3 Steps to Making Commitments & Keeping Them

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Money: Master the Game" by Tony Robbins. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What are you committed to? Do you need help sticking to your commitments?

Tony Robbins provides three steps to making commitments in the context of personal finances. However, you can apply these principles to anything. His steps involve focus, whole-heartedness, and serendipity.

Keep reading to learn why making commitments plays an important role not only in your finances but in your overall success in life.

Making Commitments Is the Right Step

In Money: Master the Game, Tony Robbins explains that most people end up without enough money because they never make commitments or a plan. Afraid to look at their finances, they simply hope that things will work out and tell themselves that financial skills are too far above them. 

However, this mentality leads to uncertain outcomes: If nobody steers the ship, there’s no telling where you might end up. To ensure a positive outcome, make a plan and follow through with three key commitments: Focus relentlessly, commit completely, and embrace serendipity.

Commitment #1: Focus relentlessly. According to Robbins, your energy follows your focus—concentrating tenaciously on a goal causes your subconscious mind to direct all its power to achieving that goal. It does this by taking in and processing the information most relevant to reaching your goal.

  • Taking it in: The reticular activating system filters your perception so that you see the opportunities and connections that will help you achieve that goal. 
  • Processing it: At the same time, your subconscious mind constantly uses this information to develop solutions to the challenges you focus on and intermittently sends them to your conscious mind.

(Shortform note: Deepak Chopra suggests that self-reflective practices such as journaling, meditation, and yoga play a part in rewiring your subconscious mind to focus on creativity and growth. He also claims that as you engage in practices that bring compassion and equanimity, your gene activity changes to alter your physiology: Genes that promote inflammation go down, while genes that promote health and healing go up.)

Commitment #2: Commit completely. Robbins says that when you give everything you’ve got to a goal, you’ll find a way no matter what. Get emotionally attached to your goal by refusing to accept a lower standard. As you go, deepen that commitment by persevering through the obstacles and learning from every misstep.

(Shortform note: In The Art of Learning, Josh Waitzkin argues that to live a life of excellence you can’t give yourself too much slack. It’s easy to make excuses when the going gets tough, but to truly achieve what most don’t, you need to hold yourself to your commitments even when you’re struggling or in pain. Like Robbins, he holds that learning from your mistakes is the fastest way to get better.) 

If you face setbacks, use that disappointment to double down on your commitment. If you feel insecure compared to people who are doing better than you, choose to learn from them and improve yourself.

(Shortform note: In The Obstacle Is the Way, Ryan Holiday recommends choosing to view every obstacle as an opportunity. This is an extension of the classic Stoic view that we must only focus on what we can change, and it can help you discover strengths you didn’t know you have. For example, you might find a silver lining in the loss of your job—maybe you now have time to reconsider where you are in life, and whether you’re really on the path you want to be.)

Making commitments to a stable financial future is a long journey, and we all start from different places and have different ambitions. According to Robbins, you should define what success means to you and customize your financial goals accordingly.

Commitment #3: Embrace serendipity. When you’re relentlessly focused and completely committed, serendipity will help nudge you toward success. Robbins explains that, when it feels like everything’s just falling into place, serendipity is at work. He calls this God, or a higher cosmic order, lending you a hand.  

(Shortform note: In Mastery, Robert Greene explains that serendipity fuels creative insights and pulls you along your life path. The brain, he explains, evolved to find connections between different pieces of information. Like Robbins, he asserts that as you commit deeply to your chosen path, serendipity will begin to give you novel insights as the ideas you entertain chance to bump into each other. And, he says, you can’t find these insights with linear, rational thinking—you have to trust they’ll come about by chance.)

In other words, life rewards courage and commitment. The more you give to your passion, the more that giving comes back around to help you in the form of unexpected gifts, opportunities, and chance encounters that speed you along.

3 Steps to Making Commitments & Keeping Them

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  • Tony Robbins’s approach to changing your money mindset and financial strategy
  • Why money is not the end goal, but rather a tool
  • Why you should play the long game rather than trying to get rich quick

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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