“It is easy to dodge responsibility, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.”Sir Josiah Stamp
In most of my TimTalks, politics tends to dominate the conversation, and that would be because I happen to love talking politics. However, what I feel would be much more important in a strange time like this, (amid all the lawlessness and during a time where every, seemingly insignificant, politician is on a rampage for power), is a TimTalk that is more applicable to day to day life.
So we are going to discuss taking responsibility. And no; before you ask, “Tim, does this have anything to do with that stupid ‘woke-signaling’ commercial of stupid celebrities pretending to turn a blind eye to racism?”….before you ask…well, that-ish; I am not at all talking about taking responsibility for laughing at that not so funny joke.
No, what I’m talking about is taking responsibility for three things: my actions, my inactions, and my responses to others actions. So let’s dive in.
Stop Deferring Blame
Here’s a truth I personally struggled with a lot as a teen, and even now sometimes I catch myself doing it; deferring blame.
You see, it is so easy for us, and so natural to come up with an excuse as to why we don’t need to be held accountable. It’s so easy that we do it almost mindlessly, as if we actually believed what we were saying when we made up an excuse, or deferred the blame.
For instance, let’s say you get to work ten minutes late…no, let’s say thirty minutes late. And the boss says,
“Hey, John Doe. Why are you so late?”
What’s your first reaction? If you’re like me, the first thought that comes through your head is an excuse. And boy, does it come quick.
“Traffic.” Or, “My alarm clock didn’t go off.” Or, “I couldn’t find my wallet.” Or whatever you come up with. It’s always something that gets you out of the hot seat. And it makes sense, I get it, because nobody wants to be in trouble with the boss. Nobody wants to be the one who has to take the blame.
Here’s the thing though; it shows a significant lack of integrity. In fact, it tells whoever you’re making an excuse to, (if they’re paying attention), that you’re lazy. You don’t take responsibility for your actions, inactions, or reactions to others actions. Why would your boss trust you with a task at work, if you can’t even handle taking responsibility for not waking up on time, or being prepared at the beginning of the day? You’re lazy. You’re dishonest. You’re unaccountable. You can’t be trusted when you don’t take responsibility, and the sooner you and I admit that to ourselves, the better.
Recognizing the Problem
Want to know the real problem? It’s you. You are your own worst problem. You’re the one holding you back from being the best version of you. If you’re being truly honest with yourself, you know that your lack of personal growth has nothing to do with the actions of others, or the prejudice of others. 99% of the time, you don’t improve, because you fail to admit that you’re the one at fault.
So how do you fix the problem? Admit that you’re wrong. Admit that you made the mistake. Admit that you reacted poorly to what Jimmy said to you in the lunch room. Remember, you can’t control what others do. You can only control three things. What you do, don’t do, and how you respond. Until we as individuals come to terms with this truth, we will go nowhere in life.
The Product of Pointing-Fingers
What is the product of shifting the blame? In short, it’s mediocrity, failure and resentment. Why mediocrity? Because you can’t amount to anything if you refuse to own anything. Why resentment? Because nobody likes a person who’s always blaming someone or something else, and just gives excuses for bad choices and behavior.
Imagine being married, if you aren’t already, or even in just the beginning of a relationship, or any stage of a relationship for that matter; and all you do is blame the other person in that relationship for all your problems. What do you think the other person feels about you? Probably not a great deal of respect. Likely, that bony finger you keep waving in their face, breeds resentment. Why? Because you won’t take ownership of your own mistakes. What’s worse is you probably aren’t even considering that you’re at fault for the bad circumstances.
Stop and think, “Am I wrong and is what I am doing, the reason I’m not happy? Do my actions cause division in the relationships that I keep?” Ask yourself, “Am I the cause of my own circumstances?” Ask yourself these, and you’ll finally be asking the right questions.
Stop Blaming the “System”
Blaming the system for your circumstances is lazy, and worse, it’s damaging. Telling others to blame system for their circumstances is downright evil. It’s damaging to yourself, because telling yourself that everyone else is at fault for your circumstances is self-defeating. It’s a mindset of forced failure. It’s a victimhood mentality that has you brainwashed to think that you’re stuck in your situation because society has their boot on your neck.
This victimhood mentality is a lie told to you by people in power who want to control you. They control you by making you believe that the odds are so against you that the only way out is with their help. It creates dependence. When you’re dependent on people in power, they own you. They decide what you amount to in life; they decide how much you eat, and whether your eat or not. They control where you live, your income and finally your vote. How? Because they’ve convinced you that you’re a victim of society and your only rescuer is them. That’s why I said telling someone else that they’re a victim of society is evil.
