This one is going to make you think.
Stephen Covey says, “Be Proactive.” Jack Canfield says, “Take 100% Responsibility.” Jean-Paul Sartre’s version is wordier – “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.”
All three do mean that you should take responsibility for how you lead and manage your life, but the first two certainly mean something else, as well. They mean everything is your fault.
Before you scream, let me qualify that statement.
When taking 100% responsibility, they all mean not only for what will happen but also for what is happening. It’s a reflection of the old adage, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” The world – your world – revolves around you. After all, if you weren’t there, there’s be no world to discuss, would there? So it IS up to you.
When a colleague brings you a problem, you take charge of solving it, even if only by giving advice and arranging the necessary training for the individual to do it themselves, next time. When someone insults you, consider what may be right in the insult, and respond accordingly. When the traffic builds up, take responsibility for just accepting the situation and making life easier for all those around you.
Okay, even I have trouble with that last one. But I do find that polite driving engenders a safe arrival, and there are plenty of other people out there who can get angry with idiots on my behalf. Yes, I even delegate that.
Nothing happens for us until we really do take responsibility, and if we hope to get what we want from life, I think it is reasonable to expect us to take that 100% responsibility promoted by Jack. And if we also take responsibility for what happens to us, we increase the chances of ‘good’ happening for and to us.
But I admit it takes a lot of emotional control – and lots of initiative, resourcefulness and self-awareness – to achieve.
I bet if I asked you if you had those three or four characteristics, you’d say yes. In fact, pound to a penny they were written or implied in your job application so you cannot deny it Ha! Gotcha!
What is happening to you that you have allowed to happen, to develop, and/or obstruct your effectiveness and happiness? What have you allowed to lapse? What have you delegated to someone or something that you really should have kept to yourself?
Take control – act, take back, overcome, whatever it takes. And that includes accepting, sometimes, that you were wrong, or slightly wrong, and the situation in which you find yourself is something which you, and only you, should solve.