Commitment: Dr Dennis Deaton (extra chapter)


by Dr Dennis Deaton

Steve was in Dallas, Texas on business. Having made a commitment to be at a meeting in Phoenix that evening at 7:30, he planned with his travel agent accordingly. A flight had been booked to leave Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW) in the late afternoon with enough leeway to allow him to arrive on time for his meeting.

Complications arose. By the time Steve was dropped off at the airport, his flight was departing. The gate was closed; the plane had pushed back. No way would he be on that plane.

Most people would have said, “Well I did my best. I tried to be on time for my meeting. Circumstances, events, and other people precluded me from keeping my commitment.” Steve did not excuse himself so easily. He has developed a tenacious desire to keep every promise.

Steve had missed his scheduled flight, yet his commitment still stood. He acted fast. He ran back to the counter and said, “I have to be in Phoenix at 7:30. I missed my flight. Is there any other flight departing DFW, so I can be in Phoenix on time?”

The agent scanned the schedules. There was only one other flight. Another airline, in a different terminal, was scheduled to depart in 10 minutes. ‘There is no way you can physically get to that terminal, check in, exchange your ticket, and make that flight,” said the agent.

“We’ll see,” said Steve, as he dashed down the corridor.

If you have ever been to DFW, you know it is large and sprawling. It was a miracle Steve even got to the gate in that short amount of time. But he did. Racing to the gate, he found a queue of angry, disgruntled people lined up at the counter. An agent was speaking into the microphone, explaining that the flight had been over-booked, and there were not enough seats for everyone who wanted passage.

Again, most people would have caved in at that point, saying, “Oh well, I did my best. What more can you expect?” Steve bypassed the line of people who were complaining to customer service and went directly to the attendant at the gate. The plane, mind you, is fully booked, fully loaded, and ready to push back. Steve looked the man in the eye and calmly, but firmly, stated, “I do not have time to explain. I just must be in Phoenix at 7:30.”

The attendant did not ask one question. He said to Steve, “Come with me.” They walked down the jet way to the plane. The attendant grabbed the microphone and stated, “I have to buy a seat on this flight. There will be hotel accommodations provided and a free round-trip ticket to any destination in the continental United States if someone will give up his or her seat.”

There was a pause. (The universe sometimes pauses in its movements for dramatic effect.) Then slowly a hand rose into the air. A woman accepted the attendant’s offer.

Steve looked the attendant in the eye, thanked him, and handed him a ticket—but one for another airline. That could have been the last straw, could have thwarted the whole chain of events, but it didn’t. The attendant knew how to handle the transfer, did not blink an eye, and wished Steve a safe flight. He walked away holding Steve’s ticket, escorting the woman who had given up her seat to the counter to fulfill the airline’s promise to her.

In the overall course of human events, whether Steve made that plane and attended the meeting in Phoenix, seems utterly inconsequential. That event, fulfilled or unfulfilled, would not appear to monumentally alter the course of history. Thousands of meetings occur every day where someone who committed to be there doesn’t show up. The universe appears to proceed unimpressed and undeterred.

If you look at commitment as a policy, an engrafted way of living, rather than an event, it takes on a far greater power. Each time people of integrity give and keep their word, even in very simple things like making an appointment or returning a call, the universe is affected, however slightly. As your integrity in all things increases, you align yourself with the law of direct and proportionate rewards. A favorable stream of events, flowing in your favor, will increase.