Personal responsibility means being accountable for your actions.
Maybe you feel at a disadvantage because of something that happened to you as a child, maybe you were neglected, abused, or bullied. Maybe you were born into the wrong family, betrayed, abandoned, or sick. These things will undoubtedly influence who you are and alter the lens through which you see life, but blaming, justifying, and complaining won’t fix anything.
You could take two people, both raised in the same environment and affected by the same set of external circumstances; one will go on to succeed and create a happy life for himself, the other will fail and cry victim. So, what’s the difference? What makes one person capable of positive change and another not? Personal responsibility.
It’s not external influence, but rather taking personal responsibility that gives people a significant advantage. Personal responsibility means that you have the ability to choose how you respond in any given situation. Regardless of what was said or done to you, no matter what setbacks you might be facing, you always have a choice.
The person above, who succeeded when the odds were stacked against him, has learned to take responsibility for his actions and reactions, even to the circumstances outside his control. And as a result, far surpassed the one who sat and complained. Everyone is affected by pain, loss and the common pitfalls and negative stimuli of life. No one gets a free pass. But you are not helpless, and you don’t have to spend your life scrambling to overcome each new thing life throws at you.
Highly successful people realize this and take responsibility for their actions and reactions instead of blaming others or complaining about their circumstances. The happiest people in life know that through free will, they can choose to take actions that will create the kind of results they want. Change and challenges are seen as opportunities for growth instead of reasons to quit.
What are some ways to take personal responsibility?
- Control your thoughts, words, and actions.
No one can make you think, say, or do anything. While they might provoke or trigger you, at the end of the day, you and you alone are responsible for you. Just because someone said it doesn’t mean you have to react to it, and just because it might be true doesn’t mean you should give it your energy or attention.
- Never complain.
When you complain you shift the blame to something outside of your control which leaves you feeling helpless and stuck. Complaining also highlights the negative side of things, usually lack and disappointment. Instead, focus on gratitude and the opportunity to grow and learn through the hard things.
- Be your own hero.
Stop waiting for someone to save you. Taking personal responsibility gives you the power to act and create change to improve your situation. There will always be people who help you along the way, but remember, it’s okay to show up for yourself and own the failures and success that come as a result of your efforts.
Don’t give up. There are a lot of things we don’t get to choose in this life and even more will happen to us along the way. But the one thing that you always have full control over is your reaction to those things. This is personal responsibility.