The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.
–Lou Holtz, only NCAA coach to lead six different college teams to postseason bowl games and winner of the national championship and coach of the year honors.
There are two ways to go through life: blaming other people and circumstances for our failings or accepting responsibility for our situation. You cannot change other people. You can rarely even influence them with any reliability. You cannot change circumstances – we are all victims of our circumstances. The only thing you can change is yourself.
Many people read those words and respond, “of course, I know that, what purpose is there in stating the obvious?” I suggest that while you may “know” it on an intellectual level few people have truly accepted this concept completely. There are few people who do not blame others or blame situations for their problems. To truly come to accept that you and you alone are responsible for your responses in life and where they take you is a giant accomplishment.
Accepting responsibility must be 100%. You cannot cheat on this. You cannot say that you are almost completely responsible for your own life or nearly so or so except this and that. You must come to understand that it is 100% or nothing. Unless you accept it in its entirety you do not accept the responsibility to improve your own life, for what possible purpose is there is working on one’s own life if other people and circumstances you cannot control have fouled it all up?
What is your excuse?
George Washington Carver certainly had many reasons to blame others for his problems. Born a slave in the southern US he was later freed by the civil war and went on to struggle through one of the darkest periods of American civil rights history when blacks were treated as sub-humans and denied almost any genuine opportunities. This man, who went on to teach thousands and to invent thousands of things, observed: “99% of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses”. This from the ex-slave who invented over 325 uses for the common peanut.
Understand the power of response.
We all encounter events throughout our life that we do not control. They are caused by nature, other people, and other forces over which we have no control. What we all have control over and sole control over is our response. Once you understand that iron law of life you have conquered one of the most important challenges of self determination.
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. –Wayne Dyer.
Jack Canfield observes, “You either create or allow everything that happens to you”. Think about that profound observation. If you do not create your future it will happen to you.
It is your choice. Decide to assume full control over your decisions and actions. Plan and make your own future. Choose to take responsibility for yourself – the power in it is vast and you will find life far less frustrating and for more enabling if you take control of your own life.
You decide. No one else can.
Putting this into action for you: reflect on how you make excuses and blame others for your own problems. How might you change this? What will you do differently today to take full responsibility for your own life?
Inspired by The Success Principles, ©2005 Jack Canfield, Published by Harper Collins.
Daniel R. Murphy
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.