“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our minds.” - Bob Marley Redemtion Song
What is the initial stepping stone for personal development?
This question bothered me for some time now. I don’t mean external factors like a lucky gain on something or a very negative experience we had that shaped our life. I’m talking about what has to happen internally inside ourselves. What interested me was always to look inside first, to live inside-out. How do we run the inner “program” to function in a best possible way, to enable ourselves to grow and expand?
For me I came to a conclusion. I think there is nothing more important as a first step, than taking full responsibility for what happens in our life. A lot of what we describe as success in life flows directly from it. Or you could say only the responsible person enables him- or herself to get to the next level of personal development.
So to sum it up in one sentence: You are responsible! You are responsible for everything that happens in your life. For everything you are happy with and everything you are not happy with. You simply must accept the fact, that everything that is around you right now is the direct effect of who you are, of who you were to that very moment.
There is a very illustrative saying here: “To the person you give responsibility, you give power.” – That is also the power over you. So better let this person be yourself, at least in the important areas of your life. Taking responsibility is the starting point for growth in your life. It is looking inside and realizing that if you want the world around you to get better, you will have to get better. And it is fun to change for the better once you see that you will make progress in a desirable direction.
If you haven’t taken full responsibility in your life, then somehow you are still waiting for “real life” to begin. This may sound a bit cruel, but really that is the essence of what it is. Something has to happen, something is not yet quit right, and something is holding you back. And in a way this is true: you are holding yourself back!
The mind-set of the irresponsible person is that there is someone out there who is responsible. Who might that be? Look at this very statement and combine it with the quote above. Then you realize that you give power away to an illusion, an imaginary someone that in reality must be yourself. There is nobody else to blame; not the politicians, not the boss in the office or the “people on top”. There really is only you who is responsible for your life. If you claim this, then you move to a powerful position.
Wikipedia has also an interesting description about responsibility:
Responsibility assumption is a doctrine in the personal growth field holding that each individual has substantial or total responsibility for the events and circumstances that befall them in their life. While there is little that is notable about the notion that each person has at least some role in shaping their experience, the doctrine of responsibility assumption posits that the individual’s mental contribution to his or her own experience is substantially greater than is normally thought. (see Wikipedia on the responsibility assumption)
Sometimes there is the misperception that if you take responsibility, especially when you are with other people (i.e. in a working environment) you will be the stupid one who have to stand for what he said now. But that is only looking at it in the short term. You must realize that with the so-called “burden of responsibility” comes the freedom of living your life fully, if you go through with it.
If you take responsibility over and over again in a people-environment, you will advance. You build trust among people and you will become a leader in this group sooner or later. The more important fact is, that you will become a leader for yourself. You come to the personal development by expanding on the demands you set on yourself, by saying I take responsibility and I commit to this fully, you grow inevitably. In a working environment eventually you will be recognized by your boss, bosses love people who take responsibility, and will be able to advance.
How to Take Control
Simply get clear and say to yourself: I am responsible! And you mean it. Don’t take this light-hearted. There will be a certain feeling attached to this if you really mean it. Most likely it will be a sensation of surrendering to the situation, accepting it and at the same time the build up of potential energy to act in a way to change the situation to where you want it to be.
Also there might be a resistance to this from somewhere inside yourself. It may come as rationalization, which means an internal dialog that is justifying why you are not responsible: “Someone else is responsible for my situation, they did this and that …”. Remember: Whoever you give responsibility for your life, you give the power over your life. You don’t want to do that, do you? Sure another person should also take responsible actions, but you are concerned with yourself here. You want to move yourself into power.
So push through this resistance. Only you can decide to get in the driving seat of your life, so just do it.
5 Steps to Take Responsibility Right Now
1. Where do you need to take responsibility?
What is the thing that is holding you back the most in your life right now?
Write it down: _______________________
2. Realize and say to yourself:
“I am responsible!” several times until it feels completely true.
3. Feel how you take full responsibility in this issue.
There is a certain tension building up and a potential of energy that is empowering, because you are in charge now and know, that you are now able to change the situation.
Make a first list of the things you will do now: _______________________
Start with the first item on the list now (or as soon as possible).
If you’ve done it and really commit to it, there is a whole new world opening. You then can begin to permanently eliminate your limiting thoughts and know that you’re deserving every little success you make. Because you took responsibility.