The devil didn't make you do it.
Neither did your boss, company policy, the law or your superior officer.
I didn't have a choice
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
I am thirty-five years old, but have only recently learned the lessons of IndividualResponsibility
. For most of my life, I've blamed others (family, employers, politicians) for my problems, and I've been very unhappy most of the time. But have finally come to accept that I
am responsible for my life and my happiness, and that has resulted in a dramatic improvement in my self-confidence and sense of well-being.
Here is a summary of what I've accepted:
- I am responsible for my own emotions. Others may do bad things to me, and may even hurt me, but if I let it eat me up inside, the blame rests with me.
- I am responsible for my own economic security. TheyCanFireMe, but if I am not prepared for that, it is my fault for not planning ahead.
- I am responsible for my own career. If an employer is not providing me with the opportunities I want, or is mistreating me in some way, I can JustLeave. If nobody wants to hire me, it is up to me to make myself more hire-able, or to create a job for myself.
- If I don't like the way things are, it is my responsibility to seek out or accept leadership roles so that I can change things. I don't expect anyone else to accept my suggestions and implement them.
- If I am not communicating well or am getting along with another person or some group of people, I accept that I am half of the problem.
- I am responsible for the consequences of my actions. I will not blame others for not reacting properly to my actions, and I will not assume a "no-fault" lack of responsibility on my behalf.
- Choosing to follow someone else's orders is a choice. If I carry out harmful orders or adhere to harmful policies, I am responsible for the harm caused.
- I do not have control over others, and I am not directly responsible for their actions. I may have some influence, and I may actively oppose others when the matter is important to me, but in general it is not my responsibility to provide unwanted advice, judge others' actions, correct their mistakes, nor to punish them.
- If someone who is working for me is not acting as I wish, it is my responsibility to either try to convince them to act as I want, or to dismiss them. Other peoples' mistakes are their responsibility, but if I allow those mistakes to continue or to jeopardize the attainment of my goals, that is my mistake.
- When working for someone else, it is my responsibility to understand what my duties and assignments are, and to obtain the information and resources necessary to do my assigned job. It is my responsibility to inform the boss if I cannot perform the assigned task, and it is my responsibility to come up with alternatives. If I don't like the assignment, I should graciously ask for reassignment or I should graciously resign. It is also my responsibility to share my honest opinions with my employer. (See HelpYourManager.)
- I am responsible for managing my time. It is my responsibility to prevent myself from taking on too many responsibilities. When others ask for my help, the choice is mine. If I offer help, I do so freely and without expectations that the person(s) helped will repay me for my kindness. If I can't help, it is my responsibility to clearly say "No."
- Care and support of the people and things that matter to me is my responsibility. I cannot expect others to share my interests or desires to help others.
- I am responsible for protecting my legal rights. I can't expect others to look after my interests.
- I can't change the past, but it is my responsibility to evaluate current conditions and to plan for the future.
I finally feel like a grown-up. I wish I'd figured this stuff out twenty years ago.
I know some will look at the above and roll their eyes. Like everyone else, I've been subjected to all those self-help empowerment gurus that tell everyone to take control of lives, and I have generally ignored it or thought that I already knew all those things. It wasn't until the last year or so that I really got it
. So I share my experience in the hope that others may learn the lessons through a quicker and easier method than I did.
Kris, congratulations. No eye-rolling. I meet maybe a person or two a year who has this down. Not all of them (few of them, actually) are in management-level positions. Many talk of "duty" and "responsibility" but few actually get it
for real. I was also in my thirties before I actually got it
in a real-life context. So well done. -- GarryHamilton
Blame the culture -> The culture of Blame has made victims of us all
Ah yes, I didn't have a choice
is a SelfDeceit
, except where somebody else made me believe it!.
From WikiPedia on Blame
It was said there GeraldWeinberg
viewed that an organization is doing ok if "Blame" flows upwards in the chain of command, whereas other types of flow of blame are not as healthy.
- Someone having access to Weinberg's writings please replace the above with an exact quote.