“Pain is inevitable but misery is optional.” A similar thing can be said when it comes to taking responsibility. Losses are inevitable, but excuses are optional. When we move we move from excuses to responsibility, our lives begin to change dramatically. Here’s how.
Losses are inevitable, but excuses are optional.
- We Take Our First Step in Learning
when you take responsibility for yourself, you take responsibility for your learning. The earlier you do this, the better the potential result. Professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist William Rasberry had good advice regarding the importance of taking responsibility and making right choices when we are young. He observed,
If you want to be thought of as a solid, reliable pillar of your community when you’re fifty, you can’t be an irresponsible, corner-cutting exploiter at twenty-five… The time to worry about your reputation is before you have one. You determine your reputation by deciding who and what you are and by keeping that lofty vision of yourself in mind, even when you’re having a rip-roaring good time.
If you take responsibility when you’re young, you have a better chance of gaining wisdom as you get older. For some of us, it takes a long time. I sometimes feel that only after turning sixty-five did I begin to understand life. Now that I’m officially a senior citizen, I can say there are two things I know about my life.
First, it has contained many surprises. My life didn’t turn out like I thought it would. Some things turned out better than I imagined, some things worse. No matter who you are, it’s impossible to know how your life will turn out.
Second, as long as I take responsibility for the things I can control in my life and try my best to learn from them, I can feel contented. Unfortunately, my personal challenge has been keeping myself from trying to control things outside my sphere of influence. Whenever I’ve overreached in that way and things have gone wrong, it has caused me to lose focus, waste energy, and feel discouraged. That has been a hard lesson for me.
If you can find the right balance where you take responsibility for the things you can control and let go of the things you cannot, you will accelerate your learning process. But even if you learn the lesson late, you can still benefit from it. That was true for Ted Williams. He was in his fifties when he finally took that first step. And as a result, he is learning and growing and improving his life.
- We See Things in Their Proper Perspective
Taking responsibility for yourself does not mean taking yourself too seriously. When you do that, it carries over into a negative perspective in other areas of your life. Henri Frederic Amiel said, “We are never more discontented with others than when we are discontented with ourselves.” Taking responsibility doesn’t mean cultivating a negative attitude. It means being willing to see things from a better perspective.
“We are never more discontented with others then when we are discontented with ourselves.” –Henri Frederic Amiel
What a disappointing loss. Media members were silent as they filed into the press tent after Watson’s loss. What was the veteran golfer’s response? “This ain’t a funeral, you know, “he joked. He was able to laugh about it, because he saw things in the proper perspective. It wasn’t the end of the world for him.
The best learners are people who don’t see their losses and failures as permanent. They see them as temporary. Or as Patricia Seller once put it, “The most successful [people] at bouncing back view failure not like a cancer but, rather, like puberty: awkward and uncomfortable, but a transforming experience that precedes maturity.
- We Stop Repeating Our Failures
What’s the major difference between people who succeed and people who don’t? it’s not failing. Both group fail. However, the ones who take responsibility for themselves learn from their failures and do not repeat them.
If you think about it, how did you learn to walk when you were a baby? You tried something that didn’t work, and fell down. Then you tried something else that didn’t work, and fell down. You probably tried hundreds of approaches—maybe thoughts—all of which taught you what didn’t work when it came to walking. And finally, you tried something that did work.
That’s the way you learned to walk, eat, talk, ride a bike, throw a ball, and all the other basic tasks of living. Why would you think you’ll ever get to a place where you can learn without failing and making mistakes? If you want to learn more, you need to do more. But you also need to pay attention to what’s not working and make adjustments accordingly.
“Every success I know has been reached because the person was able to analyze defeat and actually profit from it in the next undertaking.” –William Moulton Marston
- We Grow Stronger
Eleanor Roosevelt observed, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Every time that you take responsibility, face your fear, and move forward despite experiencing losses, failures, mistakes, and disappointments, you become stronger. And it you keep doing the things you ought to do when you ought to do them, the day will came when you will get to do the things you want to do when you want to do them.
We need to be asking ourselves a question similar to that one: Are we being ourselves? Are we taking full responsibility for that task? If our answer is yes, it makes us stronger day by day.
- We Back Up Our Words With Our Behavior
The ultimate step in taking responsibility is making sure our actions line up with our words. Jeff O’Leary, author of The Centurion Principles, advised, “Sign your work at the end of each day. If you can’t do that, find a new profession.” If you are willing to put your name on anything you do, that indicates a high level of integrity. To put your life on the line indicates an even higher one.
“Sign your wok at the end of each day. If you can’t do that, find a new profession.”-Jeff O’Leary
It may sound like hyperbole when Jones asks if you are taking responsibility for the tasks you perform as if your life depends on it, but it’s not really extreme. Why? Because our lives do depend on what we do. It took Ted Williams over fifty years and nearly cost him his life to learn that lesson. But the stakes are no less high for you and me. The life we have is the only life we get here on earth, and it’s not a dress rehearsal. Every minute we waste is gone forever. We can either choose to take responsibility for what we do with it, or make excuses.
I hope, like me, you are choosing to face reality and take responsibility. If you do that, then you will be ready to dig in and focus on improvement.
This Article is taken from Sometime You Win Sometime You Lose
Written by Arshad. A