There is a common phrase that says: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” I know that most of us have heard it. The problem is that we all too often take it, and other so-called “conventional wisdom” as truth.
Read that phrase again: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
What is conjured up in your mind – what do you think of – when you contemplate those words?
If you’re like most, you believe, for whatever reason, that after a certain age, you can’t learn anything new. That, after a certain point, an ‘old dog’ cannot do anything about who they are or what they are able to do to change the course of their life and it’s direction, level of happiness or ability to produce the results that they would like to see.
The old dog in the phrase doesn’t have to be ‘old’ in the sense of years though. I’ve met many people several years my junior, who believe that because they’ve done so many things a certain way, that, for them at least, any other way is out of the question.
And therein lies the theme for this article. For, it is the belief in so-called ‘truths’ like this one that most often prevents otherwise powerful people – individuals filled with the potential for greatness – to break through to the happiness and success they seek.
Although, there are many that contribute to your overall progress, we’ll be focusing on the success trait of ‘commitment.’ The dictionary describes commitment as a ‘duty,’ ‘promise,’ ‘responsibility,’ or ‘pledge.’ And, each of these key words can be used to focus our intention on breaking free of these self and outwardly imposed limiting beliefs to unleash our own power to be what we choose. Understanding with clarity and focus will allow us to set up our lives in a way that danger cannot touch us, and if it did it would be dealt with . . . quickly and decisively.
Let’s look at each of these ‘keys’ to commitment, as they relate to the concept of Warriorship and our desire to engage the world in a positive, productive, way in order to better understand why we must grab the opportunity (or as a great poet reminded us to “seize the day!”) for growth whenever possible.
Related to the concept of leadership, each one of is a role model in the life of at least one other person. Regardless of whether you are a parent or not, someone is looking at how you move, act, speak and the like. And, they are deciding for themselves about these actions. If they like what they see, even if you would call something a bad habit, they may embrace that ‘habit’ as a truth to be lived up to. They want to be “just like you.” If we are truly concerned about the fate of others and our influence over their lives in a positive way, it is our duty to be the best ‘example’ that we can be. We don’t have to literally be a teacher, or have a job whose official title says “leader,” but, we are an example that others are following. The question we must ask ourselves is, “how do I take control of the way I inspire or motivate others?”
This key can be seen to be a reflection of the water realm of clarity and truth and the wind realm of accomplishment through action. When we make a promise, we communicate something, in the form of a truth that others can rely on. Much like the commitment that two people make to each other when they get married, a promise is the creation of something that creates safety and security for another. And, it is the outward, ‘other’ focus that make a promise an important aspect of commitment and our ability to get necessary help from others when we need it. The question here is, “what benefit will others (and myself) receive if I succeed in my endeavor?”
This key has to do with our liability or accepted obligation for seeing that something is done. This is the opposite of the “it’s not my job” attitude often heard and lived by the lazy personality. In order for us to commit to something, we have to see and accept our own responsibility for making it so. In fact, to take this even further, we must see accept complete liability for the failure of something not happening. The statement that, “if it’s to be it’s up to me” leads me on. The question, “what it does it say about me, when I take responsibility for my life and actions?”
Pledge – Related to the fire realm of connection and expression, a pledge is a vow and a means of engaging with a goal or cause. Much deeper in meaning and understanding than a promise – just as the ‘pledge of allegiance’ is a more powerful title than the ‘promise of allegiance’ – this key comes from the heart. We feel so strongly about the necessity for the goal to be attained that there is no doubt, no hesitation, no fear of failure. We are so totally committed that the pledge sounds more like a statement of ‘of course it will happen’ than a wish to somehow appear in the world as if by magic. Feeling sparks the question, “what makes this goal so important that it must be accomplished?”
Though the four keys can be found to be synonyms of each other and, for many, indistinguishable from each other, the subtle differences in context can mean all the difference in being committed to something and merely saying that we are committed.
So, how about you? How committed are you to those things you say are important. How much do you your really want to change your life – to create results that can benefit both yourself and others – to create the life you’ve always dreamed of living? How important is your Ninja Martial Arts training and your successfully learning the skills of Mastery?
Saying or thinking that you’re the ‘old dog’ in the phrase we talked about earlier just says that you recognize how limited you’ve become in your own habitual patterns. But, it’s never too late to start creating new habits and success patterns. In fact, the world depends on you’re taking action – and now! Because, if there’s one thing the world does need is one more truly successful person – one more bright light – one more honest, respectful, engaged person who does exactly what they say they will do because they recognize their purpose and is willing enough, no brave enough, to break from the those who will settle for mediocrity.
Here’s the formula: If you change, you will grow. But to grow, you must be committed to act – to do exactly what must be done to make the world, if only your little corner of it, a better place in which to live.