Smart College Career Move #9: Choose Personal Responsibility Over Blame


SCCM #9The one certainty in life is that things will happen–some good and some not. Resist choosing the role of victim, and all of the emotional baggage that goes with it, when you are personally sideswiped by adversity. Instead, take the high road and immediately accept responsibility for your part in what has happened.

The most important reason for accepting responsibility for everything that happens in your life is to maintain control of your personal power and energy. Blame gives your power and energy away to the event, leading to feelings of helplessness, feeling out of control, resignation, regret, guilt, despair, and possibly even depression. What’s important to remember is that you can never change anything that’s already happened, only react or respond to it. Accepting responsibility empowers you to accept something for what it is—an event from which you can learn—leaving you free to devise creative solutions, actively work through what has happened, or respond in a way that helps you remain empowered.

The key to successfully using this principle is to use it in every situation, not just a select few.  Aside from feeling empowered, choosing the path of personal responsibility has several ancillary benefits. You reduce your level of stress, take immediate control of your time, add years to your life, and experience a sense of fulfillment.

A highly successful multi-millionaire once told me that taking personal responsibility for every event in his life was the reason for his happiness, personal and business success, and abundant wealth. I see it as the ultimate leadership tool!

A friend of mine who hires employees for the government confided that he likes to ask prospective new hires to describe one of their biggest challenges and how they overcame it. Wouldn’t it be great to preface your answer by telling the interviewer that one of your life principles is to accept responsibility for what happens in your life, because it allows you to rise above what’s happened, see it from a different perspective, and deal with it more effectively? Begin accepting responsibility for what happens in your life and see how empowered you feel.