The promise that just moments ago had shined so brightly, is shattered

Arendt’s groundbreaking tome on the human condition makes a powerful point about accountability. 

She writes that promises made to oneself have no reliability, but when plural persons come together to bind themselves for the future, the covenants they create among themselves can throw islands of predictability into the ocean of uncertainty, creating a new kind of assurance and enabling them to exercise power collectively. 

Imagine how many goodhearted commitments we make, to ourselves, to loved ones, to the world, but we fail to keep, because they stay inside our heads. The number must be in the millions. 

The solution, then, to turn hypothetical agreements reached in our imaginations into concrete actions out in the world, is the magic of the plural. We meed at least two people with whom we share our promises. This apparatus of accountability does wonders for our ability to take action on our dreams. 

When I was part of an accountability group, we had a standing exercise called challenges. Each member announces his weekly task to the group, which must be alignment with his mission, along with a consequence for not completing it. Then, during the following week’s meeting, he reveals whether or not he was successful. 

It’s simple, structured, solid, and most importantly, social. And although members don’t complete every challenge every time, the percentage is significantly higher that if they would have promised something solely to themselves. 


What variety of accountability might help you grasp the full impact of being whole responsible for yourself?

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Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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