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As the great Eleanor Roosevelt once stated, “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” Responsibility can be broad range of different perspectives when defined. Although, many may look to themselves first to depict their definition of responsibility it does not always mean what others may know it to mean. Responsibility is being accountable for our own actions and that no one else is managing our efforts for us. It becomes the base ability, which defines how we react to everyday and not-so everyday situations. It defines how well we develop life skills. It governs our ability to have a good work ethic, good workout routine, or to quit a bad habit. We make the choices, about everything, and are responsible every day for something. Whether it is a child, a pet, a job, or all of the above, we all have something in our lives we value that takes dedicating some type of discipline to maintain. These responsibilities are ours and no one else’s.
Responsibility reflects our own character especially when it comes down to how others may perceive us. It is very important to develop good habits when it comes to responsibility because it is believed that it is also a big part of the process for maturing as an adult. Admitting responsibility shows maturity. Decisions, which we make, can have a huge impact on our life or career choice, which stems from a level of responsibility. The decisions that help lead us to a successful life are all determined by how we treat our own individual responsibility. How we deal with our own responsibility factors into each and every one of those decisions we make on a daily basis. This also incorporates a level of responsibility towards others such as our peers or coworkers. Actions of our responsibility affect others in various environments. There is always an effect to someone else, directly or indirectly, by the level of responsibility we take. It has been proven that only looking out for one’s self does not constitute a right way of thinking or managing affairs.
The part that we play, even as individuals, is often the part of a bigger scheme of things. Accountability for our actions should weigh heavily on our decision making process. Responsible individuals tend to realize that there are consequence to every action and decision. Some of those consequences are good, while some can be very negative. It is responsible of the individual who has the values and responsibility to weigh the options before a decision is made. These decisions are not always life-changing decisions but can be as simple. “Being responsible morally includes an obligation to take an attitude toward life” (Guttman). This means that our morals define who we are, and who we will be. When dealing with our own responsibility, our morals will define the decisions, we make. Our attitude and values play a large role in responsibility as well. How we were brought up, how we were educated, how well we did with social relationships, how ambitious we are, etc. They have been instilled and influenced in us by others in our life.
All these things show our commitment to our own responsibility. Responsibility in knowing the commitment required to reach that goal. It is about the accountability for the impact, a commitment to goals, has on others. In addition, people that are responsible have goals and are always looking for ways to improve themselves. The goals that we pick for ourselves are defined by our morals. Setting what “obtainable goals” and “long-shot goals,” are important in gaining responsibility. Setting obtainable goals for our self is a great way to boost our confidence. The feeling of completing a task that we set out to do our self, feels much better than a task that is assigned to us. Setting long-shot goals is also a great choice in gaining responsibility. Setting a far-fetched goal will set a sense of aggressiveness. By being aggressive in our goal setting, it shows that settling is not an option. Doing this also sets the tone that we are always looking to improve ourselves. These goals make what turns all the effort of becoming educated, into being successful.
“The acceptance of personal responsibility is what separates the adult from the child. It’s the great leap forward into maturity. Responsibility is the hallmark of the fully integrated, fully functioning human being” (Tracy). The level of maturity one has can be determined by how they handle responsibility. The people that have made their minds up, that will not waste time or take for granted the opportunity to be people, are those who can appreciate the challenge of being responsible for the outcomes in the future. Responsibility can develop us as a person as we move towards our goal or desired level of achievements. Although others may influence our life, we are solely responsible for our decisions that we make in life. We must have a positive attitude, and stick to our values and take responsibility for whatever we may do. We have the opportunity to make our own choices. It is important to make a choice that we feel is the best for our self. We tend to make excuses for our behaviors, which is the worst approach one can take.
