Oct 302011

Interested or Committed?

Are You Interested Or Are You Committed?

I was involved in a training last week where Trusted Authority Formula (TAF) guru Greg Habstritt brought in several luminaries to speak, as part of the run-up to his latest launch of TAF.  One of the speakers was John Assaraf from The Secret.  He asked the question, “Are you interested or are you committed”?  This question really resonated with me!  The more I thought about it, the more I began to believe that the answer to this question is at the core of most success and failure.

In the age of “short attention span theater” and “shiny object syndrome,” there is an epidemic of interest and a critical shortage of commitment!  I see it everywhere I look.  Parents who teach their kids to be interested in ten sports, but committed to none.  Entrepreneurs interested in starting five businesses, but truly committed to none.  Politicians interested in helping their country be more competitive in several different economic areas, but committed to none.  The list goes on and on.

Are you interested, or are you committed?

How do you know the difference?  Why does it matter?  I’ll touch on a few differences here, but I intend to look at this in much more detail and communicate with you about it much more.  In fact, I’m committed to do so!

Here are seven of the key differences between being interested and being committed.

1.)   If you are interested, you show up sometimes.  If you are committed, you show up all the time.

2.)   If you are interested, when things get tough, you give up and move on to your next “interest”.  If you are committed, no matter how tough things get, you find a way over, under, around or through obstacles.

3.)   If you are interested, you dabble in a bunch of interests.  If you are committed, you concentrate your energy on achieving a much shorter list of objectives.  In short, you focus.

4.)   If you are interested, you are easily distracted and often fall victim to shiny object syndrome.  If you are committed, you are so focused that you often don’t even notice the irrelevant shiny objects around you.

5.)   If you are interested, you don’t set goals; rather, you just let it happen.  If you are committed, you set goals in a way that maximizes the probability you will achieve them, and you regularly monitor your progress.  You use the S.M.A.R.T. approach to goal-setting.

6.)   If you are interested, you let the fear of failure and other fears keep you from achieving your objectives.  If you are committed, you realize that every “failure” is just another step in the direction of achieving your goals.

7.)   If you are interested, you allow perfectionism to inhibit your progress, working hand-in-hand with fear of failure to limit your success.  If you are committed, you understand that perfectionism is the enemy and you continue to make forward progress, even if each step is not perfect.

Ask yourself, “Am I committed, or am I just interested”? If the answer comes back, “I’m not sure,” or “I’m just interested,” then unless it’s a hobby that you can dabble in and take lightly, you need to reconsider where you are focusing your energy.  As a friend once said to me, dabbling is a root cause of failure.  You cannot afford to dabble or just be interested in the people and activities that are truly important in your life.  Interest will usually get you nowhere.  Commitment, on the other hand, has a much higher probability of delivering you the results you are seeking.

I look forward to your thoughts and questions.  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin



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  • Allen Daniels

    I had a similar situation with exactly the same question. I then re-thought everything I was doing with my business. I found that there were marketing strategies I was interested in and others that I was committed to.

    I stopped doing things that I was interested in and focused more time on the things that I was committed to. This one simple act almost turned my business around.

    Great post
    Allen Daniels

  • Nice article Paul great reminder that commitment and focus are truly the key to success.

  • Thanks, Sue. Yes, commitment and focus are absolutely critical!

  • Eimhin David

    Hi Paul,

    this is a nice piece but I fundamentally do not agree. I think that today people try to effecct their will on the world in a self-interested kind of way, which is different to an interested way and has nothing like real committment…let me explain using the torch of etymology.

    Firstly interest comes from the latin ‘inter esse’ or ‘that which is between beings’. Hence the vacuous and selfish nature of self-interest, it has nothing to do with other beings and rests solely between one and the shadow of their desire.

    Secondly commit comes from ‘committere’ or “to unite, connect, combine; to bring together”.

    From this I personally would deduce that no human is an island, we are each parts searching motility through connectivity. There are many among us who believe that the answer exists between them and their shadow but the truth is rather between people. Until people can find out what exists ‘inter esse’ they can never effectively ‘committere’ to anything. They may be able to make some indentation on the wall through repeated banging of the head but sure enough such activity is a waste of life.

    People need to communicate to realise collective shared interest and act unitedly to bring this about together. Both are neccesary, single-mindedness can be blinding. Remember the old taoist immortals ride backward on the donkey for the simple reason that they can appreciate that the donkey doesn’t know where its going.

    All the best,


  • Interesting, Ed. Where do I start? First, thank you for your comment; I guarantee you it’s the only one I’ve received that was explained using the torch of etymology. I like it.

    I’m not sure that our views are really all that much different, Ed, on at least one count: interest (particularly self-interest) is not the way to go. Commitment is where it’s at. Although I did not mention it in the article, I like your description of the reality that commitment usually is all about uniting, connecting and bringing together, not just about self-interest.

    I like your invoking a bit of taoism in your comment as well. Even though the donkey doesn’t no where he’s going, it surely doesn’t mean that the rider is not committed to getting there, wherever “there” may be.

    I hear you. I appreciate your comment. Sounds like you’d be a good guy to share a pint with, if you drink. If not, then maybe a tea.


  • Hi Paul, in such a fast and crowded world of information the “shiny object syndrome” is an obstacle all on it’s own. I think that commitment is very important but we will never be committed to something we truly love unless we explore our interests first. I think the first step for entrepreneurs is to contact someone such as yourself and explore the different opportunities available to them.

    When I first started years ago, did I know what an MLM was? No, I did not, and although the MLM type of business is not for me, I had to find out what it was first. For entrepreneurs who are seeing all the shiny objects and don’t know where to go, the first step is to find a mentor or pay a consultant because in the end it will save a lot of time and money.

  • I feel this is a critical topics! I read today a great article of Nobel prize Daniel Kahneman (Beware the ‘inside view’ in Mc Kinsey Quarterly) where the interest-commitment was part of the story. I use to say to my student (when I teach in classes) think about as bacon and eggs, where in it the chicken is just interested, but the pork is strongly committed.

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  • WONDERFUL post! Yes, there is such a difference in being interested and being committed. Once you make the DECISION, the commitment is there. Also, love everything about “The Secret.” Follow Dr. Joe Vitale and everything he says and writes! He is the mentor to my mentor and what I have found is that the people who were involved with “The Secret” really walk the walk. Thank you for sharing with us your thoughts on what John Assaraf said. Loved it!

  • Hi, Martha. Yes, great stuff. “The Secret” folks really do seem to walk their talk. The difference between being interested and being committed is huge. As far as I’m concerned, it’s night and day. You can be interested in hundreds of things, but committed to only a few. The success you achieve in those to which you are committed will far outpace that you achieve in those in which you are just interested.

  • Thanks, Fabrizio. Yes, the bacon and eggs metaphor is a good one for interest vs. commitment. I think it’s a very important distinction. You can be interested in many things, but committed to only a few. In my experience and observation, you will obtain much better results in those to which you are committed.

  • Thanks, Karla. Indeed, shiny object syndrome is the enemy. The key is to first do the necessary research and analysis, both of yourself and potential markets. In this way, you can increase the likelihood of success in whatever you take on. You will also increase the likelihood that you will want to stay committed over a sufficient period of time to be successful.

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  • Thanks, Allen. It’s good to hear your personal story about being interested versus committed and the impact that has on your effectiveness. The difference often is quite extreme, largely due to the energy and focus that come along with commitment.