There are many factors that contribute to your life-long success.
How you manage your time, your self-talk, your perseverance over trials and failures, and so on – all of those are factors.
However, while all of these are important, there’s one key that I consider most important. In fact, your ability to follow this key affects your ability in all of the other factors. What is it?
The number one key to life-long success that precedes everything is that you have to take 100% full personal responsibility for your life.
You have to take 100% responsibility for everything that happens in your life. You have to take hold of the fact that where you are today is because of the choices you made before, and where you will be tomorrow is because of the choices you make today.
It’s not someone else’s fault. Where you are at now is because of you.
There’s power in that.
Because, if you got to where you are now because of the choices you made in the past, it also means that you can change where you are by making different choices.
You may know the saying “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?” Well, the great truth of that statement is the reverse:
If we don’t like where we are going are where we are, then we can change it by doing something different.
And to do that, you have to take 100% personal responsibility for your life.
Too often we give up the power of self-responsibility
The principle of 100% responsibility sounds simple and basic; however, it’s not always easy, and many, many people live their lives in mediocrity and in not reaching their full potential because they don’t take responsibility.
It’s often easier to pass that responsibility to someone or something else.
So how do we pass on that responsibility? What traps and keeps us from taking responsibility?
The three biggies are blame, excuses, and complaining.
Many people lay blame for where they are at in life. The blame something or someone else for their level of wealth or their level of success or the conditions they are in.
They may blame the government and its policies, they may blame their parents and their upbringing, they may blame their spouse and their attitude, they may blame their boss and their arrogance.
They blame everyone and everything for the situations they are in and the state of life they are in except for the one person they should look at – themselves.
And that’s sad for multiple reasons.
For one, when you cast blame, you are surrendering your power, abilities, and life into the power of something or someone else. You are saying that they have control over you and that you are powerless.
When you say that someone “makes you angry”, you are saying that that person has complete control over you and you are powerless to do anything about it.
When you blame your boss for your unhappiness at work, you are submitting control of your happiness to your boss and saying you are powerless to do anything about it.
When you blame the government or your parents or certain circumstances for not reaching your dreams or goals, you are saying that you are a victim to them, that you are powerless, that theirs is nothing you can do.
Too many people surrender their entire lives into the control of others – they are like a blade of grass, tossed by the wind, having no control over their lives.
And to be honest and straightforward: That is a miserable state to live in, having no control over anything in your life!
And here’s another danger of blame:
When we cast blame, when we always look outside of ourselves for the state we are in or the circumstances we caused, we don’t learn or grow.
When we constantly blame others for our mistakes, the negatives that happen in life, for our attitudes and how we react (such as in anger), we miss out on the opportunity to learn from those mistakes and situations and to grow. We miss out on the chance to learn what went wrong and how we can do it differently.
And because we blamed instead of learning, what happens? We stay in the same spot, in the same conditions, except maybe a little bit more miserable because we consider ourselves victims to our circumstances and those around us.
How can we get out those negatives if we don’t take responsibility and learn from them? We can’t!
Look to yourself
Instead of looking external for where you are at, your conditions, your circumstances, and your attitudes, look inward. Look toward yourself.
Stop blaming others and take responsibility for where you are at, how you act, and the choices you made.
Only by doing this will you be able to learn, grow and move forward and get out of those circumstances you don’t want to be in.
It may hurt to take responsibility in your life. It may hurt and sting to fess up to the fact that you are the cause of being where you are at.
But it’s worth it.
And it’s how you get out of those circumstances as well.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
What choices did I make got me here?
What can I do differently next time?
What steps do I need to take to move past this?
What can I learn from this?
How can I react differently?
What should I be doing differently?
It also can be easy to make excuses when we see ourselves not where we want to be or to explain our actions.
In fact, blame and excuses often go hand in hand. The blame is used as an excuse. “If someone else didn’t…” or “If my parents…”
Other excuses may include:
The situation was too tough. The weather wasn’t right. We are just having a bad break. We just weren’t born “privileged” or “lucky” like others.
Excuses are deadly to success.
One reason people don’t pursue what they want and make excuses is that they fear other’s opinions. They worry about what people will think or how they will react.
Is that you?
The fear of others has held back many people from the success they could have had. And that is sad.
Truth is, when you pursue something worthwhile, when you start taking responsibility, when you stop placing blame or complaining, when you take steps to pursue your dreams and the success you want, you will be criticized.
Why? Because you make them uncomfortable. When you take responsibility and start moving toward your goals, it makes them look bad for not doing so.
So they tear you down. They tell you that you are stupid for doing so. That it should never work. That you should get back with reality. That you can never be rich. That you can never achieve your dreams. That it’s just a wish.
Don’t listen. Don’t.
Though this is another topic of discussion, one thing you may have to do is to limit or stop contact with people like that and start surrounding yourself with other successful people.
It’s been said you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. If you constantly hang around the negative time, they are likely to pull you down.
Here’s another hard truth:
Often excuses are just reasons people give to make themselves feel better for not being where they want to be.
It makes you feel a lot better making an excuse for your current status than to fess up to the fact that it was your choices that led you there.
And another sad fact is that, when you start telling those lies, at first you may know it’s a lie. But, over time, you start believing the lie as truth. And that’s sad and dangerous.
Now you might say, but people are born with “privilege” and some people do have “lucky breaks”.
