Freedom in Commitment

The Starbucks sign in the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. April 28, 2013.

The Starbucks sign in the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. April 28, 2013.

Starbucks once ran a campaign called “The Way I See It,” which printed quotes from famous people and Starbucks customers on the sides of its to-go cups.

I frequent a number of Starbucks shops across the country for business networking. My cup often had the following quote printed on its side:

The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating—in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

–Anne Morriss, Starbucks customer, The Way I See It #76

I remember that I read the quote a few times on the first encounter. As I internalized it, I wondered:

Is it true?

Many people consider commitment limiting. There are so many options in the world. We miss so much when we narrow our focus.

Yet Morriss is correct: In making a full commitment to one path, the confusion and pressure of other possibilities fall away. In commitment, we fully become present for things on which we could not otherwise focus:

  • We can plumb a new career’s depths and broaden our horizons without worrying about all the other jobs out there.

  • We can focus on fully experiencing the joys and breadth and challenges of an intimate relationship with one person—and the richness of a shared life built in tandem.

  • We can get to know a city’s character from the inside, building a full presence in one location, connecting networks of friends, seeing a place’s past, present, and future—and being part of it.

Yes, I do believe in the freedom of commitment. That’s what Morriss’s quote means to me. That’s how I see it.

What does the quote mean to you?