It is my humble opinion that much of the woes we suffer locally and globally today come from one simple fact – the abdication of personal responsibility. Color me a pessimist (I prefer “realist”), but no matter what woe befalls us, it always seems to be someone else’s fault or responsibility. Of course, when catastrophe strikes, such as the earthquakes in Haiti, we all seem to band together.
What I’m addressing is the less obvious and certainly more insidious – like our economic situation or efforts at social reform. For example, when times are good we don’t want anyone interfering with our success. But as soon as the applecart is upset, we all start pointing figures with our right hand and reaching out with our left, palm up.
The purpose of these short missives is not to chastise people or remedy faults in human nature. It is to ask you to stop and consider a single thought about how we choose to use the limited and fixed time we have together. The thought for today is that personal responsibility is a lifestyle choice. By taking the position that the results and consequences of the decisions we each make and the actions we take are our own personal responsibility, I believe we will experience two things:
- How much value we can create. Taking personal responsibility generally causes people to slow down their thinking and acting. More thoughtful behaviors tend to generate better results. Value is either inherent or added. Someone who views their actions as their own tends to more clearly recognize inherent value and find ways to further the value that already exists.
- How rewarding our life can feel. The sense of command and direction people feel who take ownership of their lives is empowering. Whether they follow their existing path or venture down a new one, those who take charge of things always get to drive.
The next time you launch into a diatribe about how the government is doing “X’ or big business is doing “Y,” ask yourself what you’re doing to change that fact. I posit that you’ll be surprised at what you might decide to do.