In our last +1, I shared my Sacred Vow with you.
Then I encouraged YOU to consider creating your own Sacred Vow.
Today I want to continue that discussion.
We’ll invite Daisaku Ikeda to the party. He is the leader of Nichiren Buddhism and one of the most respected Buddhist philosophers alive whose work has inspired millions around the world.
In Buddhism Day by Day he tells us about the importance of making a vow.
Here’s how he puts it: “In any field of endeavor, making a vow is the foundation for achieving something great. If for whatever reason a person gives up halfway or backslides, his or her commitment hasn’t been based on a vow. Halfhearted desire doesn’t amount to a vow.”
It means “a solemn promise.”
It’s on the far right side of the spectrum of kinda sorta committed to ABSOLUTELY ALL IN (!) committed.
(Kinda sorta) ←———COMMITMENT LEVEL———→ (VOW = ALL IN)
A solemn promise to ourselves that we will give everything we have for however long it takes to the altruistic goal we have determined is worthy of us—whether that’s actualizing our potential, raising healthy and happy kids, giving our gifts to the world or all of the above.
Let’s do a quick inventory.
What’s most important to you in your life?
Your actualization? Your family? Your creative expression?
(← All of the above?)
What’s your ideal outcome in those scenarios? And, how committed are you to achieving something great in each of those domains?
Or have you made a solemn promise to yourself to achieve your desired outcome?
We’ll know by how you respond to challenges.
Here’s how Alex Lickerman puts it in The Undefeated Mind: “And when our response to failure is to summon an even greater determination to succeed, vowing to get back up after being knocked down not just once but again and again each day and with every obstacle that rises up to challenge us—attacking them, as Nichiren Daishonin wrote, like a ‘lion king who unleashes the same power whether he traps a tiny ant or attacks a fierce animal’—then we’ll have found a treasure even more valuable than any apparently foolproof plan to reach our goal: the determination necessary to seek a better one when it fails. For in demonstrating to ourselves that we can always summon more of it, our determination becomes to us like a good friend, its steady presence and our faith in its power imbuing us with confidence that no matter how many times we’ve failed, no matter how much we want to quit, victory can still be ours.
‘When your determination changes,’ Daisaku Ikeda, the third president of the Soka Gakki, writes, ‘everything will begin to move in the direction you desire. The moment you resolve to be victorious, every nerve and fiber in your being will immediately orient itself toward your success. On the other hand, if you think, ‘This is never going to work out,’ then at that instant every cell in your being will be deflated and give up the fight. Then everything really will move in the direction of failure.’”
When your determination changes, everything changes.
Let’s resolve to be victorious and use every challenge as fuel to our growth.
P.S. Remember, as Daisaku Ikeda tells us: “Make goals. Whether big or small, work toward realizing them. You must be serious about and dedicated to your goals—you’ll get nowhere if you just treat them like jokes. An earnest, dedicated spirit shines like a diamond and moves people’s hearts. That is because a brilliant flame burns within.”
Plus: “When you devote yourself to achieving your goal, you will not be bothered by shallow criticism. Nothing important can be accomplished if you allow yourself to be swayed by some trifling matter, always looking over your shoulder and wondering what others are saying or thinking. The key to achievement is to move forward along your chosen path with firm determination.”