Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: No one to blame. – Erica Jong
I’m Not Responsible for This…
Typically, thinking about responsibility can make most people cringe. Responsibility often brings up thoughts associated with work and a commitment of some sort that we would rather avoid wherever possible. In fact, responsibility for most is something that is hard to swallow. We rather live life with the freedom and flexibility to do whatever our heart desires without limiting our own personal choices.
Often when those choices are limited or when things don’t quite go as we had expected people will typically complain, make excuses and/or blame everything and everyone but themselves for how things have turned out. In fact, they will do everything within their power to shun responsibility, often to their own detriment.
It’s not always pleasant to take responsibility for our life and circumstances, especially when those circumstances are unfavorable or completely out of our direct control. However, when you fail to take responsibility you put yourself at a clear disadvantage. You are disadvantaged because you are approaching the situation from a source of weakness where you become the victim of circumstance. Moreover, from this weakened position there is nothing you can do to improve your situation. In other words, you are resigned to the fate that you are powerless and incapable of making things better.
Obviously, this is not an ideal way to live. Life will always present us with problems, and things will not always go as we had planned or imagined. To shun responsibility in such circumstances weakens our resolve and certainly doesn’t help us improve the situation. Taking responsibility is, therefore, the only answer, however, this is rarely easy. It’s certainly not easy when we resist life and all it brings to the table.
It’s Time to Fully Accept Life
The key to gaining personal power and strength is to take full responsibility for your life and circumstances no matter what kind of predicament you face. To do so you must openly acknowledge and accept how things are without an ounce of resistance.
The honest truth is that life isn’t always fair and certainly doesn’t play favorites. It doesn’t necessarily punish bad work, behavior and/or intentions. Equally as much it doesn’t necessarily reward good behavior, hard work, and/or sincere intentions. Life is simply life. It has no agenda and will surprise you with something new around every corner.
Having said that, if life was to favor anyone specifically then it typically favors those who are bold in action; who make the most of their opportunities, problems, and circumstances; who take initiative; and those who take full responsibility for their choices, decisions and actions. This might very well be hard to stomach for most people, but it makes sense, right? Then why do people just keep complaining about things?
You see, many people don’t understand that life will typically give them not what they want but rather what they deserve. Life will, for instance, provide you with a plethora of opportunities that typically come in the form of problems. However, most people will never see these problems as opportunities and therefore time and again will fail to make optimal choices that can help them improve their circumstances.
In order to live a more responsible life, we must fully accept the fact that we always get what we deserve. Yes, this might often be exactly the opposite of what we may want, but nevertheless, it’s something that we must take full responsibility for.
You see, what you think is unfair or disadvantageous might not actually be the case. Life always gives you what you deserve, and what you deserve is to improve and develop yourself; to grow smarter, stronger and sharper in order to achieve your goals. But in order to experience all these things, you will need face challenges and solve problems that are designed to help you become a better version of yourself. And the only way to become this “better you” is to embrace all these challenges by taking full responsibility for your life and circumstances.
It’s Time to Take Responsibility for Everything
Take responsibility for everything. Yes, I do mean absolutely everything, whether you’re in direct fault or not.
Taking responsibility for everything that life throws your way is a key character trait that distinguishes the most successful people from the rest. However, even if success isn’t something you value highly, you can still derive incredible value from taking responsibility.
To take responsibility for your life and circumstances is incredibly empowering. It’s empowering because it’s a measure of your courage, of your self-confidence, self-worth and of your mental strength, toughness, and resilience.
To take responsibility is empowering because it provides you with a sense of control over your life. In essence, it gives you greater self-assurance that you will eventually get the outcome you are after.
To take responsibility is empowering because it encourages solution-based thinking that can lead to a plethora of creative ideas to help you solve your problems more effectively. In other words, it empowers you to take an active role in solving your life’s problems, which earns you an incredible amount of respect in the eyes of others.
