A little while ago I started reading The Success Principles (non-affiliate link) by Jack Canfield. The first chapter starts out by telling you that you have to take 100% responsibility for your life. I know to a lot of people that sounds like a huge pill to swallow. I mean “stuff” happens, right? You can’t be responsible for everything that happens to you, right?
That one distinction is the ONLY place where you would be correct! No, you can’t control or be held responsible for everything that happens to you in life.
However, that’s where the mollycoddling ends.
What You ARE Responsible For
While you can’t be held responsible for everything that happens to you, you CAN be held responsible for YOUR REACTION!
In other words, let’s say you get sick and it keeps you from being productive in the same way you’re used to being productive. Does that mean you’re excused from accomplishing anything at all while you’re sick? Maybe.
But, does it let you off the hook from recovering from that illness by making a plan to get back on track, quit bashing yourself for being behind and getting on with life?
In fact, that is what Jack’s point is to begin with. Everything that you have or don’t have is a direct result of either your actions, inactions or reactions to events in your life.
THAT is what Mr. Canfield wants you to start out his teaching journey with. Taking 100% responsibility for where you are in life.
Now, I know that seems like a solid theoretical model to base your personal philosophy on, right?
Fine, then let me ask you plainly are YOU taking responsibility for YOUR life?
C’mon. Be honest. Give me your knee jerk reaction and don’t give yourself time to think about it. Just answer.
I can tell you without a doubt that I am NOT taking 100% responsibility even if I know better!
But, I have a plan that I want to share with you for getting closer to the 100% mark on a daily basis. That is the purpose of this article.
Let me break it down into three main areas that we can all use improvement on.
With Success With Focus, it’s always been my goal to help you get past the mental junk and start focusing on the things that matter to you most. I am a firm believer that so much of the outcomes we get are due to our expectations of them. Our expectations are molded by previous experiences that we’ve interpreted negatively. We therefore expect any similar situation to turn out the same.
This is the cycle you’ve got to become mindful of, be kind to and gently correct.
Remember your brain’s monkey mind is NOT YOU. It’s your brain’s defense mechanisms getting in the way of your experiences. It’s always looking for the threat and the danger when often there are neither. If you want more on this, I would recommend reading “Solve for Happy” (non-affiliate link) by Mo Gawdat. He brings up some very interesting facts about that voice in your head. I’m only a little ways into listening to the audiobook read by him but it’s already been incredibly enlightening.
To keep your mindset on an even keel, be aware of how you are approaching anything that happens to you for only ONE day to start. That means for one day whenever you hear a conclusion being drawn by your mind about something you are to question it. Don’t berate or belittle the voice either. Just ask it “Why do I think that?”
I believe you’ll be amazed at the answers! I don’t think you’ll believe how much stuff you automatically accept with no proof or question! The ones that give you the most trouble, write them down so you can move on and return to them tomorrow if possible.
I think you’ll find it very cleansing to realize you really haven’t made that many bad decisions alone. You just didn’t question them enough when you made the decision.
Try it for ONE day. I know this is not something you can do all day, every day or you’d get nothing done-LOL!
Take the lessons you learn from this short exercise and use it to open up your mind in the future when considering a course of action.
The next two will be much easier than the first but following its same process.
How often do you start your day and you’re a couple of hours into it before you realize you’ve been on autopilot?
Don’t get me wrong. We need systems and procedures to be able to move towards our dreams. Humans crave processes because it helps quiet the chaos that is what their minds are in most of the time. It brings order to our universes.
However, when we set a course of action and adhere to single process for too long we risk doing something for its own sake instead of furthering our pursuit.
All I ask here is as you move through your day bring the same level of mindfulness to it by asking yourself from time to time why you are doing something.
For instance, you find yourself knee deep in email at 8 AM. Instead of just “pushing through it”, why don’t you ask yourself two questions.
Why am I doing this? Why am I doing this now?
I believe these two questions alone will open up your mind to accepting that your habit may not be serving you. If it’s not, change or delete it.
In the case of email I’m pretty sure you can’t just decide to stop doing it. However, you may find there is a much better time to be doing it.
Open your mind up to the possibility that you can make a change for the better.
If there were any single area where we entrepreneurs excel at beating ourselves up about it’s got to be inaction hands down. How many times are you unable to concentrate on a project because you can’t shake that nagging feeling you’re worthless?
Worthless? Of course you don’t think you’re worthless. Or do you?
Maybe worthless is a bit strong. However, every time you put yourself down for something you haven’t started, moved along on or completed, you’re making the same type of judgement about yourself. Semantics are not really important when it comes to infecting your mindset. Whether you say you’re just “a little lazy” sometimes or believe you’re a complete loser, the effect on your current work suffers.
In the same way as the others, ask yourself WHY you’re not doing something.
Is it because you’re afraid? Very likely.
Is it because you’re a worthless human being? NOT likely.
Could it maybe be because the action is not one that you really believe you’re any good at? Or not one you truly believe serves you?
These are important questions to ask yourself. What I’ve found many times after I’ve moved past the fear that’s blocking me that the action is really not something that’s going to help me. Once we step past the naming and blaming we can finally see the inaction for what it is: an indication of trouble.
Take some time to think through these difficult decisions and, by all means, write them down too. Look at them again when you’re maybe not so emotionally charged about them.
I’m a firm believer that we must take 100% responsibility for our lives. I also understand that we need to have some remedial process that allows us to take a look at what we’re thinking, doing or not doing and decide if these things are working for us right now. Writing trouble spots down and going back to them later is very useful. As is being kind to yourself and not accepting your brain’s banter about how lowly you are for anything you’re thinking, doing or not doing wrong.
I hope this article has been helpful for you. If you’ve enjoyed it, please share it using the buttons below. Leave me a comment and let me know which of these areas is tripping you up the most right now.