Last week, I made a focus on accountability. This week, I’m shifting a little bit- to personal responsibility. It’s time for some real talk. Some of you might feel I’m a bit brutal, but I think it is necessary. Here’s the thing you are responsible for everything in YOUR life. Let me explain.
You hold 100% of the authority of your life. You are the one with power and control. So the big question is: are you taking control?
Choosing to take control is choosing to take responsibility. No one is to blame for the way you feel and what you do. Someone can say or do something, and it can trigger you to feel a certain way, but they didn’t MAKE you feel a certain way. You made you feel happy/sad/frustrated/etc. You and your brain need to take responsibility.
Notice anything? YOU CAN TAKE CONTROL.
How do you take control? You take responsibility. You take ownership. You stop making excuses. You put your ego aside. You decide to change. You stop blaming others and accept that your circumstances are due to no one else but the person in the mirror. YOU.
Radical responsibility means that regardless of the situation, circumstances, and hand of cards life deals you; you take responsibility for yourself. It means if the dog ate your homework, it is not the dog’s fault, because you can be responsible for putting it in a safe spot. It means if you are late for a meeting, it’s not the traffic’s fault. It’s your responsibility to leave early and take into account travel time. It means if you’re always fighting with your significant other, it’s not their fault because you can choose not to be irritable or rude, and you can choose to be patient and loving even when it seems impossible. It means if you’re trying to lose weight, the muffin didn’t jump into your mouth. You choose every bite you take.
Even when life is busting at the seams with unknowns, how you respond and react is up to you. 2020 is the perfect example. It would be easy to blame COVID or murder hornets for all the bad things happening in your life. But the truth is, you still are in control. You can change your fate whenever you decide.
“But Aaron, you don’t understand. Something awful happened, and I couldn’t take control.” WRONG. Here’s the thing. You might not have been able to control that bad thing from happening, but what you do after it happens is what separates those taking responsibility and those who don’t. Everything that has happened, even up to the last second, is in the past. Repeat after me: “My past does not define me!” “My situation does not define me!” “I am in control of how I react to everything!”.
Accepting that life doesn’t happen “to” you, and that you can take control of the wheel at any point in time is life-changing.
Welcome to Radical Responsibility.
Feels powerful, right?
All taking control requires is one decision. One decision will lead to many more but making ONE decision will empower you to the next. Over time, the domino effect of your choices will show you the direction you’re heading. But decide to move one domino, and soon you’ll see the entire course change. Decisions don’t have to be the villain in your life story. You can take control. Over time, changing your choices will alter your life.
Some examples of decisions you make every day that can directly affect your life:
-The food you eat. Every bite is a choice.
-The time you wake up. How you use your time.
-Where do you direct your energy? Do you hate your job? Do you wish you could change careers? Are you jealous of someone in your life? Why?
-Who you love? Do you say I love you? Do you show love and kindness with your actions? Do you keep track of wrongs? Do you expect them to “know” you love them, or do they feel it by how you treat them?
Once you become self-aware and take responsibility for everything in your life, you’ll see that every decision you make adds up. You’ll start building off that one decision. You’ll realize how simple it can be to take radical responsibility. You’ll feel free from the prison you put yourself in but blamed others. You’ll be self-aware and be making decisions with a clear mind. You will stop being on autopilot. You’ll stop blaming bad luck for your bad day. You’ll stop letting a rude stranger ruin your joy. You’ll soon see that the only difference between where you are and where you want to be- or gave up even trying to be is a series of decisions you can change at any time. (Speaking of letting a moment ruining your day, check out my blog post about this here.)
“Can One Decision Change My Life??”
The simple answer is YES! The reason is: the decision to take radical responsibility will guide you to new, healthy habits. For example, if you stop blaming the box of donuts in the break room for your weight gain, you’ll soon see the simple decision to do this will lead to better eating habits. You can break the excuse chain. It’s on YOU. If you don’t accept this responsibility, you will never be in control. It will be in control of you.
How is it all my responsibility even if my spouse/boss/coworker is a jerk and doesn’t pull their weight or take responsibility for themselves? You don’t understand!
(Here is where accountability comes into play)
You might need to rewind the scene to see what I mean:
COVID, the president, the news, the economy, and everything on the outside will happen no matter what. You control the inside. You control YOU. You own your life. Social Media doesn’t write your life story. Attitude is everything. Decide on a good one.
Circle back to that one decision I mentioned. Decide to put in the conscious effort every day to improve and get better. All of this discontent didn’t happen in one day. It is years and years of decisions compounded every day. Start where you are the most unhappy and write down how you can change expectations right away. It might mean having a tough conversation, or admitting you’ve been wrong, or saying goodbye to someone you know is toxic to your life. If this all were easy, everyone would be doing it. It’s much easier to blame someone else or the world for your problems and discontent. When you accept that you are in control, it’s liberating, but it is also a bit scary because you are the only one to blame.
True inner peace and happiness take radical responsibility. Are you up for the challenge? I know I warned you I would be brutal this week. It’s always hard to hear it’s YOUR fault. But I believe a little tough love is going to help you grow beyond measure. I’d love to hear some of the ways you are taking radical responsibility in your life. Comment below and let me in on your stories!