Now, of course, taking responsibility doesn’t mean you are weak or powerless and therefore you blame yourself for everything. This isn’t about blame. This is rather about responsibility. There is a big difference.
Blaming yourself comes from a position of weakness. It comes from a victimized mentality that doesn’t have any control over life or circumstances. To take responsibility means to take ownership of the situation. It means fully accepting how things are and committing yourself to making things right. That’s what taking responsibility is all about, but this also goes far deeper.
What it Means to Accept Full Responsibility
In order to truly accept full responsibility for something typically means not falling prey to victim mentality, not succumbing to your fears or insecurities; not worrying about an uncertain future, and not falling into the trap of regretting past choices, decisions or actions.
To take full responsibility for your life and circumstances means consistently holding yourself accountable. It means seeing yourself as the creator of your life, very much like a painter or sculptor at work on their craft.
To take full responsibility requires objective thinking; it requires embracing difficult situations while openly acknowledging your failures and mistakes. It requires seeing opportunities within every problem or circumstances you find yourself in. It also requires practicing self-discipline and above all else making a commitment to continuous improvement.
A person who takes full responsibility makes no excuses and throws all their complaints out the door. Yes, life might not always initially seem fair, however, these people are not phased by their insecurities. They clearly understand that they are the sculptor of their own life and they alone, therefore, hold the power to change things any-which-way they please.
How to Begin Taking Full Responsibility
Within this final section let’s explore a five-step process for when life just doesn’t seem fair. This is a process you can use to help you begin taking full responsibility for your life no matter what circumstances you face. It may of course not be easy at first to think about your predicament in this way, however with practice, you will develop a new and empowering habit that will help you to make the most of every situation, and this, of course, all starts with taking full responsibility.
Step 1: Acknowledge You’re Responsible
The first step is an obvious step. It requires we acknowledge that we are fully responsible for the situation at hand.
It doesn’t really matter whether you played a large or small role in creating this problem. In fact, it doesn’t even matter whether or not you feel you played a role at all. The choices and decisions you made leading up to this situation led you to this very moment, and therefore — whether you like it or not — on some level you are responsible for what has just happened. By being here in this moment you have a responsibility to become part of the solution.
Given all this, openly acknowledge the part you played and accept full responsibility for your predicament. At the very least openly acknowledge how your choices and decisions have led you to this very moment and how you have now become part of the problem.
Step 2: Recognize the Value of a Problem
Having taken ownership of the problem, it’s now time to recognize the full extent of the problem and the impact it has on you, on others and on the situation at hand. Ask yourself:
What’s the specific problem I am facing?
Who is involved in creating this problem?
How am I affected by this problem? How specifically?
How are others affected by this problem? How specifically?
With a clear understanding of the problem, it’s now time to ask yourself whether this is an actual problem that’s worth dealing with. Ask yourself:
Do I need to involve myself in having this problem solved?
Is solving this problem worth my time? (opportunity cost)
There will always be some things that may very clearly not be worth your time and effort. Sometimes we unnecessarily blow things out of proportion without first taking the time to recognize what it is that we actually face.
You need to figure out whether working through this issue or problem is to your advantage, or whether this is something that is best to let go. Possibly this is not something that needs to be solved. Yes, you have acknowledged responsibility for this problem, however, you must now decide whether or not it is worth the opportunity cost. Ask yourself:
How will I benefit by solving this problem?
What is the value of working through this problem?
If the problem isn’t worth solving, then just let it go.
Step 3: Take Ownership of the Problem
The moment you decide that this is a problem that’s worth pursuing is the moment you must take full ownership of the problem without an ounce of resistance. Resistance will only limit your ability to find an appropriate solution to the problem at hand. Only when you let go of all resistance and accept that things are the way they are; do you open yourself up to further possibilities. You must accept that:
This is how things are…
I will now deal with this situation in the best way I know how…
To truly take ownership of a problem you must acknowledge how you contributed to the problem. You must come to a clear understanding of how this problem is of your own making, even if indirectly. Ask yourself:
How did I contribute to this problem?
