Never make a promise you can’t keep.

Have you ever been lied to?

Let’s face it, we all have, and I am willing to bet that most of us have been on the other end of that situation. We’ve all cancelled on dinner plans or said we have already left to meet a friend but in reality we are still getting ready…

Regardless, we all know what it feels like to be disappointed, whether it be a broken promise or the “flat tire” excuse.

But what about a really big promise? Like one that has a 30-minute-long, powerful video with over 102 million views on YouTube? A promise that implied, with your help and support, which they were was going to take down one of the most powerful leaders in Africa and end a war.

Know where I am going here? I’m talking about the promise of the year, Kony 2012.

If you don’t know what I am referring to, firstly where were you in 2012? And secondly, I recommend you watch the video. Basically, an organisation called Invisible Children launched a powerful social media-led campaign against the Lord’s Resistance Army. In particular, shedding light on their heinous acts, such as child kidnapping and enslavement, in Central Africa. The leader of this army is Joseph Kony, hence the campaign name, Kony 2012.

The YouTube video was so successful and inspirational that it soon became a global phenomenon. Supporters spread awareness, signed petitions, purchased related campaign products and even joined marches. Even I was so moved by the video that I begged my dad to buy a Kony 2012 t-shirt and an “action kit”.

Within a week of the video being published, it had received over a 100 million views on YouTube. Moreover, the campaign raised nearly $20 million. The impact this video had was so colossal that, according to one article, it had decreased the amount of killings in Africa by 67% in the same year.

So, what happened? Did we stop Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army? Did we save the children?

Well, not exactly.

Instead we watched the filmmaker of the viral video have a mental ”nudity” breakdown. Aside from that monstrosity, we also saw that the company’s financial reports stated they spent more money on marketing than on their “overall aim”, i.e. to stop Kony.

This was a punch in the guts for Kony 2012 supporters like myself because no, they didn’t stop Kony, but they did get our money.

Can you think of any other big promises? What about from a certain president?

Yep, you guessed it, United States President Donald Trump LOVES to make promises. Keeping them? Not so much.

During his presidential campaign, Trump made more than 280 promises. When you start to read the promises, you can suss out which ones were from his infamous tweets. A “Trump Promise Tracker” was even created to track the avalanche of promises. So far, Trump has kept 14 promises, broken 16, launched 15, compromised 7 and is stuck on 8 out of the 282 promises.

You would expect that the promises made by the president would be clear, concise, smart, and that at least a majority of them would be kept. After the revelation of the many, many, many, many (x1000) promises he kept, Trump decided to release a document called “Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter”, indicating a 100 day action plan and only 60 promises.

So why do we lie? Why do we believe lies?

Now, I know you guys may have not promised the world to take down an evil dictator or ‘make America great again’ but you did promise Sarah or Sam that you’d drive them to the airport. We seem to be the kind of people who love to promise but struggle to keep them. Research shows that we lie to gain rewards, power, present a likeable reputation or clean up bad behaviour. In fact, we are surrounded by deceitful behaviour every day that it, “would be truthful to say that to lie is human”.

I believe the above mentioned examples clearly reflect the title of the article, never make a promise you can’t keep. Otherwise you’ll lose supporters like Kony 2012 and have a negative reputation like Trump. So next time you consider breaking a promise, think of the children in Africa or the citizens of the USA. Don’t be like Kony or Trump – keep that promise!

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