• Patrick McAndrew

Take Responsibility For Your Life

I mess up. A LOT. Almost every day there is something I do or say that is pretty stupid. Thankfully, most of the time it is harmless, though this isn’t always the case. It’s when I say or do something that is ESPECIALLY stupid that it’s more difficult to own up to. Somehow, I muster up the courage and energy to own up to my mistakes. I’m trying to make this a habit for when, inevitably, I say something stupid again.

This wasn’t always the case. I would never want to own up to something I did wrong, mostly because I wanted to avoid any sort of conflict or blame. While I still have hints of these moments occur, I am getting better at it.

There are some people who do this miraculously well. When they mess up, they own it, apologize, and look for solutions to improve the situation. But most of us are not like this. We have an incredibly difficult time admitting when we’re wrong. This can lead to disastrous consequences. It leads to finger pointing, blaming, and justifying which all come from an ugly place within ourselves.

We hate admitting that we made a mistake. We think we are saving face when we try to cover it up, but most of the time our mistake is so apparent to everyone else that our trying to save face is having the opposite effect. When we apologize for our ignorance, acknowledge our mistake, and try to work towards a solution, chances are that this will earn a much greater deal of respect than always blaming someone else for something you know you did.

There is a myriad of amazing quotes from some great people around this topic:

“The moment you take responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you can change anything in your life.” – Hal Elrod

“Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you to where you want to go, no one else.” – Les Brown

“More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying them.”

-Harold J. Smith

We are so eager to take the credit when things are going right, and so quick to blame when things are going wrong. When things aren’t going the way we want them to, we tend to blame external circumstances. We blame the economy, the weather, our co-workers, our family. Many of us don’t really consider that the problem may be within ourselves. We don’t take the time to search within us and think, “Maybe I am the root cause of these issues?”

Blaming others and justifying our questionable behavior hurts us in another way as well; it puts us out of control of our own lives. If we blame external forces on the circumstances of our lives, how can we possibly improve? How is there a way out? It blocks our vision and, hence, we cannot see a way out of our current situation. We remain a victim. Whereas, if we look inward and think, “How can I learn or improve myself so that this doesn’t happen again?” it places us back in control.

This is much easier said than done. And, of course, horrible occurrences happen that are very much out of our control. But we have power. We have the power and control over how we react and, in turn act, moving forward. Dr. Stuart Brown, author of the book Play, has a great quote that I try to live by: “As with many things in life, often the problem is not the problem, the problem is how you react to the problem.”

The external world sure has its fair share of problems. But if we can overcome our tendencies to point our fingers and blame others, we can better equip ourselves to handle and conquer these problems. If we recognize and acknowledge what we are doing wrong, we will be better able to help and assist those who need help. The importance of taking responsibility for our lives cannot go understated. If each of us, individually, takes responsibility for our choices, our decisions, and our actions, we can then work as a collective to get our country and our world to a much better place.

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