If you play or are a fan of golf, you may have been one of the hundreds of thousands who were delighted that the Spaniard, Sergio Garcia, won the recent Masters Tournament, arguably the most prestigious event of the season. The delight, however, was more than about golf, it was witnessing a person who appeared to have never lived up to his own or others’ expectations finally break through and achieve a long, envisioned goal. Stories of perseverance and transcendence inspire us.

Garcia burst onto the scene at the age of 19 when he first challenged Tiger Woods in another major tournament--the PGA. From that time, he won many other tournaments but never a major. The pundits suggested that, as the years went by, it was his mental approach that sabotaged his success and, unquestionably, in interviews he was known to regularly express self-doubt. One famous quote has Garcia suggesting: “Perhaps, I’m not good enough to win a major.”

In the great game of life in which we all participate, there is much to be learned from the Sergio Garcia story. Let us acknowledge very few of us escape self-doubt when failing to meet the expectations we have for our lives. Not achieving a goal we had set within a specific time frame can weaken our resolve—all sorts of messages mess with our minds seeking to challenge our worthiness or deservedness for accomplishing what we had set out to do. These thoughts try to bully us into giving up.

Bullies are cowards who run away when confronted with the courageous. A true commitment is a courageous, heartfelt promise to yourself from which you will not back down. Many people have dreams and many have good intentions, but few are willing to make the commitment necessary for their attainment. Ken Blanchard said it perfectly: “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something you accept no excuses, only results.” 

Commitment is the parent of determination. Commitment as manifested in determined action is the fuel that will propel you into the future you imagine for yourself. Successful people refer to commitment as “paying your dues.” What does this mean? We leave the concert or Broadway show thrilled with the performance and the artistry. Do we ever consider, however, the commitment to endless hours of practice and rehearsal--the buckets of perspiration that made possible such a joyous experience?

The movie is over and we have laughed or cried, jumped out of our skin or cringed, been mesmerized by the special effects or the many other aspects of film making. Do we appreciate the commitment to doing as many takes as necessary to get every scene just right, followed by long hours in the editing room blending together a final product that provides such wonderful entertainment?

The glory of the Olympics fills our television screens and we watch with awe the triumph of the athletes. Do we ever think about the commitment to thousands of hours on the track with few, if any, observers, often in inclement weather, the injuries, defeats, and the lack of a normal social life? Indeed, the many sacrifices that must be made to participate in the world’s greatest sporting event?

When people learn that I have written several books, many will make the comment: “One day I’m gonna write a book.” My tongue-in-cheek response is: “Just remember it will take you more than one day!” There is, however, a major truth in that retort. I cannot tell you how many people I have encountered who have unfinished books. The answer is commitment. Despite self-doubt, setbacks, interruptions, making a living, raising a family, one must persist until the vision, the goal is realized.

Life presents itself one day at a time. Commitments, therefore, need to be made in daily bite-sized chunks that can be assimilated without risk of mental indigestion. One page at a time a book is written, one brick at a time a house is built, one stone at a time a cathedral. One stroke at a time the artist paints, one day at a time the addict recovers a life. The great joys, accomplishments and satisfactions of life are experienced by the committed. Why not become one of them?

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive. What the world needs is more people who have come alive!" Howard Thurman