Take responsibility for your life

Are you a product of your circumstances? Has the path your life has taken been determined largely by forces beyond your control?

Even if this is the case, stop believing it. Persuade yourself that you’re in control of your life.

A responsibility avoidance mentality has a seductive allure. If you aren’t in control then it’s not your fault you don’t have the life you want. If you can convince yourself that your flaws and mistakes somehow lie outside your identity, your ego can remain safe. This creates an incentive to run from problems, or act like they don’t exist, or pretend that your choices and actions don’t matter.

This is exactly the wrong approach. These tactics delegate only control, not responsibility. The responsibility for your life still resides within you. Having a victim mentality, blaming external circumstances for your problems, believing it’s not within your power to change, is the surest way to avoid improving your life.

Examine your beliefs to see if this mentality is coloring your views. Do you think personalities are set in stone, and that people just don’t change? Do you attribute the success of others to their innate genius or to dumb luck, rather than their hard work? Do you blame your past for your present, or even your future?

There is a statute of limitations on wrongs inflicted on you by your parents, or your schooling, or society. Once you’re old enough to take the wheel and steer, you become responsible for the direction you’re heading.

It’s tempting to abdicate control and let the fates decide what path life takes. But the belief that our lives are subject to some unalterable master plan is disempowering. Don’t use destiny as an excuse for not taking responsibility for your own life. Take responsibility for both your actions and your inactions.

Here’s a harmful conception of destiny: “It doesn’t matter what I do. It’s predetermined.” Replace it with this: “I am destined for greatness. I’ve been given the power to do amazing things. But it’s up to me to make it happen.” Waiting for fate is like believing God has given you the gift of sight and then expecting Him to do the seeing for you.

Also don’t pretend that your decisions are being made for you. People say or think “I have to” or “I need to” far too often. Often when we don’t want to choose, we allege necessity, treating inner forces and constraints as outer. But that’s another attempt to avoid responsibility.

To change what’s wrong in your life, you must believe you’re the one in control. Don’t blame, complain, or criticize. Accept full responsibility for everything in your life, whether you caused it or not; even external problems can have internal solutions. Taking responsibility for your life will empower you, foster success, and heighten self-esteem, all of which lead to increased happiness.

Think of yourself as a creator, not an acceptor. An owner, not a victim. Accept responsibility for who you are, who you will become, the choices you make, and the consequences that result. Hold yourself accountable.

The more you follow the tips on this site, the more successful you’ll be, and the more proud you’ll be to take responsibility for who you’ve become. You’ll free yourself from perfectionism and will learn to view mistakes as necessary stepping stones toward success, and in doing so you will have removed most of the reasons others have for avoiding responsibility. Your life will become so good that having a victim mentality just won’t make sense.

Today's Activity

  • What are the 5 biggest problems in your life, the things preventing you from living a dramatically better life? What are the causes of each of those problems? Do you see those problems as being caused by other people and external circumstances, or by you? Do you expect the solutions to those problems to be external or internal?
  • Bring awareness to your thoughts, words, and actions, and notice when you fall into a victim mentality or act as if your decisions are beyond your control.