You are totally responsible for your life.
This is the foundational principle you must embrace if you plan for happiness and success in life and work. For many people, everything is someone else’s fault. Every problem can be explained away with reasons why they can’t affect the situation or the outcome, especially at work.
But without taking responsibility, you’re all the more likely to look at your career as a failure because you allowed any passing wind to blow you around, all the while blaming the wind for how things turned out. When you fail to responsibly guide your direction and outcomes, you set the stage for creating a miserable life—a life that fulfils none of your dreams and aspirations.
How to take responsibility for your life
People who take complete responsibility for their lives experience joy and control of circumstances. They are able to make choices because they understand that they are responsible for their choices.
Indeed, even when events that are not under your control go awry, you can at the very least determine how you will react to the event. You can make an event a disaster or you can use it as an opportunity to learn and to grow.
Make no excuses
Excuses for failure, excuses about your choices in life, excuses about what you feel you have accomplished—and what you have not–fuel dysfunctional thinking and consequently, undesirable actions and behaviours.
Making excuses instead of taking one hundred per cent responsibility for your actions, your thoughts, and your goals are the hallmark of people who fail to succeed both in their professional lives and personal lives.
The next time you catch yourself making an excuse, whether for the late project, the unmet goal, or the job you have chosen to work, gently remind yourself—no excuses.
Listen to yourself when you speak.
In your conversation, do you hear yourself blame others for things that don’t go exactly as you want? Do you find yourself pointing fingers at your coworkers or your upbringing, your parent’s influence, the amount of money that you make, or your spouse? Are you making excuses for goals unmet or tasks that missed their deadlines? If you can hear your blaming patterns, you can stop them.
Listen to the voice in your mind. You know the drill. Negative thoughts are overwhelming and they can take control of your mind for days. But, how to get even, how to replay or recast a situation that has already occurred, or how to make excuses or blame others is not powerful, positive thinking.
When your thoughts are negative or unsupportive of your happiness and success, you have to change your thinking. Gently—don’t beat yourself up—redirect your thinking to thoughts that will support your success and happiness. Laugh, if you can, when you think about the time you spent obsessing over matters that are over and completed.
Your thoughts govern the success of your interpersonal interactions. Your thoughts are the headlights illuminating your path in the darkness. They always precede you and your actions. Said Nightingale,
“The mind moves in the direction of our currently dominant thoughts.”