Big Commitments Trigger Big Results

W.H. Murray was a Scottish mountaineer, author, and soldier who became a prisoner of war during World War II. He began writing to lessen the boredom and keep his mind active.

Paper was in short supply, so he wrote the first draft of Mountaineering in Scotland on Red Cross toilet paper rolls. Unfortunately, a German officer confiscated that entire draft.

He completed the second draft by the end of the war in 1945, and two years later, published the book.

After the war, he resumed mountain climbing and wrote another book, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition ( both books are considered classics by enthusiasts). It chronicles the travels of four Scots trekking in Garhwal and Kumaon, part of northern India. He writes:

"But when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money – booked a sailing to Bombay.

"This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.

"Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too."

What Murray is saying is that when you're not completely committed to something, it's hard to make serious progress. He knew this, so he only bought a one-way ticket and made plans ahead of time to write about the expedition.

As copywriters, we can learn from Murray's story of overcoming great odds to write his first book. And our quest for the writer's life has some analogies with his mountain climbing:

  1. You need to establish a base camp. I consider the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting my "base camp." It's the foundation to build all your other skills upon, and I refer to mine weekly.
  2. You need the proper tools to do the job right. Would a mountaineer attempt Everest with cheap equipment? Of course not. You shouldn't either. Invest in the best tools (resources, programs, books, training) if you have big goals.
  3. An expert guide can get you there quicker. My natural tendency is to do things alone, like Murray did in his early days of climbing. I've found that mentors, coaches, and trainers can help you reach higher peaks than you could on your own, though.
  4. The higher you go, the better the view. As you move along in your copywriting business, the "view" gets better: better opportunities, increased pay, more recognition. Also, just like on a mountain, the higher you go, the lesser the competition.
  5. When you fully commit to something, things start happening. I don't know how to explain this one, but it's worked in my life numerous times. Whether it was completing eight marathons, traveling around the world, or becoming a full-time freelance copywriter, when I've stepped forward and said, "I'm in," it's worked out.

Big commitments produce big results. Every time.

What mountains do you want to climb? What do you need to know to do it? Who might be able to help you? Are you committed? Tell me about your big plans below.

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Published: November 2, 2012

16 Responses to “Big Commitments Trigger Big Results”

  1. The best of the series, Steve. Thanks!

    Commitment works because there's no turning back. It's a decision that cannot be reversed. If you've ever eaten a BLT, then you know the pig is committed. ;-)

    Commitment is also submission. "Giving in" is quite liberating. It becomes crystal clear what must be done.

    In short, committed people don't pay attention to distractions or other options. They have blinders on, and the only thing they see is the finish line. THAT's why they succeed...


  2. Steve, I want to know where you come up with all these "stories." I love it! It's a great way to bring us in to your article (as we're trained by AWAI). Do you get an idea for an article and then Google for a story to match? It reminds me of the Paul Harvey series "The Rest of the Story" stories.

    Shawn Maus

  3. Great piece Steve. Love the story lead.

    Lee Schwarz Black Lion Marketing

  4. Great hook Steve. I think your next series should be how to find stories and research for your writing.

    Sean McCool

  5. LOL...I hate you Steve. In your last article I asked you to explain where all the work is. One suggestion was I joined there...I think I am going to get in over my but I'm not going to back down. Lol...beware what you ask for...thanks Steve!

    Dale Buckeridge

  6. Hey Steve,

    Thanks for your articles this week. Today I put in my paperwork to separate from the military. In 6 months I'll be a full-time copywriter. I've been told more times than not I should stay in the service for the "security" but it's not where I want to be.

    So the heat is on. The oven has been set to pre-heat and pretty soon ready or not it'll be time to bake!

    Desiree S Johnson

  7. Tell you my big plans! Well, to put it quite simply. After returning from a year stay in China, I will start my copy writing business in social media. I will be putting on various presentations and training classes in front of business groups to get my start. This will give me the exposure I need to gain further business. I have already committed to producing my website and joining and participating in many social media channels. Since I will not have an income I'm committed to making this work.

    David Gray

  8. Thanks, Steve. Since becoming a PBL Wealth Builder Club member and learning about copywriting, I have been reading every thing that AWAI has sent to my inbox. However, there have been so many options to look at and mull over that I have not quite known which direction to take until now. Your comment about what Murry said regarding commitment and more importantly, establishing a "Base Camp" made me realize that I need to go back to square one and enroll in the Accelerated Program for six figure Copywriting. Thanks again, Dale

    Guest (Dale Perry)

  9. So inspiring and motivating. Thanks Steve!


  10. Dear Steve, its about letting go. I've made my decision to emigrate to the US.My house is on the market.
    I could write articles about what goes on in Britain particularly the NHS, although I bet someone would pay me not to write them actually.
    Any genuine help or advice gratefully received. Carolyn BSc Pharmacy.


  11. Steve, I re-read your letter tonight because I'm writing my first sales letter and I thought of the compelling story that begins your letter - the one about the famous mountaineer.

    I gravitate to the sales letter that tells gripping stories. The appeal to the side of me that wants to be a storyteller.

    Anyway, your letter gave me a boost. Better get back to the task at hand.


    Robert Widdowson

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