“Between the saying and the doing, many a pair of shoes are worn out.” (Iris Murdoch) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog recently. Jack went on to mention the applicability of the skepticism expressed in that little saying, especially as it applies to current politics.
Perhaps we have come to expect empty words from our politicians, promises not kept and bombastic rhetoric and boosts about abilities that they really don’t have; but, what about our own words and actions? Do people take what you say with a grain of salt or do they take your words as a commitment that they can count upon? Do you casually toss of commitments that you later find easy to blow off? How many pairs of shoes do you wear out between the saying and the doing?
There is another, more optimistic way to look at this little saying and that is that one can wear out many pairs of shoes while doing what one has said they will do. In other words you are working hard to meet your commitments and expectations. It is from that more optimistic view that phrases like, “His word is his bond” came from. We all know people like that; people that you can count on when the chips are down and every day.
Jack posted another little saying some time ago, which I saved because I knew it would come in handy someday –
“If you’re not going to tell the truth, then why start talking?” (Gene Wilder)
Jack posted that right after Wilder’s death. It certainly ties in well with the thoughts about saying and doing. If what we are saying is not the truth; but, rather, just something that we think the listener wants to hear, then why say it at all. That is especially true of making “commitments”.
It is all too easy to join in the chorus of those in a group who seem to be committing to do something without any real sense that you are actually going to do it. It makes you feel good at the time that you “commit” – Yeah I signed up, I joined the group, I’m part of the “:in-crowd”. But, when it comes to actually do what you committed to maybe you are the one that always has that last minute conflict or change of plans that prevents you from being there.
Don’t think that others don’t notice. They may not call you out on it, but they do start discounting your commitments and you earn the label of unreliable. They know that there will be a lot of shoes worn out between your saying and doing.
On the opposite side of things is the person that everyone knows that they can count upon; the person who is always there when needed; the person who is so reliable that we begin to take them for granted. Those are the people that hold things together when the going gets tough. That person wears out many pairs of show doing, rather than just talking.
About them Gretchen Rubin said –
“Being taken for granted is an unpleasant but sincere form of praise. Ironically, the more reliable you are, and the less you complain, the more likely you are to be taken for granted.”
People who are truly doers, instead of just talker, seldom worry about being taken for granted because they find inner peace from the satisfaction of accomplishing what they said they would do.
So, how are your shoes? Are you wearing them out doing the things that you say or do many pairs wear out between the saying and the doing? Can others count on you or do they discount your “commitments”?
Jesus said, “By their fruits you shall know them.” How will people know you? How are your shoes?