How to Take Responsibility for Your Life

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

When you take responsibility for your life, you achieve your dreams

You are totally responsible for your life. This is the foundational principle you must embrace if you plan for happiness and success in life and work. For many people, everything is someone else’s fault. Every problem can be explained away with reasons why they can’t affect the situation or the outcome, especially at work.

But without taking responsibility, you’re all the more likely to look at your career as a failure because you allowed any passing wind to blow you around, all the while blaming the wind for how things turned out. When you fail to responsibly guide your direction and outcomes, you set the stage for creating a miserable life—a life that fulfills none of your dreams and aspirations.

Make no excuses

Excuses for failure, excuses about your choices in life, excuses about what you feel you have accomplished—and what you have not–fuel dysfunctional thinking and consequently, undesirable actions and behaviors.

Making excuses instead of taking one hundred percent responsibility for your actions, your thoughts, and your goals are the hallmark of people who fail to succeed both in their professional lives and personal lives.

Part of the power of taking responsibility for your actions is that you silence the negative, unhelpful voice in your head. When you spend your thinking time on success and goal accomplishment, instead of on making excuses, you free up the emotional space formerly inhabited by negativity.

This is especially true as that negative voice in your head will run endless tapes of dissatisfaction and rehearse negative, unsatisfying outcomes over and over and over again—ad nauseum.

The next time you catch yourself making an excuse, whether for the late project, the unmet goal, or the job you have chosen to work, gently remind yourself—no excuses.

Interrupt that incessant tape that is playing in your mind and stop rehearsing that excuse-filled conversation. Spend your thought time planning your next successful venture. Positive thinking becomes a helpful habit. Excuses fuel failure.

How to take responsibility for your life

People who take complete responsibility for their lives experience joy and control of circumstances. They are able to make choices because they understand that they are responsible for their choices.

Indeed, even when events that are not under your control go awry, you can at the very least determine how you will react to the event. You can make an event a disaster or you can use it as an opportunity to learn and to grow.

The most important aspect of taking responsibility for your life is to acknowledge that your life is your responsibility. No one can live your life for you. You are in charge. No matter how hard you try to blame others for the events of your life, each event is the result of choices you made and are making.

Want to travel? Then, travel. It is not your job, your spouse or partner, the cost, or the time that holds you back from achieving your dreams. It is you. Want to weigh a certain number of pounds? Then, eat and exercise like the person who would weigh that particular weight.

Want a promotion to a management position? Then, act like, look like, and practice the actions that successful managers exhibit in your organization in that role, Make your desire known, too, as you will never realize your goal if you keep it a secret. Passed over several times? Ask what you need to do to earn a promotion. Still passed over? Look for a new job to continue to pursue your dream.

Above all else, listen to that little voice in your head. And, observe yourself talking with coworkers, family members, and friends. Do you hear yourself taking responsibility or placing blame?

  • Eliminate blame, eliminate excuses. If the blame track or the excuse track plays repeatedly in your mind, you are shifting responsibility for your decisions and life to others.
  • Listen to yourself when you speak. In your conversation, do you hear yourself blame others for things that don’t go exactly as you want? Do you find yourself pointing fingers at your coworkers or your upbringing, your parent’s influence, the amount of money that you make, or your spouse? Are you making excuses for goals unmet or tasks that missed their deadlines? If you can hear your blaming patterns, you can stop them.
  • If an individual you respect supplies feedback that you make excuses and blame others for your woes, take the feedback seriously. Control your defensive reaction and explore examples and deepen your understanding of the coworker or friend. People who responsibly consider feedback attract much more feedback.

You matter

Live every day as if what you do matters—because it does. Every choice you make; every action you take—matters. Your choices matter to you and create the life you live. Your choices matter at work, too. You choose the path of productivity and contribution or, you choose the path of a marginal employee.

Every action you take affects organizational progress in one way or in another. You always make a difference. Let that difference move the world forward. You matter. And, your thoughts matter, too.

Thoughts matter

“We become what we think about most.” Earl Nightingale’s apt summation of the power of your thoughts is one of the most significant statements ever made. Think about it. Your thoughts are always with you.

