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Taking Responsibility

Everything you are or ever will be is completely up to you. Everything that has happened and is happening in your life is because of your behavior, words, and actions. You have the freedom of choice. Virtually every circumstance in your life so far, you have chosen out of your own free will. This means, that you are completely responsible for all your successes and failures. Your happiness and unhappiness. And everything in your present and future.

This realization is like a parachute jump: It's scary and exhilarating at the same time. Taking total responsibility for your life is one of the most important things you can ever do. Accepting complete responsibility for all your actions represents maturity in your life. When you accept complete responsibility for everything in your life, success, achievement, and self-actualization will follow. You can never accomplish anything of value in your life or have any real measure of happiness without first accepting complete responsibility for all your words, actions, and decisions.

Accepting that you are completely responsible for yourself and realizing that no one is coming to the rescue will mark the starting point of peak performance in your life. Once you accept total responsibility for every decision you make and every action you take, there is virtually nothing that you cannot do, have, and accomplish.

The acceptance of responsibility is so important, that it comes before goal setting. Until you accept total responsibility, you will not seriously set goals and make plans for their achievement. Without accepting complete responsibility, you are unconsciously leaving yourself a way out. This failure to be totally responsible is the equivalent of creating a mental escape hatch that enables you to avoid being accountable for success or failure.

Unfortunately, most people simply make excuses for their failures. They blame other people and things for what's happening in their life. Since everything we do in life is a matter of habit, when we get in the habit of making excuses for things that happen in our lives, we then get in the habit of evading responsibility at the same time. People who are not successful will often set a goal, and then at the same time create, and hold an excuse that they can use if they find out that their goal is too difficult or requires more self-discipline and persistence than they originally thought.

Underachievers will tend to blame other people or events for things in their lives that they don't like. The waiting rooms of psychologists and psychotherapists are full of people who are still blaming their parents or anyone else who has been part of their past or present life for all their shortcomings. They're still saying that someone or something is responsible for their failure to achieve happiness. They're still looking outside themselves to explain the parts of their lives they don't like. They've unwittingly gotten into the habit of making excuses and blaming for so long that they don't know how to do anything else.

There is a direct relationship between the amount of responsibility that you accept and the amount of control that you feel. The more responsibility you take, the more in control you are. There is also a relationship between the amount of responsibility you accept and the amount of freedom you feel. The more responsibility you take, the more freedom you have to make decisions, and to do the things you want to do. And if you put all of this together, you'll find that accepting responsibility is directly tied to, control, freedom, and happiness. The happiest people in the world are those who feel good about themselves. Feeling good about yourself is the natural outgrowth of accepting total responsibility for every part of your life.

A person who is unwilling to completely accept responsibility for his or her life is subject to anger, hostility, fear, resentment, and doubt. Psychological studies have shown that negative emotions are closely associated with blame. On average, 99 percent of all our problems exist only because we we're able to blame someone or something for them. The instant we stop blaming, our negative emotions begin disappearing.

How do you break the habit of blaming? Use the Law of Substitution which says, your mind can only hold one thought at a time, positive or negative. You can substitute a positive thought for a negative thought whenever you choose. This means, you can override the tendency to blame and become angry simply by saying, firmly, "I am responsible!" You can't accept responsibility for a situation and be angry at the same time. You can't accept responsibility and be unhappy or upset. The acceptance of responsibility negates negative emotions and short-circuits the tendencies toward unhappiness.

The very act of accepting responsibility calms your mind and clarifies your vision. It soothes your emotions and enables you to think more positively and constructively. Accepting responsibility gives you insight into what you should do to resolve the situation you are in.

Very often, the problems people have are with other people. Problems in their close personal relationships, with their spouses, their children, their friends, and their coworkers. Think of the people in your life who cause you any stress or anxiety and ask yourself who is responsible. Are they responsible for being in your life, or are you responsible for having them in your life?

The Law of Attraction says that "you are a living magnet" and that you inevitably attract the people and circumstances into your life that harmonize with your dominant thoughts, especially those thoughts that you give strong emotion to. The people in your life are there because you've attracted them by the person you are, the thoughts you hold, and by the emotions you experience. If you're not happy with the relationships you're in, you're responsible. You've attracted them, and you're keeping them there.

If you've had a bad relationship, who got you there? If you weren't forced into the relationship and kept there against your will, then it's a matter of free will and free choice on your part. If you're not happy, it's up to you do something about it. If you're not happy with the situation, do something about it. If you're not willing to do something about it, then don't complain.

Are you happy with your job? If you're a business owner, are you happy with your business? Are you happy with the amount of money you're earning? Are you happy with the level of responsibility and your activities each day? If you're not, you need to accept that you're completely responsible for every aspect of your job and your career. Why? Because you chose it freely. You took the job or started the business. You assumed the responsibility and accepted the amount of compensation for your job. If you're not happy with any of the these situations in your life, for any reason, then it's up to you to do something different.

You're earning today exactly what you're worth, not a penny more and not a penny less. In life, we tend to get exactly what we deserve. If you're not satisfied with what you're getting, look around you at the people who are doing the kind of work you would like to do and earning the kind of money you would like to earn. Find out what they are doing differently from you. Once you find out what they are doing differently, accept complete responsibility for your situation and start applying the power of you mind and all your abilities. And then back them with willpower and self-discipline. Then get busy making the changes you need to make to create and enjoy the life you want.

One of your highest goals in life should be to develop your character. Character is composed of self-esteem, self-discipline, and the ability to delay gratification. Most importantly character is the willingness to accept full responsibility for your life and everything in it. The more you say to yourself, "I am responsible," in every situation, the stronger your character will become. And every part of your life will improve at the same time.

Copyright© 2005 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. A former ad agency executive and marketing consultant, Joe's work in personal development focuses on helping his clients identify hidden marketable assets that create windfall opportunities and profits, as well as sound personal happiness and peace.

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