Fact: People will always be born in different situations with different levels and ease of immediate opportunity. Some people will always have to work harder.
You can use that as an excuse for staying in mediocrity, or you get over it and do the extra work to get to where you want to go.
There’s always someone “better off” and “worse off”. If you live in the USA or a 1st world country, no matter your level of income, you are better off than many in many other countries. And the fact that you are reading this…. Many can’t read!
It doesn’t matter who is “better off” or “worse off”. Those are just excuses. What matters is what you do, wherever you are. People have come from poverty and terrible situations and become hugely successful in life.
You can find two people from the exact situation, poor or rich or good or bad environment, and you get two different results.
Because it’s not about the circumstance you come from, it’s about the choices you make within those circumstances.
Here are a few examples:
I had some foster kids who I had told one time that to make a business, find a need and fill it. What did they do? One took some candy to lunch at his school and sold it. He made about $10-15 in one day.
The other later told me he had been selling pokemon cards at school.
That was just them trying to make some extra cash. Beyond that, they both also were great kids who made good choices. They chose to take responsibility and make the best out of their circumstances.
They didn’t use the fact that they were in foster care as an excuse. They took personal responsibility for their lives and choices instead of blaming and making excuses.
Jim Stovall, the author of Ultimate Productivity, went blind when he was in his 20’s. Now if there ever is an excuse or something to blame, that would be it, right?
Nope. He goes through one book a day with an accelerated tape player. He started a TV station for the blind. He’s written multiple books, one which became a movie.
He didn’t blame. He took personal responsibility and changed where he was.
Stop making excuses in your life.
It might make you feel better temporarily, but it keeps you where you are at and from getting to where you want to go.
What excuses are you making right now? What lies are you believing that you’ve told yourself over and over?
It’s time to face the facts and take responsibility.
If you want to be successful in life, you’ve got to commit: No Excuses! Ever.
Sometimes, instead of doing what we need to do about a circumstance, we complain about it.
Have you noticed that?
I like what Jack Canfield says about complaining in his book The Success Principles.
He says that we only complain about things that we know something better exists, that something could be different, that we could do something about.
“So, you have this image of something better and you know you would prefer it, but you are unwilling to take the risks required to create it.”
Something is happening in our life that we can do, but instead of taking steps to fix it or deal with it, we complain.
Because it involves risk.
It takes risks to fix or achieve what we want. We risk ridicule, failure, and so on.
So instead, we complain about it to try to make ourselves feel better.
And the sad part is, when people complain about something, it usually to the person or persons that can do something about it?
Ha. No. Of course not. We complain to everyone else!
It feels good to get the pity party going and getting other people on our pity and anger bandwagon.
You see it all the time on Facebook. I sometimes just avoid it because I don’t want that kind of negativity in my life.
Complaining may make you feel good (temporarily), but it doesn’t solve anything.
You stay exactly where you are at.
If you want to change that, you have to stop complaining, take the risk, and do what you need to do to fix what you are complaining about.
Stop complaining, stop blaming, stop making excuses, and take action. Take responsibility to make the change.
You can’t control events, but you can control your response
Now you may be saying “How can I take 100% control of my life? I can’t control who I was born to or all the circumstances that happen to me.”
That is true!
You are right. You can’t.
However, you can always control your response.
In his book, Jack Canfield gives this formula that he received from Dr. Robert Resnick:
O = E + R
Outcome = Event + Response
The outcome of anything that happens in your life is equal to the event itself and your response to it.
You see, it’s not the event that controls you. It’s your response to the event. You can’t always change the event, but you can change your response. You can change how you react and the choices you make.
You can change your actions, your thoughts, and your mentality. You can choose to learn and grow.
What’s great about this truth is that, if you don’t like where you are at, all you need to do is change your response!
If you don’t like your circumstances, change your response!
If you don’t like how your boss is treating you, instead of giving him that power, choose a different response (a positive one, of course)!
You can’t control your spouse, but you can always control how you react to your spouse.
You can’t control who your parents were, but you can choose how you react and your choices despite who they were.
You can’t control the economy, but you can choose how you will respond despite whether it’s good or bad.
It’s all your choice. You can’t always change the events, what happens to you. But you can always choose how you react to those events.
You can take personal responsibility for yourself.
If you want to be successful and change your circumstances, you have to take 100% responsibility for yourself.
Where you are at now is because of the choices you made in the past, and where you will be tomorrow is because of the choices you start making today.
You have to cut out blaming others or circumstances and always look inward.
You have to stop making excuses and take responsibility.
You have to stop complaining and take the risk and responsibility to fix and change the situation.
You can’t always change what happens to you, but you can always choose your response to it.
Now someone of you may be saying, “yeah, but..”
And guess what? You can add the “yeah, but..” and put your circumstance or situation in it.
But it’s an excuse.
All of this is your choice. Personal responsibility is your choice. You can choose not to do it.
You can continue to blame others, luck, and circumstances. You can continue to make excuses and complain.
But don’t expect your circumstances to change.
However, if you really want to move forward in your life toward greater success, take responsibility for yourself 100%.
Make it a rule from now on: No Blaming, No Excuses, No Complaining.
Say to yourself: “I take 100% responsibility for my life. Where I am at now is because of my choices, and where I will be in the future is because of my choices as well.”
Will you do that?
I hope so. It will be the beginning of a great journey for you.
Let me know below if you are going to make the decision to take 100% for your life.