Promises and Integrity: Who cares about the promises of yesterday?

Do you walk your talk?
Promises and Integrity: Who cares about the promises of yesterday?

Walk your talk


Actions that follow words? Authenticity? Walk your talk? In a world in which we are not accustomed to doing that, this is quite remarkable.

Keeping promises


Making promises and keeping promises isn’t the same. Many people promise mountains but deliver molehills.

Although Shakespeare said “a promise made is a debt unpaid”, what is left of this attitude in today‘s world? More widely used today is probably the notion; promises cost nothing. And what about empty promises?

In particular, the advertising industry depicts that no one is bothered about empty promises. Most people don’t take those promises for real. But this isn’t a new phenomenon.

“The message I hear well, but I have a little faith,” said Goethe. We have somehow become used to a lot of promises not being taken seriously. It is assumed that promises won’t be fulfilled or if so, only partly.

In some areas of business and marketing, the number of unrealistic promises made to us is absurd! Who truly believes that even the deepest wrinkles dissolve with anti-wrinkle creams? In TV ads tricks and gimmicks show 12-year-old girls styled as adult women to make mature women believe they can also have younger-looking skin again if they use the advertised miracle product.

Indulgent and largely unrestrained, the promises just keep coming and coming playing on our desires. However, people will see through the empty promises as lies and we won’t trust them anymore.

Those who promise much, forget a lot. Remember that, because promises quickly evaporate. It helps if your promises are quickly forgotten. A decreasing span of attention means promises go unnoticed faster and faster. Don’t worry about what you promised yesterday. This is immensely liberating. Who cares about moral reasoning? The bigger and louder, the better!


Everyone’s a millionaire where promises are concerned.



But … Who makes honest promises in this bold way, runs the risk of being unheard. Of not being noticed or taken seriously. In the end, a large volume of promises will be reduced to only a few that you can keep. But there is also an opportunity or chance to hold yourself to those promises and maintain a reputation that you are honest and keep your word. Few, however, are willing to follow this path.


Do not give your word too quickly, so you do not break it; much better is to keep more than you promised.

Friedrich Rückert


It is better to make fewer promises because those who promise too quickly and too often rarely keep them. Actions that follow words? Authenticity? Walk your talk? In a world in which we are not accustomed to doing that, this is quite remarkable.

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Do you keep the promises that you make?

1 Comment

  1. I do!


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May you live all the days of your life. Jonathan Swift

This article is a short excerpt from the more comprehensive course materials my clients receive in a group or individual training or coaching.

Published: June 21, 2008
Author: Karsten Noack
Revision: August 14, 2019
Translation: ./.
German version:

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