My list of faults is huge: I rush through most things in life, I’m really hard on myself (which can be extremely annoying to be around), I’m so impatient that it’s just disgusting, my face – nose in particular – is pretty jacked up, I never know when enough is enough, my arse is too wide…I could go on and on. I am, however, the very first person to admit my mistakes and shortcomings and acknowledge when I’ve done something wrong – I am a real believer in personal responsibility. I’m really struggling with the fact that not everyone operates the same way – and it’s really frustrating me.
I find it so annoying in the workplace when people refuse to take responsibility for their actions. If I screw up, I admit it and apologize – and then I ask forgiveness and immediately fix the problem. I always observe that order – acknowledge the problem, accept responsibility, and repair the situation. It’s remarkably simple. You’d be surprised how few people operate this way, though. A few weeks ago, someone in my workplace made a catastrophic error which impacted over 150 students, and caused me a TON of work and headaches. I understand that errors happen, and I had no anger over that, just annoyance. However, the part that really upset me happened next: the perpetrator didn’t come and help fix the situation, despite repeated requests to do so. Nor did she dispatch any of her staff to come over and help. Nothing. She sat on her tuffet and did sweet bugger all. It was bloody shameful. This happened four weeks ago – and I’m STILL mad….and I never hold a grudge. The reason that I think this all went down this way was due to an inadequacy on the part of her supervisor – she wasn’t reprimanded, there were no consequences….nothing. I just don’t get it – and, even worse, I don’t understand why I’m still so hung up on this.
I came across this article on “Taking Responsibility For Your Actions” – give it a look:
When we make excuses or try to blame other people or external factors for the eventual outcome of something, not only are we failing to take responsibility, but we are demonstrating a character trait which is very common in people who fail to succeed in anything.
In shouldering responsibility ourselves, we are giving ourselves the power to shape the outcome ourselves and are therefore taking an active and not a passive role in how the outcome turns out.
It’s only when you accept that everything you are or ever will be is up to you, that you are able to get rid of the negativity of excuse making that can so often prevent you from succeeding. You may find yourself in your current position in both your personal and professional life and remain convinced that if all’s not going well, then it’s ‘so and so’s fault’. However, we all have free will which means that we are completely responsible for all of our successes and failures and of our happiness or state of unhappiness.
When we realise this it can, at first, seem like a huge responsibility which we are placing on our shoulders but when you rationalise it and accept that you are responsible for every action you take and every decision you make, that there is virtually nothing that you can’t achieve, have or accomplish if you accept that it’s within yourself and yourself only, to reach your ultimate goal.
Get Out Clauses Don’t Work
One of our biggest problems is that we don’t like to fail and, more importantly, we don’t like to be seen to fail. The problem with that train of thought, however, is that we then tend to set ourselves a goal but at the same time we create an excuse to keep as a ‘spare card’ we can use so that if we don’t succeed, we can blame something or somebody else. However, the more personal responsibility we take, the more in control we are and the more control we have, the more likely we will reach our goal as there will be no excuses to fall back on if we fail.
Therefore, taking responsibility for our actions equals success. It also makes us feel good about ourselves and rids us of negative personality traits such as anger, fear, resentment, hostility and doubt.
Replacing the Negative
If you’ve ever been around somebody who always appears to be ‘down on their luck’, you’ll have noticed that their whole personality seems to be riddled with negative comments and that they have nothing positive to say. It’s quite true that you can’t really hold both a positive and negative feeling at the same time, so by replacing the negative with a positive, it stops you from feeling unhappy as you have come to accept that you are now going to be solely responsible for how you feel, not other people or other external factors.
Once you accept total responsibility for everything that happens to you in life, you will soon discover that this also enables you to find solutions to life’s difficulties far more quickly.
For example, take work colleagues or someone you are in a personal relationship with. Say you’re having problems with them and it is causing you stress. A negative person who likes to apportion blame might say, “Since I met so and so, it’s been nothing but trouble” whereas somebody who accepts total responsibility might say, “Hang on a moment; I am responsible for having this person or these people in my life. I took that job or I embarked upon this relationship – no-one forced me to.” Therefore, if they’re not happy with the situation and have taken responsibility for it, they are also able to find the solution – in this case, by leaving the job or getting out of an unhealthy relationship.
Similarly, what about those who are feeling bitter because people earn more than they do. Well, whose fault is that? If you accept total responsibility, then you’ll look to do something about it if it’s important to you. Find out how you can earn more money. Speak to others and find out what it is they are doing differently to you then start applying all that knowledge to make the changes you need to make to create the kind of life you want.
