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Manfull: Keeping promises

BY ERIN MANFULL | NOVEMBER 04, 2014 5:00 AM

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If you were to estimate how many times you’ve failed to come through on a promise, what would your number be? Five? Ten? 100? How many times is it for you? For Alex Sheen, founder of Because I said I Would, the increasingly high numbers of failed promises were concerning. He decided to change this impending social epidemic, so he did what anyone would do and made a YouTube video that racked up more than 1 million views.

In an hour and a half, after intently listening and admittedly holding back tears, Alex Sheen was able to make me re-evaluate my entire life. Usually this only happens when I find a new Netflix show, so the fact that it wasn’t New Girl this time made me realize something.

Far too often I’ve found myself making promises left and right; “Yeah, I’ll meet you at this time at that place” or “For sure, let’s meet up.” I couldn’t even begin to tally the number of times phrases suchas these have passed my lips without a second thought — because I really do have every intention to fulfill these gestures. But life always finds a way to intrude on plans. Or, at least that’s what I used to think.

Life doesn’t get in the way — you do. You make plans and then realize you’re too tired, or busy, or just started a new season of “Scandal” to do what you once promised you would do. Looking at it now, it seems as if these are just excuses. It seems that the value of my words are less important than what they should be.

Sheen, after losing his father to cancer, realized the importance of being a person of one’s word. His mission statement is simple; “Because I said I Would is a social movement and nonprofit organization dedicated to the betterment of humanity by promises made and kept.” He distributes blank white business cards with the words “Because I said I Would” written on the bottom right corner. These cards are sent to people to write down their promises to give to people in attempt to earn their promise back. As simple as a white business card may look, Sheen has personally delivered more than 1.275 million to date.

It seems strange to think that blank business cards could be the change our society needs. But like all movements, it needs to start small. It starts out with the little things, “I’ll meet you for dinner tonight,” and goes to “Yes, I will vote” and could one day even go as far as “I’ll change the world.”

The promises are up to us, individual promises based on our personal goals of who we want to become. Hopefully, we all want to become better people. With a little help from Sheen, I think one day the world will be pushed to realize that something as simple as promise shouldn’t be neglected. A promise may just be composed of a few words, but words have the ability to change the world and the people in it.

So today, I will vote, because I said I would.


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