There is one key factor that can do more to guarantee your success in life than anything else. Conversely, the absence of that factor will be a sure guarantee of a life of failure and almost continual disappointment. That key factor is responsibility.
It sounds like something your mother told you when she was giving you a smack! Well, she may not have been that far off the mark….
However, responsibility in its widest sense is extremely positive. It means that YOU, and nobody else, has control of your life. If you have control, then you can change things. You have the power. It is not in somebody else’s hands – your wife, the government, your parents, your boss, your accountant, the stars…
Responsibility is not a popular doctrine. Instead, the world is full of people who give away their power to others by refusing to accept responsibility in their lives. They make excuses and find someone else to blame for their misfortunes or failed dreams.
They can give you an endless stream of reasons for why they failed to complete what they first began or, worse still, never began in the first place. Indeed, our society seems to be set up to cater for this sort of attitude. People can grow up and live an entire adult life without once learning this vital lesson so imperative to their happiness.
The sad thing about this attitude is that whilst it seems to serve us well, it really does not. You may certainly get a sympathetic ear for a while. People may even agree that you’re quite right. However, in refusing to own your part in events, you give away your power. To whom? Everyone and everything outside of you. If YOU are not responsible for the various events in your life, then who is? Answer: other people, enemies, random forces of nature, the stars, fate or anything else you care to name.
If this is true, then there is logically nothing you can do to improve your situation. You are only going to get slapped down every time you try to achieve anything worthwhile. So why bother? Sadly, that is usually how people who take no responsibility for their own lives end up thinking.
The result for people who think this way is that they soon end up with “learned helplessness” and are rendered incapable of striving for any worthwhile goal. They lose the capacity to believe in themselves. Thus, they lose the vital capacity of persistence towards a worthy goal. The first stiff breeze easily blows them against the rocks. And then they point to their latest disappointment and say, “You see? I told you!”
It’s a vicious circle. However the circle is easily broken. The solution is to take responsibility for everything that takes place in your life. Even if you cannot see how you possibly could be responsible, it is still a far more powerful approach to own responsibility than to deny it. Also, from a wider spirit-centered view of our universe, there are many more levels to existence than merely the physical. Hence there are more ways in which we may actually BE responsible for events without our own limited consciousness knowing about it.
You may be very willing to own responsibility when things turn out as you planned. However, most people look beyond themselves for someone else to share the credit when things go wrong! The attitude of people who master life is to be responsible for ALL that happens. In doing so, they awaken to the fact that they are creators of their destiny; not merely leaves being tossed in the wind.
Here’s an example from my own experience. I once employed a solicitor to do some legal work for me. In fact, I had wanted to use someone else who specialized in this area. However, when I told my current solicitor, he insisted he could do the job just as well and beat the quoted price drastically. So he got the job. Result? It was a disaster. He was every bit as lacking in expertise as I had originally suspected. In total, it cost me two months in wasted time and also a fair amount of money.
Whose responsibility was this? Many would blame the solicitor. After all, he was incompetent. No doubt about it.
However, the responsibility is actually mine. The choice was 100% mine. I could have used someone else from the start. Or, as things began to go wrong, I could have terminated the relationship earlier. I did not properly inform myself to start with, or I second-guessed my initial instinct. By taking responsibility for this, by seeing the sequence of MY choices that led to this situation, I assert my own power to cause results and make the correct decision the next time. By refusing to do so, I give the power away to the person I hired. So it could happen again. It is obvious which is the better strategy for life!
Whenever something happens in your life, for good or ill, tell yourself, “I am responsible.” Then ask yourself, “How am I going to handle this?” However bad a situation may be, if you repeat to yourself as an affirmation, “I am responsible”, then you begin to look to yourself for the way out instead of to external forces. In truth, you are looking in the right direction. You are the true manifestor of your own destiny.
This is the way to take control of your life instead of leaving it in the hands of blind forces. It may sound hard or callous at times. However, it is not. You are not saying, “It’s all my fault.” Rather, you are saying, “I have the power to affect my life – for good or ill – and I choose to consciously exercise that power and take responsibility for whatever consequences I attract.” How much better than blaming the stars, or your boss!
Once you take responsibility for everything that happens, you build a firm foundation upon which to build your long-term success. Leave the excuses for someone else. Set your face firmly in the direction of excellence. Take responsibility Friend!
Copyright Asoka Selvarajah 2014. All Rights Reserved.
Note: This article is one among many on spiritual and personal development that you can find in my book, Aspire To Wisdom.