In accepting responsibility, you are accepting a willingness to develop your character and in doing that, the stronger your character will become and your life will be improved as a consequence.
Most of us will have come across descriptions of successful people where words such as ‘persistence’, ‘perseverance’, ‘tenacity’ and ‘stickability’ have been used to describe them.
It is a fact that when we adopt these kinds of traits and incorporate them into our daily lives, we are much better equipped to face challenges and to overcome adversity.
We’ll all have plenty of experience from when we were children at being encouraged to persevere with things. The first time we got on a bike or our early attempts at learning to swim are both prime examples where we’d still be unable to do both these things if we had not demonstrated ‘stickability’.
However, as we become adults, we’re often faced with other kinds of challenges and, whilst many of us have kept up with a philosophy of perseverance, others have taken the decision to quit at the first sign of difficulty. It might be a job we’ve quit soon after starting without really giving it a chance or a home DIY project that showed signs of being too daunting. Whatever the reason, sometimes as adults we’re so aware of the desperate need not to be seen to stumble that we often quit at the first sign of a hurdle looming. However, it’s ultimately the people who keep on trying when things get rocky that reap the greatest reward in the end.
Tips to Perseverance
Many of us become trapped in a state of inertia, often because we are too afraid to try anything new in case people question us or decide to mock our ideas or plans. As adults, people tend to ‘pigeon hole’ others. They think they know who they are and by categorising them, they make an evaluation or judgement which, by and large, formulates their opinions of them. Often, the way this is done is through our jobs or our choice of partners. Therefore, when someone decides to make a radical step towards changing their career to go and do something entirely different or they choose to start a new relationship, this can often be met by critical comments about your new goals and aspirations.
This is known as ‘dream stealing’ and even so-called ‘friends’ can sometimes be guilty of this. Perhaps, they think you’re going to leave them behind?
The way to tackle this is to be absolutely clear that you are not going to be sidetracked from achieving your new goals. Harness the support of individuals who are backing you to succeed. You might not necessarily have to sacrifice old friends but it’s important that you don’t let any negative comments force you to deviate from your aims.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle, if you haven’t done so already. Good nutrition and regular exercise will increase your energy and stamina which are both required for perseverance. When you feel healthy and energised, this will have knock on effects and will also nurture feelings of optimism, resilience, self-confidence, focus and clarity of mind.
Ask an Expert
When considering what your ultimate goals are, look at those who have achieved something similar in the past and try to seek advice from them. Those who have been there before you will be best placed to help and, no doubt, they’ll have made some mistakes along the way which they’ll be able to tell you about which, if you avoid making the same ones, will speed up the time it takes to reach your goals.
Finish What You Start
Don’t make excuses and put your goals onto ‘stall mode’. If you encounter difficulties, identify them and work out a solution, in other words, persevere!
So many projects and goals get left unfinished or unattained because people stop the moment they’re faced with a challenge. Programs get put on ‘indefinite hold’ and the longer that goes on, the more difficult it is to pick up the baton again and…. remember those ‘doom mongers’? They’ll be there ready and waiting and only too willing to say, ‘I told you so’. So, what better reason than to plough on and just treat any obstacles as hurdles simply waiting to be overcome.
Concentrate on what you CAN do as opposed to what you CAN’T. Keep moving forward, but remember it’s not a sprint. Move forward at your own pace and don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t bear any grudges or resentment towards those who seem to be questioning your judgement or abilities in your new quest. Simply forgive them and carry on. Harbouring a grudge will only fill you with negative energy which will not serve any useful purpose and will only sap you of energy and strength.
Fundamentally, adopt a ‘don’t quit’ attitude. Nothing truly worthwhile was ever obtained without some kind of hardship or a bit of a struggle or sacrifice so focus on the road ahead and stick to it, no matter what obstacles emerge along the way.
Good stuff, eh? I know – and it applies to your personal as well as your professional life. I haven’t always been as good at taking responsibility for the things I do personally, but I have been really working on this. There have been times when I have treated people poorly – never intentionally, but because I had my own agenda and they weren’t really part of it. I have not always been as kind as I should have been…and I deeply regret that. I have endeavored to be nicer to people (and not such an asshole) – and, hopefully, if you know me in person, you will know that I’m getting better at this. (I am, right?) However, it’s so hard to admit when you’re wrong, to admit that you’ve been inappropriate/selfish/out of order/a hosebag…but didn’t somebody really wise once say that the truth will set you free?
Bring on the freedom.