How is this situation of my own making?
What can I take away from this experience?
There is always something you will be able to take away from every experience no matter how dire the circumstances. And within these takeaways, you will often find key opportunities that will help you find the solutions you are after.
Step 4: Figure Out How to Solve the Problem
Having taken ownership of the situation, it’s now your responsibility to figure out how to solve this problem. To do so, your first task is to identify layers of control. Layers of control provide you with insight into the amount of control you have over various aspects of this problem. Ask yourself:
What parts of this problem do I control?
What parts of this problem are beyond my control?
There may be certain aspects of a problem that are completely out of your hands, and as a result, these are things that you are unable to control. Let them go. Let them be as they are and focus instead on the things that you can physically do something about to help you solve the problem at hand.
Your next step is, of course, to dig deeper into the problem by exploring potential opportunities and solutions. Ask yourself:
What’s a helpful way to think about this problem?
What’s the opportunity here that could be to my benefit?
How can I potentially work with this problem?
How can I potentially work around this problem?
How could I potentially use this problem to improve my situation?
Now, of course, in order to effectively implement a solution to this problem, you will need to take into consideration the changes you may need to make moving forward. Ask yourself:
What changes would need to be made?
How do I need to change myself to solve this problem?
How does this situation need to change?
How does everyone involved need to adapt?
Some sort of change always needs to take place. Identifying these changes in advance will help you to clarify exactly what needs to happen in order to work through this problem successfully.
Finally, working through a problem is always easier with other people’s support. As such, it’s critical that you take into account how you could potentially use other people to help you leverage your time and work through the problem successfully. Ask yourself:
Who could support me with resolving this problem?
How exactly could these people support me?
How can we best work together to resolve this problem?
Step 5: Take Initiative to Instigate Change
The final step of the process involves taking the initiative to instigate the changes you would like to make to resolve this problem.
Whether in the end you successfully resolve the problem or not, doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you took matters into your own hands by taking ownership of the situation and by taking responsibility for your predicament.
Throughout this process you were the one in charge; you were the one that held the power. Yes, things might not always work out in the end, but the fact that you took responsibility for your circumstances and committed yourself to implementing positive change, says a lot about your character.
No longer are you “that guy” or “that girl” who shuns responsibility and persistently blames, makes excuses and complains about their predicament. Instead you are empowered to take matters into your own hands, and as a result, your life is no longer at the mercy of other people or circumstances. You are in control, and a person in control always goes places; always proactively responds to circumstances in optimal ways. And that is the key to any kind of success you envision for yourself; for your life.
It’s, therefore, time to quit making excuses, to quit blaming and to let go of all your complaining. Your life is way too important to be indulging in self-pity. Isn’t it time to start living your life with more intention and purpose?
Time to Assimilate these Concepts
Did you gain value from this article? Is it important that you know and understand this topic? Would you like to optimize how you think about this topic? Would you like a method for applying these ideas to your life?
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Gain More Knowledge…
Here are some additional links and resources that will help you learn more about this topic:
- 5 Ways to Take on More Responsibility at Work @ Forbes
- 7 Timeless Thoughts on Taking Responsibility for Your Life @ The Positivity Blog
- Accept Responsibility and Take Control of Your Life @ Elite Daily
- Accepting Responsibility @ Psychology Today
- Dr. Phil on Taking Responsibility for Your Life @ Dr. Phil
- Helping People Take Responsibility: Encouraging Accountability @ Mind Tools
- How to be Responsible @ Wiki How
- Rather than Fight or Flee, Take Responsibility @ NY Times
- Take Ownership of Your Actions by Taking Responsibility @ Harvard Business Review
- Take Responsibility for Your Life @ About
- Taking 100% Responsibility for Your Life @ Jack Canfield
- Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Happiness @ Psychology Today
- Taking Responsibility for My Actions @ The Huffington Post
- You Want to be Great? Then Take Responsibility @ Inc.