Do you take 100% responsibility for your life? Do you live your life as a victor? Or as a victim?
I’ve been learning from Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) since 2008. Following Jack’s teachings, I’ve enjoyed many successes in my life including starting a career as a writer and authoring or co-authoring more than 35 books that have helped tens of thousands of people get certified and get ahead in their careers. I credit much of my success to applying principles that he teaches in my life. He recently appeared on an Oprah Winfrey Super Soul Sunday show and I decided to go through his book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” again, covering one principle a week. When inspired, I’ll create a post for the principle such as this one.
Principle #1 is “take 100% responsibility for your life” and you can summarize it with two simple phrases:
- No blaming
- No complaining
When I take 100% responsibility, I realize that I am responsible for everything that occurs in my life. Those are tough words to adopt but they are very powerful.
In reality, the real source of all the problems in my life is me and once I truly believe that, I realize that all the solutions to my problems are within me too.
I know that some people insist they cannot take 100% responsibility for their life because there are always outside influences that they can’t control. However, we can all take 100% responsibility for our responses to the events in our lives. As the old saying goes “You may not be able to control what happens to you, but you can control your response.”
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”
– Charles Swindoll
Blaming and Complaining
Have you ever been around someone that constantly blames others for their problems and complains about just about everything? They get passed over for a promotion and blame coworkers or their boss for sabotage. Give them a gift of a $100 bill and they’ll complain it’s wrinkled.
These people just aren’t fun to be around – unless you also like to blame and complain.
Alternatively, have you spent any time with people that have eliminated blaming and complaining in their lives. The same events happen in their lives, but their perspective makes the outcome completely different. If they get passed over for a promotion, they will try to understand why and what they can do differently. They look for the value in the experience. Give them a gift, and they will be genuinely grateful.
Have You Ever Failed a Test?
Have you ever failed a test?
I have. Years ago, I failed the Security+ exam the first time I took it.
It was a humbling experience. I didn’t fail because the material was beyond my grasp. I had been working in IT for several years, and regularly taught Microsoft MCSE certification courses around the country. Many of these courses included advanced security topics.
No, I failed it because I took the exam for granted. I believed people that told me the exam was easy. Of course, anything is easy when you know it and they knew the material so it was easy for them. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the material so it wasn’t easy for me.
After failing it, I could have blamed the people that said it was easy, or blamed CompTIA for creating a tricky test, or blamed the test center for having too much noise, or blamed an endless number of other people that weren’t at fault. Similarly, I could have complained just because I had to take the exam again.
Instead, I took 100% responsibility for failing the exam. I dug into the objectives trying to gain a better understanding of what the exam was testing. I looked for different study materials that had good reviews. I spent a significant amount of time and energy doing my best to master the topics.
Within about a month, I retook the exam and passed it.
The exam didn’t change. Instead, I changed my approach to the exam.
Victim or Victor?
While studying this principle this week, I was struck with the thought that many people choose to live their lives as victims or victors.
Victims do not take 100% responsibility for their lives. When something bad happens to them, they blame and complain.
Victors take 100% responsibility for their lives. When something bad happens to them, they look for what they can learn and seek to overcome the challenge in front of them.
I learned this principle many years ago, but I can’t claim to have kept it clear in my mind all the time. However, my intent is to live my life as a victor and squash all of the blaming and complaining thoughts as soon as they appear.
How about you?
Are you choosing to live your life as a victim or a victor?