There is no single secret to success but if properly understood, taking personal responsibility is about as close as you will get. Personal responsibility isn’t popular in some circles today. Taking personal responsibility for your life doesn’t mean blaming yourself for everything that happens to you. That will have the absolute opposite effect. It means taking responsibility for how you respond to the events that do happen. It also means accepting responsibility for things you can control. When I was in my late twenties I listened to a lot self-development and motivational programs. Trying to adopt this into my own life didn’t help much, because at that time I didn’t fully understand what it meant. If you are the kind of person that believes something or someone out there is responsible for your outcomes, you have a problem. The problem is that you can’t control how other people behave, or things like natural disasters. When you take personal responsibility for where you are in life, it puts you in the drivers seat. Sometimes you can take action and make your problem better. Other times it is just learning to accept what you can’t control and preparing yourself, in the event something like it happens again.
I believe the main lesson in taking responsibility is that if you are responsible, then you can change something, even if it is how you respond to something you can’t control. Another great exercise is personal responsibility is making a list of things you can and can’t control. You can control what time you get up, but you can’t control the weather. This tells you the approach to take with personal responsibility for an event. Is it something you can control, or something you can’t?
Another common misconception about taking personal responsibility is that it equates to doing everything yourself. Trying to do everything yourself is a sure recipe for failure. In this context taking personal responsibility means employing the help of others and taking responsibility for doing the best you can to look out for them as long as they are in your employ.
I was reminded of personal responsibility tonight, when I caught myself complaining about something in my own life. The fact that I was complaining, was a sure sign that I wasn’t taking 100% personal responsibility for my life.