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A Challenge: Taking Responsibility

“Take Responsibility.” This simple phrase has such a deep impact yet few people ever stop to ponder. Be a responsible adult, don’t go out drinking on a Wednesday night. Be a responsible citizen, don’t litter. Be a responsible employee, don’t spend all day on Facebook.
The purpose of responsibility is to really take ownership of one’s actions and decisions. Example: boredom. One of my friends loves the phrase “Bored people are boring,” but I like “Bored people are not taking responsibility for their current situation.”
Jane turns to Joe and says: “I’m bored.” Whose responsibility is it to cure Jane’s boredom? Joe’s? Jane is the person who is bored. Jane is the person who is making the decisions to be bored. Being bored is an excuse. It’s an excuse that propagates more boredom. Although the choice is generally not conscious, it is still a choice. She is choosing to not find something better to do.
For months, I have been plagued by the problem of boredom at work. I started a new position where my roles and responsibilities are incredibly vague as I am creating the position from scratch. Most people, even those with whom I work closely, do not know how I can be of use. Given little direction, I made the (unconscious) decision to slide into boredom. I used the excuse, "No one has given me a project,” to defend my boredom. I would tell my friends and family as if I had no other choice than to be bored. In reality, I was not taking responsibility for my boredom. In reality, I caused my plight and was refusing to take responsibility for my (in)actions. I made excuses instead of taking responsibility.
Responsibility is such a simple idea yet very few of us actually take responsibility in our daily lives. Responsibility extends beyond finding projects at work or filling your spare time. It extends to our spending habits. It extends into our politics. Our society makes excuses, and I challenge you. Take responsibility.


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  • Apr 29 2013: Hi Linda!

    I totally get what you mean. If there's one truism about being human, it's that we are responsible for our own happiness.

    I was a victim of a car crash about ten years ago, and it took me years before I could 'take responsibility' for my own happiness, without blaming someone else for my misery. Sure, I had an actual someone to blame, but it kept me in a self-fulfilling prophecy - I was a victim Someone made me that victim, and I felt very comfortable about blaming him for as long as I could instead of confronting myself and taking that 'dive into the lake of me'.

    When not only my own health but my marriage began to suffer, I had no choice but to take responsibility. I want to stress the fact that I had no choice - continuing on the downward spiral of self-loathing caused by playing the victim for so many years was simply not an option. It took me years to climb out of that role, but I am aware every single day of the destructive patterns lingering in my psyche, that are ready to take over the moment I let my guard down.

    I realize this is more extreme than 'boredom' at work. The point I am making has to do with our overall happiness as human beings, and that there is only one individual who is responsible for that.
    • Apr 30 2013: Lizanne,

      I love it. Not the car crash part but the responsibility part. Sometimes it takes a downward spiral to help us wake up, but truly we have the decision to be complacent in our daily lives or take responsibility and take actions to make changes. It can be difficult because it requires a good amount of self reflection but don't you feel better living a conscious, responsible life knowing in which you are in control?

      Good job and keep it up!

      • Apr 30 2013: Absolutely Linda!
        Also, in knowing that I am in control of taking control, but not in control of what life may toss at me... Which helps me enjoy its little serendipities... ;)

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