And, they tend to play themselves over and over again in your head. They either support you to think about and take positive action or the opposite. Your thoughts either criticize or they support the accomplishment of your goals.

Listen to the voice in your mind. You know the drill. Negative thoughts are overwhelming and they can take control of your mind for days. But, how to get even, how to replay or recast a situation that has already occurred, or how to make excuses or blame others is not powerful, positive thinking.

When your thoughts are negative or unsupportive of your happiness and success, you have to change your thinking. Gently—don’t beat yourself up—redirect your thinking to thoughts that will support your success and happiness. Laugh, if you can, when you think about the time you spent obsessing over matters that are over and completed.

Your thoughts govern the success of your interpersonal interactions. Your thoughts are the headlights illuminating your path in the darkness. They always precede you and your actions. Said Nightingale, “The mind moves in the direction of our currently dominant thoughts.” Believe him.
Today’s article was written by Susan M. Heathfield and is shared from the following website: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-take-responsibility-for-your-life-1919214

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The Secret of Self-Respect: We Teach Other People How to Treat Us

The willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life is the source from which self-respect springs Joan DidionWell-known TV icon Dr. Phil is revered by many, and repelled by others. Personally, I find that his down-home country “charm” is often marred by a disturbing arrogance that he, at times, spews onto his guests. Although I agree that sometimes only speaking our truth will do, I also believe that doing this compassionately will go a lot farther with most people than a display of abusive entitlement—especially for the sake of TV ratings.

However, that being said, sometimes Dr. Phil comes up with wonderful sayings and slogans, such as his classic “How’s THAT been workin’ for ya?” It’s a great question, designed to keep us on track in our lives—because if the way we’ve been doing something isn’t working, it could very well be time to try another way.

The other Dr. Phil-ism I like and use a lot—in both my personal and professional lives—is this one: We teach other people how to treat us. I absolutely believe this to be true, although there can be a variety of reasons for the ways we choose to do that. I like this saying because, when we can take responsibility for our part in any abuse we’re receiving from others, it takes us out of a ‘victim’ stance and allows us to see what we actually are able to change—ourselves.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SELF-ESTEEM AND SELF-RESPECT

I talk about self-respect a lot with my clients. When they ask me what the difference is between self-respect and self-esteem, I am sometimes at a loss as to how to explain that. But I definitely know there is an important difference, and in my experience I believe most people intuitively know that as well.

The best way I know to distinguish between them is as follows:

Self-esteem is that feeling of knowing we can conduct ourselves well out there in the world. For example, we may know that we are good at our job, or that our families are thriving due to our leadership. We may have a good grasp on how to budget our time and/or money, and our relationships with friends and family may be mostly positive and nurturing. Outwardly, we are successful in at least some of the ways our society defines success, and that contributes to our self-esteem.

But I believe that it’s very possible to experience self-esteem while having very little self-respect. To me, self-respect is that deeper, inner feeling we have about ourselves. In the same way that self-esteem is earned, by proving to ourselves that we can achieve positive results in our various life tasks, self-respect is also earned—it’s an ‘inside job’ that nobody can do for us. Self-respect is not something we can buy in the 7-11, nor can another person bestow it upon us. In fact, when other people respect us but we don’t respect ourselves, it’s very difficult to let that positive attention in. It’s not until we truly love and respect ourselves, that we can begin to believe that we are worthy of another person’s love and respect.

The only way to have self-respect is to earn it—by continuing to do the next right thing. Self-respect is perhaps the most important thing we either have or don’t have, because it forms the keystone of how we treat ourselves and how we allow others to treat us. I believe that every decision we make in life—without exception—stems from our level of self-respect, and nothing is more important than that.

HOW TO DEVELOP SELF-RESPECT

The good news is that it’s really not that difficult to develop our self-respect. I believe that when we’re not treating ourselves well, on some level deep inside we know that. Because we can’t heal anything about ourselves that we’re not aware of, we need to be on the look-out for those times when we don’t feel good about ourselves.

