Hang on this might sting a bit
Every once in a while we get a life lesson that hits us when we least expect it. It has such conviction to it we dont always feel ready to hear it; and often fight against or run from it. That’s what happened to me when I read a book called “The Success Principles,” by Jack Canfield. (Author of the chicken soup for the soul books).
The first chapter hit me right in the gut, and I had to put it down for about 6 months before picking it back up again; I wasn’t ready to face the truth of what it was saying to me. I wasn’t ready to admit that my life, ever single bit of it, was a direct result of my choices that I made and the choices that I keep making. I wasn’t ready to stop blaming the people in my life that had hurt and disappointed me. I wasn’t ready to admit that I was the reason I wasn’t happy, wasn’t successful, and wasn’t where I wanted to be in life. This is not an easy thing to accept – I am 100 percent responsible for my life – All of it…
Yes things happened to me, and yes people did hurt me, but my outcomes and all the choices I made after that were made by me. And the end result is that I am where I am primarily because of my reactions, my feelings and my decisions. I would love to keep blaming my ex, my boss, my family members and even God; but at the end of the day, if I am being honest, I had a lot to do with where I ended up.
I have met many people that have had very bad things happen to them – unfair things, and I am astounded at how they have persevered, endured and have overcome to become amazing people. Instead of focusing on the negatives, they truly rose up and made lemonade out of their lemons. They took 100% responsibility for what they could and created lives for themselves that humble most. I have much respect for these people. This blog isn’t directed to you. This is for the person that could have, but didn’t. The one who sat on the couch or in the bar night after night and didn’t do anything and now wonders why, and blames others.
If you are not where you want to be, who you want to be, and how you want to be – then YOU can probably do something to change that right now. It isn’t going to be easy; if it was easy then you would have done it already I’m sure. If we committed ourselves to no more excuses, no more blaming others and no more feeling sorry for ourselves today, how different would our lives look in a month? 6 months? 1 year?
In order to successfully do this, then we need to take 100% responsibility for our lives.
Take 100% Responsibility for your life by Jack Canfield (paraphrased)
One of the most pervasive myths in the American culture today is that we are entitled to a great life – that somehow, somewhere, someone (certainly not us) is responsible for filling our lives with continual happiness, exciting career options, nurturing family time, and blissful personal relationships simply because we exist
But the real truth- and the one lesson this whole book is based on – there is only one person responsible for the quality of life you live. That person is you.
If you want to be successful then you have to take 100% responsibility for everything that you experience in your life. This includes the level of your achievements, the results you produce, the quality of your relationships, the state of your health and physical fitness, your income, your debts, your feelings – everything!
In fact most of us have been conditioned to blame things outside of ourselves for the parts of our life we don’t like. We blame our parents, our bosses, our friends, the media, our coworkers, our clients, our spouse, the weather, the economy, our astrological chart, and our lack of money – Anyone or anything we can pin the blame on. We never want to look at where the real problem is – ourselves.
You have got to give up all your excuses
If you want to create the life of your dreams then you are going to have to take 100% responsibility for your life as well. This means giving up all of your excuses, all your victim stories all the reasons why you can’t and why you haven’t up until now, and all your blaming of outside circumstances. You have to give them all up forever.
You have to take the position that you have always had the power to make it different, to get it right, to produce the desired result. For whatever reason, ignorance, lack of awareness, fear, needing to be right, the need to feel safe – you chose not to exercise that power. Who knows why? It doesn’t matter. The past is the past. All that matters now is that you choose – that’s right it’s a choice – you choose to act as if (that’s all that is required is to act as if) you are 100% responsible for everything that does or doesn’t happen to you.
If something doesn’t work out as planned, will you ask yourself, “How did I create this?” “What was I thinking?” “What were my beliefs?” “What did I say or not say?” “What did I do or not do to create that result?” “What do I need to do differently next time to get the results that I want?”
Everything you experience today is the result of choices you made in the past
Everything you experience in life – both internally and externally – is the result of how you have responded to a previous event.
You are given a $400 bonus, you spend it on night on the town, and you’re broke
You are given a $400 bonus, you invest it, and you have increased your net worth
You only have control over 3 things in your life – the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions you take (your behavior). How you use these 3 things determines everything you experience. If you don’t like what you are doing or experiencing then you have to change your responses. Change your negative thoughts to positive ones. Change what you day dream about. Change your habits. Change what you read. Change your friends. Change how you talk.
