The Difference Between Commitment & Interest

If you are committed to achieving something:

  • you have steadfast fixity of purpose (nothing gets in your way or detracts you from getting results)
  • you have a solution-focus to barriers/problems (there is not a culture of excuse making)
  • the good results are fuel to keep working and poor results are welcome as data on what needs to be improved (data drives refinement and improvement)
  • you invest in gaining the knowledge to know how to be successful (you don’t assume you know how to be successful or do all of the practices that will be required, you learn how to be successful and implement various practices)
  • you innovate as necessary (in the absence of a known solution you experiment to create approaches that may work until you find one that does)
  • you have informed, meaningful performance targets that reasonably challenge and stretch people engaged with the work (“some” is not a number and “soon” is not a time – there is analysis that goes into goal setting, not wish lists or dreams)
  • you spend time fixing problems instead of wishing others would (you don’t have a laundry list of hollow advocacy wishing some other organization, program or government did something differently)

If you are interested (but not committed) to achieving something:

  • you will achieve success if the stars align properly (luck plays a role)
  • you are quick to point out all that could/will go wrong or that there are a bunch of things outside your control that will influence your ability to success (you do not accept full responsibility)
  • you may report out data, but will be quick to frame it as you want it interpreted not how it is (and are likely to make excuses for why certain results are not favourable)
  • you will engage as a passing moment in your career (this task is something you do as a job, not something that you are called to achieve)
  • you may make assumptions that you know things you do not know or that certain knowledge does not apply to you or will not work where you live (and sometimes this results in “Made In [insert name of city]” approaches that have no merit of fact)
  • you will spend a lot of time advocating for others to make change (a lot of “If they did ‘x’ then we could achieve ‘y’ statements are made)


Another way of looking at this is bacon an eggs. Bacon is a lifetime commitment for a pig. Eggs are a passing interest for a chicken. Ask yourself: are you a pig or a chicken?

About Iain De Jong

Iain is a playful nerd, hellbent on ending homelessness, increasing affordable housing, creating vibrant communities, and expanding the knowledge amongst leaders that influence social issues. Having held senior management and professional positions in government, non-profits, and the private sector, Iain has a wealth of experience and has garnered dozens of awards for his work across Canada and internationally. His work has taken him across Canada, the United States, and to Australia. In 2009, Iain joined OrgCode as its President & CEO, and in 2014 assumed full ownership of the firm. In addition to his work with OrgCode, Iain holds a part-time faculty position in the Graduate Urban Planning Programme at York University.

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