Here is an easy gauge to see how well you’re faring in terms of your self-respect. Ask yourself this question, and be willing to look honestly at your answers:

“What do I need to do, and what do I need to NOT do, to be able to really look honestly at myself and be okay with who I see?”

Each time you ask yourself that question, listen for your true answer and actually base your behavior on what you have heard. If you do this regularly, you will build up your self-respect—as well as your self-trust—because this will become the foundation for all of your interactions, whether you are aware of that at the time or not.

This may be a difficult change for you to make, especially if you are used to pleasing others instead of yourself. Your personal challenge may lie in learning how to put yourself first without feeling guilty or “selfish.” But if you continue to put others first while feeling resentful or badly about yourself for doing that, your self-respect will inevitably suffer.

So here is the choice-point—what is more important to you: having other people like you or liking yourself?

When you find yourself involved in situations where you experience some negative feelings about yourself such as guilt, shame, or self-inflicted anger, here are some questions you might ask yourself in order to become more aware of your self-respect level:

  • What behavior of my own may have contributed to my feeling this way about myself?
  • What can I do differently next time, so that I can respect myself more in a similar situation?
  • Is there anyone I need to talk with so that I can resolve or feel better about what happened?
  • Can I be more gentle with myself and understand that I’m going to make mistakes—and hopefully learn from them?

WE TEACH OTHER PEOPLE HOW TO TREAT US

When we fully understand that we teach other people how to treat us—either by how we treat them or how they see us treating ourselves—we can learn to change our own behaviors and obtain different, healthier results.

Because the only things we can change already reside within us—such as our choices, our decisions, our attitudes toward ourselves and life in general—we can come out of our feelings of ‘victim’ by acknowledging that we do actually have control over many aspects of our lives.

So the next time you say yes to someone when you really want to say no, be aware that you may be teaching that person that it’s ok to take you for granted and treat you poorly. The next time you are spoken to in a disrespectful manner and you choose to accept that by staying silent rather than standing up for yourself and speaking your truth, see if you can remind yourself that you can indeed make another choice and teach that person to treat you differently.

Remember—you alone are in control of yourself and of your life choices. And to paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt’s wonderful comment, no one can make you feel badly about yourself without your permission.

Today’s article was written by Candace Plattor on November 13, 2013 and has been shared from the following website: https://candaceplattor.com/blog/the-secret-of-self-respect-we-teach-other-people-how-to-treat-us/

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Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Happiness

If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month Theodore RooseveltPersonal Responsibility is Crucial for Happiness-Maximization

As those who have embarked on the quest for happiness know quite well, a crucial milestone on the path involves taking personal responsibility. Taking personal responsibility means not blaming others for your unhappiness. It means figuring out ways in which you can be happy despite others’ (negative) behaviors and despite the external circumstances. A person who has taken personal responsibility recognizes an all-important truth about happiness: your happiness depends much more on your attitude than it does on objective, external circumstances.

Does this mean that one can be happy no matter what the external circumstances? Can one be happy despite intense physical or psychological pain?

This is the question many of my students ask when I talk of taking personal responsibility for happiness.

Theoretically, it is possible to be happy no matter what the external circumstance. How? Because one’s emotional state is a function of how one interprets events, rather than what actually happened, as reflected in Milton’s famous saying, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” Findings from cognitive theories of affect support Milton’s saying. Generally speaking, our happiness–in fact, any emotional state, including a negative one–is generated by interpretations of events, as I elaborated in another post. When we interpret our negative boss as an obstacle, for example, we feel angry and frustrated; if, in contrast, we view our boss as “exactly what we need in order to become a better person,” we experience a sense of calmness, perhaps even gratitude.

Of course, most of us do not believe that we can be happy no matter what the external circumstance. When confronted with the idea that happiness is ultimately in the mind, many of us immediately entertain extreme examples that falsify the theory: could we be happy even if we break a bone or lose our job?

