John Rohn, reputed to be America’s foremost business philosopher once said: “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.”
If you want to be successful, you have to take 100% responsibility for everything that you experience in your life. This includes the level of your achievements, the results you produce, the quality of your relationships, the state of your health and physical fitness, your income, your debts, your feelings — everything. This is not easy.
In fact, most of us have been conditioned to blame something outside of ourselves for the parts of our life we do not like. We blame our parents, our bosses, our friends, our coworkers, our spouse, the weather, the economy, the government, our astrological chart, our lack of money —anyone or anything we can pin the blame on. We never want to look at where the real problem is: ourselves.
There is a wonderful story told about a man who is out walking one night and comes upon another man down on his knees looking for something under a street lamp. The passerby inquires as to what the other man is looking for. He answers that he is looking for his lost key.
The passerby offers to help and gets down on his knees and helps him search for the key. After an hour of fruitless searching, he says, “We have looked everywhere for it and we have not found it. Are you sure that you lost it here?”The other man replies, “No, I lost it in my house, but there is more light out here under the street lamp.”
It is time to stop looking outside yourself for the answers to why you have not created the life and results you want, for it is you who creates the quality of the life you lead and the results you produce. You — no one else!
To achieve major success in life, to achieve those things that are most important to you, you must assume 100% responsibility for your life. Nothing less will do.
YOU HAVE TO GIVE UP ALL YOUR EXCUSES
George Washington Carver believes that: “Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.”
If you want to create the life of your dreams, then you are going to have to take 100% responsibility for your life as well. That means giving up all your excuses, all your victim stories, all the reasons why you cannot and why you have not up until now, and all your blaming of outside circumstances. You have to give them all up forever.
You have to take the position that you have always had the power to make it different, to get it right, and to produce the desired result. For whatever reason — ignorance, lack of awareness, fear, needing to be right, the need to feel safe — you chose not to exercise that power.
“Everything you experience today is the result of choices you have made in the past.” Jack Canfield would say. Everything you experience in life, both internally and externally is the result of how you have responded to a previous event.
We believe that you have control over only three things in your life: the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take (your behavior). How you use these three things determines everything you experience.
If you do not like what you are producing and experiencing, you have to change your responses. Change your negative thoughts to positive ones. Change what you daydream about. Change your habits. Change what you read. Change your friends. Change how you talk to yourself and others. “If you keep on doing what you have always done, you will keep on getting what you have always got.”
Albert Einstein defines insanity as “continuing the same behavior and expecting a different result.” It is not going to happen. If you are an alcoholic and you keep on drinking, your life is not going to get any better. Likewise, if you only continue your current behaviors, your life is not going to get any better, either. “The day you change your responses is the day your life will begin to get better!” If what you are currently doing would produce the “more” and “better” that you are seeking in life, the more and better would have already shown up. If you want something different, you are going to have to do something different.
YOU HAVE TO GIVE UP BLAMING
Wayne Dyer believes that: “All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you.”
You will never become successful as long as you continue to blame someone or something else for your lack of success. If you are going to be a winner, you have to acknowledge the truth — it is you who took the actions, thought the thoughts, created the feelings, and made the choices that got you to where you now are.
YOU HAVE TO GIVE UP COMPLAINING
“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.” Lou Holtz, an American football coach once observed.
Let us take a moment to really look at complaining. In order to complain about something or someone, you have to believe that something better exists. You have to have a reference point of something you prefer that you are not willing to take responsibility for creating. Let us look at that more closely.
If you did not believe there was something better possible — more money, a bigger house, a more fulfilling job, more fun, a more loving partner — you could not complain. So you have this image of something better and you know you would prefer it, but you are unwilling to take the risks required to create it. Complaining is an ineffective response to an event that does not produce a better outcome.
Think about this, people only complain about things they can do something about. We do not complain about the things we have no power over. Have you ever heard anyone complain about gravity? The circumstances you complain about are all situations you can change — but you have chosen not to.
Complaining means you have a reference point for something better that you would prefer but that you are unwilling to take the risk of creating. Either accept that you are making the choice to stay where you are, take responsibility for your choice, and stop complaining or take the risk of doing something new and different to create your life exactly the way you want it. If you want to get from where you are to where you want to be, of course you are going to have to take that risk.
Learn to replace complaining with making requests and taking action that will achieve your desired outcomes. That is what successful people do.
That is what works. If you find yourself in a situation you do not like, either work to make it better or leave. Do something to change it or simply get out. Agree to work on the relationship or get a divorce. Work to improve working conditions or find a new job. Either way, you will get a change. As the old adage says, “Do not just sit there (and complain), do something.” And remember, it is up to you to make the change, to do something different. The world does not owe you anything. You have to create it.
Commit yourself to do that something different. Pastor Robert Schuller believes that commitment is entering into an honourable contract, pledging yourself before problems are solved. “Every commitment generates,” he says, “a new set of problems; and if we waited until we saw solutions to problems before we made a commitment, we would obviously not be able walking the walk of faith.” It is for this reason that commitment becomes self-inspiring.