You have to give up blaming
You will never become successful as long as you continue to blame someone or something else for your lack of success. If you are going to be a winner, you have to acknowledge the truth – it is YOU that took the actions, thought the thoughts, created the feelings, and made the choices that got you where you are now. It was you.
You are the one that ate the junk food
You are the one that didn’t say no
You are the one that took the job
You are the one that stayed in the job
You are the one that chose to believe them
You are the one that ignored your intuition
You are the one who abandoned your dream
You are the one that didn’t take care of it
You are the one that decided to do it alone
You are the one who trusted him
In short, you thought the thoughts, you created the feelings, you made the choice, you said the words, and that is why you are where you are now.
You’re complaining to the wrong person
Have you ever noticed that most people almost always complain to the wrong people – to people who can’t do anything about their complaint? They go to work and complain about their spouse; then they come home and complain to their spouse about the people at work. Why? Because that’s easier; it’s less risky. It takes courage to ask for a behavioral change. It also takes courage to ask your boss to plan better so you don’t end up working every weekend. But only your boss can do anything about that – Your spouse cant.
Learn to replace complaining with making requests and taking action that will achieve your desired outcomes. This is what successful people do. If you find yourself in a situation that you don’t like, either work to make it better or leave. Do something to change it or get the heck out. Agree to work on the relationship or split. Work to improve working conditions or find a new job. Either way, you will get a change. As the old adage says, ‘Don’t just sit there ( and complain), do something about!” And remember that it is up to you to make the change, to do something different. The world doesn’t owe you anything. You have to create it.
You either create or allow everything that happens to you
To be powerful you need to take the position that you either create or allow everything that happens to you. By ‘Create’ I mean you directly cause something to happen by your actions or inactions.
If you say something rude to a big drunk man he will punch you out – you created that. That’s an easy one. How about if you work late night after night, you’re burned out, eat in a coma, sit in front of the tv because you are to wiped to play or walk with the kids, and this goes on for years. Your wife wants to talk and connect but you keep saying “later.” Then one day you come home to an empty house and a note that said she left you. You created that one too.
Other times we simply allow things to happen to us by our inactions or our unwillingness to do what is necessary to create and maintain what we want.
- You didn’t follow through on your threat to the kids to take away privliges, and now the house looks like a war zone
- You didn’t demand to go to counselling or leave when he hit you, and now you are still getting hit.
- You didn’t attend any sales or motivational seminars because you were too busy, and now the new kid just won the top sales award.
- You didn’t maintain the car, and now you are sitting on the side of the road with your car broken down.
- You didn’t go back to school and now you are being passed over for the job.
Realize that you are not the victim here. You stood passively by and let it happen. You didn’t say anything, make a request, make a demand, say no, try something new or leave.
Pay attention… Your results don’t lie
The easiest, fastest, and best way to find out what is or isn’t working is to pay attention to the results you are currently producing. You are either rich or you are not. You either command respect or you don’t. You’re either golfing at par or you don’t. You are either maintaining your ideal body weight or you are not. You either have what you want or you don’t. It’s that simple. Results don’t lie.
You have to give up the excuses and justifications and come to terms with the results that you are producing. If you are under quota or over weight, all the great reasons in the world won’t change that. The only thing that will change your results is to change your behavior. Prospect more, change your sales presentation, change your diet, consume fewer calories, exercise more frequently – these are things that will make a difference. But you have to first be willing to look at the results you are producing. The only starting point that works is reality.
So start paying attention to what is so. Look around at your life and the people in it. Are you and they happy? Is there balance, beauty, comfort, and ease? Do your systems work? Are you getting what you want? Is your net worth increasing? Are your grades satisfactory? Are you healthy, fit and pain free? Are you getting better in all the areas of your life? If not, then something needs to happen, and only you can make it happen.
Don’t kid yourself. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself. Take your own inventory.
The Success principles: How to get from where you are to where you want to be
This paraphrased chapter from his book might upset some people and might inspire some people. The intention of it is to encourage us to take more responsibility of our lives if we can, and live to our fullest potential.
Its not easy, but the results wont lie.