To me, those are the wrong questions to ask. The right question to ask is whether we can be happy given the types of negative events that routinely occur in our lives. In other words, rather than ask yourself if you can be happy even in extremely negative circumstances, ask yourself whether you can be happy in the more moderate circumstances in which you find yourself on a day-to-day basis. Can you, for example, entertain the possibility of being happy despite the fact that it’s raining outside? Can you be happy if a meeting with your client did not go as well as you would have liked?

Why is asking yourself whether you can be happy in extremely (vs. moderately) negative circumstances the wrong question? Because, by asking such a question, you undermine the confidence you need to develop the ability to be happy under all circumstances. Just as a child cannot imagine being as physically strong as an adult, those of us who haven’t developed the ability to interpret moderately negative events in a happiness-enhancing fashion cannot imagine being happy in extremely negative circumstances.

It is useful to think of the ability to control your emotional responses to events as a muscle; just as your biceps become stronger only when you exercise them using the appropriate weights–weights that are neither too light nor too heavy–, your ability to control your emotional response to events gains strength only when you take on challenges that are commensurate with your current ability. If you are currently someone who lets relatively minor events–like an encounter with a rude waitress–spoil your mood, how can you expect to maintain your happiness when a more extreme event–like a week long visit from a unpleasant relative–unfolds?

The point is: just because you currently lack the ability to maintain emotional positivity in the face of extremely negative events doesn’t mean that the theory–that the key to your happiness ultimately lies in your hands–is false. Rather, what it means is that you don’t, at present, possess sufficient control over your mind to feel happy regardless of the circumstances. You may ultimately desire to be like Gandhi or Jesus–who were remarkable in their ability to maintain good cheer even in the face of extreme adversity–but you can’t get there by biting off more than you can chew right now.

This brings me to an interesting irony about taking personal responsibility. Seeking mental control, it might appear at first blush, is similar to seeking control over others or over the circumstances. Quite the contrary! If anything, your ability to control your own mind is diminished by seeking to control others and the circumstances. Indeed, a critical element in developing mental control is a willingness to accept whatever outcomes you are dealt. If you cannot fully accept your outcomes–including, for example, the presence of a toxic boss, or poor health–you will not be able to interpret these outcomes in a positive light, and hence, you cannot be happy.

So, taking personal responsibility for your happiness involves, ultimately, adopting a “surrender mindset”–which refers to the willingness to fully and unquestioningly accept the outcomes you are dealt in life.

But how does one develop the surrender mindset?

Before answering this question, let me briefly discuss a commonly held misconception about the surrender mindset. Surrendering isn’t the same as capitulating. In other words, a person with a surrender mindset is not a weak, rudderless individual who has “checked out” from this world; rather, he is someone who, like the rest of us, has desires and goals and pursues them. However, whereas the rest of us cling to our desires with feverish desperation, a person with the surrender mindset does not. Thus, a person with the surrender mindset may dream of breaking the world record in the 100-meter dash, but if he were to discover a physical condition that prevents him from achieving this dream, he will be able to discard his dream, and move on to other goals without hesitation.

In other words, a person with the surrender mindset is like the rest of us in many ways, but only until the moment the outcomes unfold. Whereas the rest of us ruminate and moan when our favored outcomes don’t unfold, the person with a surrender mindset is able to move on, emotionally unscathed.

Let me now return to the question I had raised earlier: How does one develop the surrender mindset?

The most effective way to develop the mindset is one that those with a scientific orientation will likely find unappealing: it involves faith in a larger intelligence or force. Specifically, those who believe that there is force larger than oneself, and that this force is benign, will find it easier to surrender. The reason for this is straightforward: if you believe that the Universe is shaped by a force more powerful than you, and that this force has your best interests at heart, then you will find it much easier to make peace with the outcomes you are dealt. Even if you are unable to see how an outcome is beneficial for you in the moment, you will at least be willing to look for ways in which it opens new doors and opportunities. In contrast, if you are convinced that the outcome you have been dealt is bad for you, you are more likely to ruminate about the past than to move forward.

Ultimately then, surrendering has to do with trust. Just as trusting the people with whom you interact on a day-to-day basis is indispensable for being happy, so it seems that trusting that the Universe is taking care of you is crucial for being happy too.

