Let us Take Responsibility for Everything that We Face in Life…Good, Bad, or Ugly…

Life is a game of choices; choices that we make and also we don’t make. Making no choice is also a choice in itself. How well we play this game decides what kind of a person we turn out to be or, what kind of life we lead or, simplistically, it decides our  destiny. Now, making a choice means accepting responsibility for our attitudes, behaviors and actions and at the same time, refusing to ‘pass the buck’ or blame others or our circumstances. We have the freedom to make our choices and we need to make them wisely with awareness and right understanding.

When we talk of responsibility, it is all about being responsible, moral, and accountable for one’s values, attitudes, choices, behaviors, and actions. Responsibility also encompasses reliability and trustworthiness. So, in other words, one is reliable and trustworthy when one accepts responsibility.

Dr. Stephen R. Covey in his famous book entitled “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” defined “Responsibility” as “Response-ability” or ability to choose our response to a situation. I have observed many a people not taking responsibility for their behaviors and actions or shirking their responsibility, especially  when things do not go right, or as planned, just saying that it is not my responsibility or I am not responsible for it. Such people do not take any ownership for their behaviors or actions. But, this leads me to a question: “Can responsibility be limited or restricted?” The answer is simply “No” because why  any one would like to limit or restrict his/her ability to respond to a situation. I believe, responsibility is unlimited or boundless. Action, on the other hand, is limited and has a boundary defined by one’s attitude, capability, and priority.

Let me give you a few examples from our daily life…. how we are responsible for certain things that happen/may happen to us if we make different choices…. For example we have a choice to throw wrapper on the road after eating ice-cream or throw it in the dustbin. Now if I take responsibility for keeping my city clean, I would throw the wrapper in the dustbin. If I do not do so, I will be responsible for the dirty city and would forfeit the right to complain against municipal corporation. Similarly, if I leave my mobile carelessly for charging at a public charging booth at a railway station, I will forfeit my right to complain against police. If I bribe a railway officer to get a berth in train, I forfeit my right to complain against corruption in railways…. Because every time in above examples, I had another choice…. to throw wrapper in dustbin, to be careful and keep watch on my mobile, to not to pay bribe for getting a berth on the train when its somebody else’s turn ahead of me and so on…. It is true for other situations also like flouting traffic rules, parking at wrong places, etc. and in such situations I may be taught a lesson for not taking responsibility….

What happens when we take responsibility? We may either succeed or fail. In both the cases there are important lessons to be learnt. When we succeed, we learn that if we act in this fashion, the chances of succeeding are greater. On the other hand, when we fail, yet again we learn the important lessons which may help us to fine tune our lives by not repeating those mistakes which made us fail. Perhaps, that’s why It is said that failure is a stepping stone to success. So, let us accept responsibility with wide open arms because in it lies our freedom to choose….to learn to play the game of life better….and to grow….

Generally we are very quick in taking responsibility or ownership for success or anything that happens good in our life or around us but disown failure or bad things…. like it is said, “Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan”…. Let us change this …. Let us be responsible….

N.B. Sincere thanks to Dr. Om Prakash Jain for his inputs and feedback.

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7 thoughts on “Let us Take Responsibility for Everything that We Face in Life…Good, Bad, or Ugly…

  1. Very true we don’t want to take responsibility for any wrong deeds. Even we we make God responsible for our karmas. But think as a parents no parents will say their children should suffer. But we point to God for every deed. God is our father. Our sufferings or happiness is our creation. Thanks for the good thoughts.

  2. thank you mPower (and dr. jain) for this lovely, well considered article.

    the article encouraged some thoughts…

    yes – i am responsible for my values, attitudes, choices, behaviours, actions, on a daily basis. if i truly think about all these things and my choices with them from minute to minute – it is a huge challenge! acknowledging my choices occur in the everyday little moments of life, encourages me to really respond to the present moment – to concentrate on now. (i often do not succeed, however most of the time – continue trying.)

    i also imagine – i am responsible for contributing towards the well-being of everyone i share this world with – which can be overwhelming – so again, i concentrate on the small daily interactions i have with people. a smile and a genuine ‘thank you’ for the busy shop assistant, instead of a frown and a ‘hurry up’…

    do you think accepting responsibility for everyone’s well-being is important and a big challenge? especially when assuring our own well-being and responsibility can be a massive task?

    best regards.

    p.s. the article’s second last paragraph made me smile as it reminded me of a favourite saying… in order to be very very good at something – first you need to be very very dumb at something 🙂

    • Thank you very much for your profound comment…

      We are responsible for our values, attitudes, choices, behaviours, actions… and to be aware of our thoughts on 24x7x365 basis is a challenge as our mind keeps wandering all the time, but it is possible to watch our thoughts on a continuous basis and become aware of them… It, however, demands tremendous effort or ‘Tapasya’, as I call it, on our part, but it is possible…so continue doing it…Once we become aware of our thoughts…with right understanding, we are able to choose the right thoughts leading to right behaviour and action…

      We are also responsible the way the present moment is happening ‘NOW’. No matter what we do, we can not change or alter this moment because it is inevitable. No power in universe can change this moment the way it is happening NOW… and this is the universal Truth. So, if this can not be changed then why not Accept it the way it is… And, when we do that it opens a lot many possibilities for us to choose from and act in the very next moment that is about to follow…

      Lastly, accepting responsibility for everyone’s well being is vital… however, our actions are bounded and limited by our attitude, ability, priority, and above all the right understanding…

      Thanks for visiting mpower360.

      Best regards.

  3. I believe that anyone who doesn’t stand up to his own choices is just an escapist. Sure it’s the easy way out, because taking responsibility involves courage. But sometimes it’s hard to take it all at once.
    So some of us defer that conscious conversation with the self for a while and live in denial till the time we’re ready to deal with it.

    • Agree! Life is all about making choices and taking responsibility for our actions…and Archana, you very rightly said that it requires tremendous courage…especially when things do not go right, or as expected…

  4. As I read through your article ,all that goes into my mind is – why do we not own our actions? Most of the times we put it on circumstance, other people or we make up some reason. The most basic reason that I realised was the way we have been brought up. Not that it can’t be compensated for by a prudent individual but old habits die hard. Since childhood if we do something wrong or are unable to achieve something, the reply would be- “My child did everything right. ABC thing went wrong.” We are afraid to criticise our children.

    Constructive criticism is lacking and this builds a harmful ego.

    Taking responsibility is scary initially but as we start accepting both good and bad, there is a sense of freedom which is felt. We gain courage to do better and do what needs to be done instead of playing a blame-game.

    • “Why do we not own our actions?” One of the reasons, as you rightly said, could be our past conditioning during our childhood. I have observed a mother resorting to hitting the ground when her child falls down and starts to cry, just to console the child that it is not his/her fault but that of the ground; instead of cautioning the child to be careful and not to fall again. So, we develop a tendency to blame others for the situations that we are in. We look for a scapegoat outside whereas problem lies within us. We also tend to “pass the buck” and shirk our responsibility. What we need is to accept our responsibility, learn lesson out of the situation and move on… as a more experienced person to face the challenges that this life has in store for us… Thanks for visiting mPower360 and adding value to it… Do visit again…

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