistakes.
Someone who sees you as your highest potential.
Commit completely.

Falling in love is easy.
Staying in love is harder.
Enthusiasm is common.
Endurance is rare.

Marriage is for getting through the times when you’re not in love.
Expect things to get bad.
Your mutual commitment gives you the security to weather the storms, knowing they won’t destroy the relationship.
Be loving even when you’re not feeling loving.

Commitment gives you peace of mind.
When you commit to one thing, and let go of the rest, you feel free.
Once you decide something, never change your mind.
It’s so much easier to decide just once.

Commitment gives you integrity and social bonds.
Commitment gives you expertise and power.
Commitment gives you love and happiness.
Committing is how to live.