This may be one reason why findings repeatedly show that religious people are, on average, significantly happier. Developing the surrender mindset, however, doesn’t mean you need to become religious. One can entertain the belief in a benign (rather than malign or indifferent) Universe without subscribing to any other religious tenet.

So, the logical thing to do, if you want to take personal responsibility for your own happiness, is to do something that might sound illogical: to have faith and adopt the surrender mindset.

Isn’t that wonderful?

Today’s article was written by Raj Raghunathan, Ph.D. and is shared from the following website: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sapient-nature/201112/taking-personal-responsibility-your-happiness

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Ronald Reagan and Personal Responsibility

We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions. Ronald Reagan

“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”

– Ronald Reagan

Personal responsibility is what created the United States. Literally.

When our forefathers’ declared independence from England, they sent a signal to the world that freedom and liberty are only possible when each person is allowed to determine how to live their life.

They called these God-given rights. And with these rights come responsibilities.

We teach our children they will be held accountable for their actions. We tell them they will reap what they sow. Yet they often see lawbreakers set free, or never arrested in the first place. Many who are sent to prison commit more crimes upon their release.

This cycle repeats itself time and time again until the laws cease to be a deterrent. They become a mere nuisance to the criminals.

As President Reagan stated, it’s time to put a stop to this. Laws are laws for a reason. We need them in order to have a functioning society.

Some may disagree with a law. Fine. Seek to change it. Until then, live within the law.

When laws are not enforced, lawbreakers are in essence being told that their actions are permitted.

Laws are not the problem. Lawbreakers are the problem.

Personal responsibility is not a burden. It is a requirement for a country that was founded on the God-given rights of freedom and liberty.

To be truly free, one must be personally responsible.

Today’s post is shared from the following website: https://www.reagan.com/blog/24/in-his-own-words-ronald-reagan-and-personal-responsibility

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Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success

I love this story on teamwork I heard the other day. I think you will agree it is powerful. Feel free to share with your teams.

A team of about 35 employees had come together for a team building event. They were a young, bright and enthusiastic team.

However, one big problem this team had was they wouldn’t share information or solutions with each other. The leader felt they were too focused on self and not enough on team.

So she started off with a fun team activity that would allow her to teach the importance of each team member working together and sharing more.

She brought the team into the cafeteria. All of the tables and chairs had been stacked and put away. Placed around the room were fun decorations and hundreds of different colored balloons.

Everyone was excited, but not sure what it was all about. In the center of the room was a big box of balloons that had not been blown up yet.

The team leader asked each person to pick a balloon, blow it up and write their name on it. But they were instructed to be careful because the balloon could pop!

A few balloons did indeed pop and those members of the team were given another chance, but were told that if the balloon popped again they were out of the game.

About 30 team members were able to get their name on a balloon without it popping. Those 30 were asked to leave their balloons and exit the room. They were told they had qualified for the second round.

Five minutes later the leader brought the team back into the room and announced that their next challenge was to find the balloon they had left behind with their name on it among the hundreds of other balloons scattered in the large cafeteria. She warned them however to be very careful and not to pop any of the balloons. If they did, they would be disqualified.

While being very careful, but also trying to go as quickly as they could, each team member looked for the balloon with their name. After 15 minutes not one single person was able to find their balloon. The team was told that the second round of the game was over and they were moving onto the third round.

In this next round the leader told the team members to find any balloon in the room with a name on it and give it to the person whose name was on it. Within a couple of minutes every member of the team had their balloon with their own name on it.

The team leader made the following point: “We are much more efficient when we are willing to share with each other. And we are better problem solvers when we are working together, not individually.”

Often times members of teams create obstacles that get in the way of teamwork by solely focusing on their own pursuits and goals. They hoard information, avoid collaboration and distance themselves. It is bad for the team and it is bad for that individual.

Every member of a team should ask themselves on a regular basis what they are doing for the team  and can do for the team.

The article was written by Michael G. Rogers and is shared from the following website: http://www.teamworkandleadership.com/2015/10/short-teamwork-story-you-will-want-to-share-with-your-team.html

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