Freedom through Responsibility

When I was growing up I remember that “being responsible” was something that adults seemed to be all the time and thankfully children didn’t need to worry about.  Over time though I began to realise that if I wanted to make it as an adult, I needed to find out what “being responsible” really meant.

Interestingly, there are no classes at school on how to be responsible in life.



Inevitably, through life experiences we learn to become responsible as adults.  We learn to be dependable and reliable, we learn to take on obligations and positions of responsibility and at some point many of us become responsible for people, children, parents or pets. Very few of us, however, actually learn to take responsibility for ourselves and our lives.

Understanding what responsiblity means and being personally responsible is a key leadership skill.  Whilst people expect leaders to be in a position of responsibility, the measure of a truly great leader is someone who is willing to be accountable for something within their power, control, or management.

People often confuse being responsible with being “in power” in some way. In a sense this is correct in that everyone, no matter what their position in life, has the scary but liberating and powerful option of choosing to be personally responsible in life. This means being fully responsible for all your actions, behaviours, thoughts and feelings.  I believe that there is nothing that gives an individual more freedom and power than being willing to be 100% responsible in their life.

Being responsible to this degree means really knowing that you are the master of your destiny.  Rather than waiting to blame external circumstances or other people for things that happen in your life, it is possible take back your power by choosing to be responsible.  Being responsible gives you the option of how you want to respond to extrinsic events outside your control.  By looking intrinsically it is possible to be responsible for how you feel and the actions you then take.

What is responsibility in fact?

Responsibility = the ability to choose how to respond (response – able)

Interestingly most people choose not to be responsible. It is much easier to avoid responsibility and blame or complain about others and expect others to solve their problems, rather than take responsibility for the way things are and then take actions to change things. Being responsible means asking the question: “How am I the cause in this that has happened?” 

Of course external events happen that are out of our control.  Being responsible though, means that rather than reacting on auto pilot you have the option at any moment to choose how you want to respond.  Your state of mind is entirely within your control and your responsibility and how you choose to feel and think is not dependent on someone or something else.

Learning to be in control and responsible for your life is a key life skill we are ill equipped with.  Simply being aware of the thoughts in your head and your emotions are two of the most important ways that you can start to be responsible in life.

Here are 6 ways in which you can start to be responsible for your life:

1)    Raise your self-awareness – the root of your life is in your mind, take time to observe it

2)    Take control – stop complaining and feeling a victim in life and choose to be the one in control

3)    Act rather than react – notice how you react automatically to situations (emotionally and with actions) and choose how you would prefer to think and act.

4)    Accept that you are the cause in where you are today – for good or bad.  By accepting that you have created your past and present you can also be cause in your future.

5)    Be aware of your fear – fear is a parasite and feeds on doubt, judgements, opinions and hates change.

6)    Believe in yourself – the two most powerful words in the dictionary “I CAN”

Learning to be responsible for your life will help you to feel more in control.  It is important to remember though that whilst you can learn to be responsible for your own life, and choose how to respond at any moment in time, you cannot be responsible for how others think and behave.  You can only show others how to take reasonability by leading by example.

If you enjoyed this article then you can find more on being responsible in your life and many more ways to be successful, in my ebook called:

“The Secrets to Producing The Results You Want In Your Life”

For your free copy please click here.

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