W. H. Murray on commitment

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth – the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues form the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”

W. H. Murray, The Scottish Himalaya Expedition (1951)

For years I thought this quote was attributable to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, only to discover that it is repeatedly misattributed. When you learn that the true author of this quote, W. H. Murray, was a mountaineer and a writer, the words take on an even greater power. I never really saw the appeal of mountaineering of the gruelling life threatening kind (I am quite comfortable with the gentle rambling kind!), but I can appreciate mountain climbing as a metaphor for the goals we set in life, the fears that come and go and the seemingly insurmountable challenges faced along the way that make you want to give up, turn around and go home to somewhere comfortable and safe and warm.

Don’t be daunted, Murray tells us, don’t be afraid. Be brave, commit yourself completely and you won’t be alone. The universe will help you.

It has worked for me so many times. Most recently when writing Baby Proof Your Career. January 4th, 2015 was the exact date when I definitely committed myself, even though publishing a book seemed such a terrifyingly daunting goal. But thanks to providence, all sorts of things occurred and all manner of assistance came my way. You can read an extract from my diary on the day I definitely committed myself, and then watch this short video to see how I felt at the official launch party of the book 10 months later.

Use this quote when you have a goal that really matters to you but which seems impossible to achieve. Make a definite commitment, and see what occurs.