ARE WE COMMITTED OR CONDITIONED?
As a young football player in high school, I would begin training for each year during the summer with weight lifting and running. I loved to lift weights, learn plays, and to push myself to get better than the last season. One of the things that we did each summer was spending several weeks getting in shape. We called it “hell week” or conditioning week. It was a time that we would run, lift weights, run, and run some more. It was the part of playing football that I would say, that I disliked the most. As the two week period would come to an end, we would begin training in our respective positions. As I look back on that time period, I wasn’t committed to the training but I was conditioned to do it due to that being part of the process for playing football.
That is how it is for most of us. If we take a full inventory of our lives, most of us would discover that we are not committed to most of the tasks we do on a daily basis. We are conditioned to doing the tasks that we complete. Let’s be honest with each other, are we committed to our jobs or are we conditioned to receiving a paycheck? Are we committed to our relationships or are we just conditioned to have someone laying next to us? Are we committed to our relationship with Christ or just conditioned to attending church? Are we committed to learning while we are in school or are we conditioned to just completing the work for a grade? When we take the time to review some of the things that we do on a daily basis, we are just going through the motions just so we can either get on with our lives or just get on to doing something else that we really enjoy. Those things that we really enjoy, those are the task that we are truly committed to doing. But if we take it a step further, we have been bribed with the idea of reward. The thing that we are committed to is getting the reward for what we do…..that is why most of us live in the “chasing the next best thing” syndrome. We are constantly trying to chase the next moment of aggrandizement, not realizing that we are slowly being conditioned to be like the hamster on the never ending wheel of going in circles.
One of the beautiful things about kids is that they are committed to their dreams, wants, and desires. As a father of 5 children, I have noticed that they are relentless about asking me 1001 times can they do something….play a game, go outside, have a snack, go to a party, and the list goes on. Kids have a natural desire to get what they want and when they want it. The commitment level for getting what they want is very high. Somewhere between our years as a child and our years of adulthood, we lose that zest to being committed to getting what we want out of life. There is a moment in our lives where we become conditioned to being okay with what we get, when we get it, and how we get it. Conditioning is our comfort zone or our security blanket. We have been conditioned to go to work, conditioned to take the same route home, conditioned to stay in an abusive relationship, conditioned to keep unhealthy friendships, and conditioned to living a life unfulfilled. Conditioning is a matter of accepting the status quo, commitment is a matter of taking control. When we are conditioned, it allows for us to not be the owner of how our lives will continue or change. It causes us to be numb and not affected by the journey of life. We have been conditioned to live life on someone else’s terms instead of being committed to designing the outlay of our lives. There is a need for us to change the narrative known as our lives to become more committed to what we do on a daily basis. Conditioning is about going through the motions, but commitment is about doing “whatever” to get to where we want to be in life.
Commitment is about going the extra mile but it is even more about being invested in the process. We are committed to being a better partner to our mate, we realize that we are invested in their well being. When we are committed to job, we realize that we are invested in how far we will go to make it a career. When we are committed to being a better parent, we realize that we are invested in shaping the life of our children. Commitment at the end of the day is about being invested for the long haul of the process in all areas of our lives. One of the things that I learned about commitment, is that it is similar to making an investment into a retirement account. When you invest in your retirement account, you are not expecting a return until you decide to retire. You make your monthly deposit into your account, knowing that one day you will reap the benefits of being committed. Just like we are committed to being sure we are secure when we retire from our job, we have to be committed to being the owners of how our lives will be lived. It is imperative that we change from being conditioned, just accepting life as it comes, and be committed to being the developers our future. As I concluded my high school football career, I realized that the conditioning that I hated, was a big payoff during the season. It helped me to have the stamina to get through some difficult competitions. But more especially, it enabled me to learn how to matriculate some of life’s difficulties. The final piece is being okay with being committed to doing what you have to do to change what you don’t like in your life. It is not anyone else’s responsibility to make you happy, except for you. You have the right to change those things in your life that is causing you to be conditioned. Commit yourself to changing your current condition!