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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 27 2013: Taking responsibility of something you don't know about is usually not a good idea. If you are new to the job you need to find out what is needed. Typically in this situation people assume they know. The first thing to know is that you don't know.
    • Apr 30 2013: Pat,

      Taking responsibility requires recognizing what one knows and does not know. In my example, while I still do not know exactly what is required of me, it is my responsibility to find these things out, not the responsibility of my manager to tell them to me. By taking that responsibility upon myself, I can make sure that I succeed because no one else will.


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