By the way, when someone tells me they’re a victim of society, it tells me that they don’t think for themselves. They believe what someone wants them to believe so that they’re easier to control. Example?
Let’s look at the latest and greatest, “thought fad”. Right now all over the news and social media, we are being told, “If you’re black, your life is inherently more difficult because you’re not white. The evidence of this is the black unemployment rate versus the white unemployment rate.” That is absolutely evil and detestable.
Your skin color has nothing to do with whether or not you get a job. This may come as a shocker to you, but NOBODY CARES ABOUT THE COLOR OF YOUR SKIN. Why? The fact that you have brown skin doesn’t tell me anything about you except that you have brown skin. What employers look for is not skin color, but work ethic, personality, and how you conduct yourself.
What does that mean? It means that your choices and your actions determine your circumstances, not your skin color. The color of your skin is irrelevant. Think I’m a racist for saying that your skin color doesn’t matter? Okay, let’s ask the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”Martin Luther King Jr.
Obviously, skin color doesn’t matter. It’s irrelevant. I don’t care if you’re white, black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or whatever you are; I judge you by your conduct. It wasn’t always this way in America, but it’s like that now.
You Control You
Something my mom would always tell me as a kid was just that, “You control you.” In other words, what she was telling me as a child was, you can only control what you do, say, think and how you react. You can’t control what others do, say, think or how they react. You are responsible for the actions of one person, and you are that person.
A great example of this is the law? “What? The law?” Yes, the law. If two people are shopping in a store, and person “A” shoplifts the store and person “B” purchases the desired merchandise, logically person “A” is the one held responsible. It would be stupid to hold person “B” responsible for the theft, when we clearly know he had nothing to do with it.
We also don’t hold person “A’s” parents responsible for the theft. Sure they may have possibly been total dirt bags, abused person “A” all his life, and they may have even cultivated a lifestyle of crime in the family; but person “A” still has the ability to choose to do right. But he chose to do wrong. The law doesn’t care, and shouldn’t care about person “A’s” history, the law only cares whether or not person “A” broke the law or not. It’s a dichotomy. Right is right; wrong is wrong. Right is never wrong; wrong is never right. Wrong is never right, even if you do two wrongs. Wow! That’s a tongue twister isn’t it! Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Okay…moving on.
Responsibility Leads to Success
You reap what you sow. This is a very natural law, and it applies to everything in life. If you sow apple seeds, you will reap apple trees and eventually more apples. Likewise, if you sow violence, you reap violence. If you sow kindness, you reap kindness.
Taking responsibility and being a responsible person not only means owning your choices, (being accountable), but means making a habit of good choices. For instance, it is a responsible thing to do to get to work on time. It is irresponsible to arrive late. You are responsible for all your actions, even though all your actions are not responsible. Another way of saying that is: you are accountable for all your actions, but not all your actions show a sense mindfulness.
A responsible person is someone who takes into account the consequences of his actions before he takes them. He calculates decisions. Mr. Responsible is not careless, but is careful. He’s prepared and proactive. A responsible person is diligent, and hardworking. A responsible person is also a person of integrity. He owns his failures, not just his victories. A responsible person learns from his failure, and uses his failure as a tool of motivation for his success.
A responsible person is consistent. Consistent how? Consistent in sowing good choices; because good choices reap good outcomes.
A responsible person is a free thinker. He doesn’t buy into the victim mentality; because he knows that people ought to be accountable as individuals for individual actions, whether they be good or bad. Because of this, “Mr. Responsible” isn’t owned by someone he is dependent on; instead he is free. Free to make his own decisions and create his own future by the law of sowing and reaping.
What’s my proof? Statistically in the United States, young people who choose to graduate high school, avoid having children out of wedlock, and get a job, are 70% more likely to live more economically sound lives in the heart of the “middle class.”
Own it. Own your mistakes. Be humble enough to admit when you’re wrong. You’ll be a happier person because of it. Be humble enough to take correction. Be willing to admit that there just might be someone that knows something about life that you don’t; and be wise enough to learn from that person. Don’t let good advice be wasted on you. I know it’s hard sometimes, but it’s only hard because we let our egos get in our way of genuinely becoming better people.
If anyone is holding you back, do a self-evaluation, because that someone is extremely likely to be you. Don’t blame society, because that breeds a life of defeat. Be a proactive person; be mindful that your decisions have consequences. Take advantage of the law of sowing and reaping. Just be a responsible person. You’ll find that you’ll have a better life because of it.