Promises are debts, not investments. You can think of each promise you make as a personal I.O.U check that you issue out. And it makes sense, since the whole point of a promise issued out is to obtain an immediate result on a future commitment. Rather that purchasing hands down in a ad-hoc “quid-pro-quo” transaction, you delay payment on your behalf for fast relief of your own pain or woe.
Now, you do not need to be finance savvy to understand the base economical predicament this causes. All debts, past, future or present come due in time. And the more debts you hold, the more exposure you face.
And when it comes to personal debts, the kind only you yourself can ever redeem, this causes a simple financial issue of supply and demand. You are only one person with limited time. You only have 24h per day each and every day, just like the rest of us. If by some stroke of misfortune more than one debt is called in at once, you will be placed in the very un-noble position to play favorites and pick which to redeem first and which to delay.
And this will cost you something much more than money. It will cost you a very much invaluable commodity. You will lose respect, and with it, the value of your word will diminish in the opinion of others. And once lost, it will be neigh impossible to recover.
“Your word is your bond”. I bet you have heard that before. And such a true statement it is.
Now, I do not advocate you should never ever make promises. But please choose wisely when, where and to whom you issue out such volatile debts. For there may come a time when you will absolutely need something of someone and you might have nothing to trade for it except for a promise that you will make it up to them in the future.
And when that time comes, having a strong reputation of “always coming through on their promises” might just make the difference in making or breaking your career.