My favorite question at the moment is “what is the difference between a promise and an agreement?”, in an attempt and hope to get two definitions that will satisfy me . It has not been easy and I have not been satisfied to date, with the feeling that I am strange for asking and that I should just take them for granted.
Sir Ken Robinson talks about taking things for granted in his book The Element:
“One of the key principles of “The Element” is that we need to challenge what we take for granted about our abilities and the abilities of other people. This isn’t as easy as one might imagine. Part of the problem with identifying the things we take for granted is that we don’t know what they are because we take them for granted in the first place. They become basic assumptions that we don’t question, part of the fabric of our logic. We don’t question them because we see them as fundamental, as an internal part of our lives. Like air. Or gravity. Or Oprah.”
So here is my latest definition that I think is making inroads into our simplistic or basic assumptions for these words.
A personal pledge that something will or will not get done.
(Takes one person)
An arranging of our personal pledges/promises (to test, for now).
(Takes at least two people).
To some people, the personal pledge or promise (the components of the agreement) are more important than the actual Agreement.
“…but you promised!”
Whereas with my brother and I, the Agreement (what pledges we arrange, for now) is more important than the actual personal pledge or promise.
“…let’s rearrange the pledges”
Constantly upgrading of my pledge of ‘I could be wrong’, for the last 30 years, and also the incorporation of it into the agreement with my brother (using the ‘for now’ caveat), has brought me down to this point, “the microscopic”, as a friend of mine has put it.
So now I can pledge that I always make the Agreement more important than the pledge or promise, and get an agreement with anyone, for now. It’s the agreement stupid!
To me the actual arrangement or connecting of the promises in the agreement is done by the “for now” part of the agreement, because we are agreeing to try it out. So instead of taking a person and their pledge on the road to see what they are like I am talking about taking the agreement on the road and see what it is like.
Ultimately, I am not getting to know the other person so much, as I am getting to know how well WE make agreements (the arranging and rearranging of our pledges), together.
…and why is the understanding of agreements so important?
Well maybe, just maybe I can learn to understand “disagreements”. As it is the disagreements that are the biggest cause of breakups in personal and business relationships, in my view. This is my next post.