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Keeping Up A Promise

This is an interesting story developed on Characters from Maha Bharata. Dharmaraja was known for honesty, fidelity and for not lying once in his life time. While gambling with his step-brother, he lost everything in betting and had to spend a year in disguise along with his four brothers and wife.

It was the last day of their camouflage. As they were preparing to come out of their concealment and return back to their kingdom, a beggar bowed before the Raja and asked for help.

“Come tomorrow. I promise to give you whatever you want” said the erstwhile king. Overhearing this Bheema went onto the top of a hillock and started shouting to the five elements (Panchabhootas) “Listen ! Here is a chance of my brother lying for the first time in his life”.

Surprised Dharmaraja asked him the reason. Bheema politely replied, “What is the affirmation that you would be the king by tomorrow? How were you so sure that both of you will live till you accomplish your promise? What is the guarantee that the beggar would remain as a beggar till tomorrow?”

Promise management:

Personality development motivators and writers give importance to Time management, Space management, Emotional balance, Stress management etc but somehow do not give due significance to developing the habit of keeping up promises.

Promise management is the foundation for character development. Promises may keep the relationships, but non-performance will turn them into enemies. Being trustworthy is a consistent process of choosing someone else's interests over your own. Not attending missed calls from friends or promising them to call back when you are busy and forgetting afterwards are few examples of mismanagement of relationships.

“Assure only what you can deliver and deliver more than what you assured” is an old proverb. But unfortunately we promise according to our hopes and perform according to realities.

"Don't promise too much" is the first suggestion given to the newly married couples. Never make a promise to your spouse of lover that you cannot keep, no matter how much pressure you feel, no matter how critical the situation may be. When you can not carry out you may have to lie and you know that one lie leads to another. Kids hide a report card to put off the day of reckoning. It is like throwing today’s problem into tomorrow's court. We act exactly the same when we make an impossible promise.

Fulfilling a promise is an utmost pleasure that draws appreciation from others whereas broken promises are the symbols of incompetence leading to resentment, anxiety, hate and distrust.

Prompt payment of debt enhances your creditworthiness. Give margin of error while promising date of repayment as things may go wrong and unexpected difficulties may surface. Do everything to meet your word, but when that becomes impossible, admit your inability at the earliest (rather than on the due date). Instead of luring the creditor with false promises and irritating him for making rounds around you, commit the next exact date. Don’t lie to avoid the crisis and to get temporary solace. A lie is the mother of another hundred lies.

Avoid false promises:

Relationships are built on trust and commitments, but unfortunately many people take their friends and spouse granted. A small lie about a purchase, a cover-up for a forgotten birthday takes a bite out of their confidence and over years the foundation of trust begins to crumble.

A husband who promises his wife everyday to come home early but never turns up, should realise that his promise has two-way effect, firstly on his wife for waiting for long hours and feel frustrated; and secondly on him as he feels harassed by her repeated phone calls.

If somebody is promising paradise on earth, consider that he is going to create hell for you. On the other side, if you find that you are regularly breaking promises either on your punctuality or in financial matters, analyze the reasons for your attitude. A broken promise suggests three things:

1. That the person to whom you promised is not a priority in your scheme of things. 2. With a limitless desire for approval, you are trying to please too many people beyond your capacity. 3. You do not perceive your promise important enough to be kept.

No person in this word is busy, only we have different priorities. It happened in my life. When I knew that my friend was critically ill in a hospital, I rang up to him and told that I would meet him next day. I could not make it due to my busy shooting schedule. Two days later he died. I could never forgive myself.

Last week we were discussing ‘promise management’. Every promise is based on a faith. Do you remember elementary school poem on Casablanca, “The boy stood on the burning deck... Whence all but he had fled...” (During the Battle of the Nile, a captain of the ship asks his 12 year old son Casablanca to wait till he returns. The ship catches fire but the boy stands on the deck, does not move an inch and dies in flames).

Every contract, business deal and commerce in this world runs on a single word “Promise”. But before all else, we need to keep those promises when it comes to smaller things like spouse, parent and child relationships. To sooth their tempers many parent say “I promise..." and later forget about it. But children have a great memory especially with promises.

“Promises are like crying babies in a theatre. They should be carried out at once” said Norman Vincent Peale. When you keep up your promises, you happen to be a good spouse. you are liked and respected for your word. You turn out to be a good business partner. Opportunities open up. And above all you can carry a clean conscience and avoid stress.

Time and promise management:

A person’s attitude can mainly be judged by his punctuality and respect for other’s time. If you lie to escape from your promised time and later caught red-handed, it leads to more embarrassing and ugly situation. Here is an example.

A doctor invited me and a psychologist for dinner at 8 p.m. After waiting for half-an-hour we rang up and the guest said that he had already started. After another half-an-hour the impatient doctor enquired again, and was told that there was a traffic jam. Meanwhile the psychologist’s secretary, who did not know our earlier conversations, informed us that her boss finished his counselling his patients and just started.

When the uncompromising host confronted, the psychologist took help from his knowledge in human behaviour, “If I tell that I would be delayed by an hour, you will be disappointed. Hope keeps us alive” he said. No comments.

But I still believe that one should cultivate the habit of respecting other’s time and inform the delay due to other important work or traffic jams. It is the best service a cell phone can do to us.