I heard this as a boy constantly. Even as a young man.
Probably because I was always making excuses and passing the buck.
“You need to take responsibility for your own actions!”
I have to admit – I never really understood it for a long time. I think it was coupled with and amplified by an irrational fear that I held on to for many years. I was afraid that I would get in trouble for something I didn’t do – or that wasn’t my fault. As a result, I think I tried to make everything “not my fault.”
I don’t know. I’m not really a psychologist, so I don’t really know the answers to all that – but what I do know – is that somewhere along the line – that vague concept of responsibiity started to make sense to me.
Someone told me once, “If you want to get out of the mess you are in – you need to embrace the fact that you are in the position you are in because of the choices you have made.”
I’ll be honest. This pissed me off. As I look back at my twenty-some year old self, I can see that I was an idiot – and I blamed my financial situation on the company that laid me off – on the system, which seemed designed to keep me down – on the economy – on student loan companies for tricking me into signing them – etc. etc.
Now, I hear the echoes of those words in my ears, and I realize that I really am where I am because of the choices I have made. Some of those choices were good choices – but even good choices have tough consequences! I CHOSE to get married and have kids young. I CHOSE to drop out of school to raise my kids. I CHOSE to move back to my hometown. I CHOSE to take a job at a local company – even though I didn’t know they would lay me off.
No one is holding you down. No one is keeping you back.
Stop blaming racism, politics, bullies, your crappy parents, your ex-wife, your lack of friends or anything else for your problems.
Sometimes, I think our “problems” are really just opportunities to test our metal. We look at them as holes that we fall into, when really, they are the CHANCE to prove to ourselves and those around us just what kind of men we are!
But it won’t happen if we make excuses. It won’t happen if we blame others (even if they are too blame!)
I wish I could tell you how and where and when I learned these things. But the truth – is – somewhere along the way – it all just clicked. Somewhere – I just realized it.
If you haven’t realized it yet – if you still find yourself pissed at “the man” for holding you back – maybe it’s time to re-align your thinking. It’s time to choose to rise above – to put passivity in the trash can – and choose to claw your way forward.
Tune in Next Week, for The Perils of Passivity: Be Aggressive/Assertive/Positive
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