Sometimes people tend to let other people influence their choices, which is not always the best. No one knows more about what he or she wants than his or her own self. Sometimes other people my try to influence our decision, or make the decision for us, and that is not okay. We need to confront our own decisions, whether the decisions are good or bad. Being responsible helps to strengthen core values as well and can have various types of outcomes to the progressive work and efforts of accomplishments. Some key objectives that can be paired with responsibility are for teams or groups to share vision and communicate effectively. Again, even individual responsibilities work cohesively to realize a shared vision. The people around us, such as coworkers, advisors, and even family members can encourage success, but it falls to us as an individual to put forth the efforts to make time available to achieve our goal.
In, “Taking Charge of Your Life” (n.d.), ” Accepting personal responsibility means acknowledging that you are solely responsible for the choices in your life and that you cannot blame others or make excuses for the choices that you have made.” (para. 1). Thankfully, there are tools available for us that we can use to help reach these goals. One of those tools is time management. Getting good time management is our responsibility in which we can use to develop and strengthen ourselves. Accomplishing tasks in a timely manner is another part of being responsible. Time is a luxury, but can run out when there is a task due. Sometimes, we typically underestimate the time necessary to complete our tasks. This underestimation occurs because people focus on developing a specific plan for the current task and neglect the implications of past failures to meet similar deadlines. A responsible person, knows how much time they have to complete a task, and sets time for it. There are different ways to complete tasks in a timely manner, set them in a calendar, or create a schedule and make time for appointments, tasks or events.
Dependability is also very important part of being responsible. When we complete tasks on time, people count on us. When we work in teams, they depend on us to complete certain tasks. It is important that we complete the task handed to us by our team. Failure to complete certain tasks, fails not only us, but our team members as well. Failure leads to people not wanting to work with us, or team out casting. Finally, when we are given the opportunity to review our performance and revise our strategies prior to something being completed, we are more likely to be seen as effective team members. Being responsible for the outcome of the level of learning, and how well we learn is all up to us and is something to look forward to in order to make high marks while doing it. Part of what fuels my motivation for responsibility is my understanding of personal growth. It has been restated in the book, “The Strangest Secret in the World.” that “as a man thinketh, so is he.” Therefore, my plan for success is totally inhabited by the accountability of my own personal growth.
It is also important to be able to recognize one’s flaws and shortcomings. The ability to admit the need for improvement leads to growth and personal empowerment. This is something I will always try to excel in throughout every aspect of my life. Again, responsibility will develop us, as a mature person, as we strive to reach our goal or desired level of achievements. Jim Rohn said, “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.” Sometimes, the more responsibility we are willing to take, the more we can achieve. Other times, accepting responsibility means making excuses and blaming other people and things for what is going on in our life. Everything we do is a matter of habit, if we get into the habit of making excuses; then we get into the habit of evading responsibility at the same time.
Most people who are irresponsible have low self-esteem, are bad decision makers and allow others to control their lives. Nevertheless, responsibility reflects our own character especially when it comes to how others may perceive us. Responsibility could be one, if not the most important attribute in life. Those who possess it tend to make wiser choices and decisions in life. These wiser decisions are made for the fact that we know that we will be held accountable for our actions. Responsibility is the hallmark of success in all aspects of our life. The individual that makes the wiser decisions in life, tends to be more successful in life. It is established as we grow as an individual, and shows that how we handle things along the way, always lead us to where we are. It is being accountable for our own actions and that no one will take us through every step or action. There can also be cause and effect, with every decision having an impact on others both direct and indirect. We can plan to focus our decisions into disciplining our self and our choices as we examine how they will affect others as well as our self.
Guttmann, D. (2006). Chapter 6: Good and Bad in Proffessional Responsibility. Ethics in Social Work: A context of caring. New York, New York: The Haworth Press. How to Win Friends and Influence People. (2010). 10.
Maxwell, J. C. (2007). The Maxwell Leadership Bible. 2.
Nightengale, E. (2005). The Strangest Secret in the World.
Taking Charge of Your Life. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nicholls.edu/counseling/newsletters/taking-charge-of-your-life/ Tracy, B. (2006-2011). Taking Personal Responsibility. Retrieved from www.successmethods.org/brian_tracy-a19.html