Taking Responsibility For Your Life

Taking Responsibility

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by Jayaram V

It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities. - Josiah Charles Stamp.

You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of. - Jim Rohn.m

For the truth is, we control our life. We control how lucky we are. We create our fortune with our effort. We alone have the power. - Rick Pitino, Basketball Coach.

A politician thinks that it is his duty and responsibility to blame others, while not acknowledging his own - Jayaram V

In a general sense responsibility means honoring the obligation and accountability in performing certain tasks and accepting any consequences arising from it. Taking responsibility means any of the following.

1. Being answerable to the task

2. Having the obligation to satisfy the conditions and produce the results expected

3. Keeping one's promises

4. Accepting the consequences arising from the obligations, be it reward or punishment, praise or blame,

5. Honoring the commitment

6. Taking initiative

7. Showing leadership

8. Owning the task

9. Defending and protecting people and resources for which you are responsible

10. Controlling, delegating, monitoring performance and progress until the obligation is met.

11. Knowing the limits of your duties and responsibilities

12. Following the rules and procedures in force in discharging such duties.

A person's responsibilities can  be categorized as personal, social, moral, legal, political, financial, religious, spiritual or professional. They may arise by birth, from a position of authority, social background, family status, profession, relationship, religion, agreement, law, self-will, or under fear or threat.

The duties and responsibilities of a person may also change with age, time, circumstances and similar factors. While some responsibilities are optional, there are certain obligations that cannot be ignored. Society and the government impose certain obligations upon each individual, which cannot be ignored.

Duties and obligations arising from one's religious beliefs are equally important. For example, in Hinduism it is the duty and responsibility of every individual to honor the scriptures, practice his or her profession, fulfill family obligations, contribute to social order and harmony and work for one's salvation.

In carrying out responsibilities and meeting our obligations, we are expected to make some sacrifices and at times undergo difficulties, pain and suffering. Parents have a responsibility towards their children and have to make necessary sacrifices to bring them up. In the process they may even suffer from the displeasure of their children who may not appreciate the decisions they make either to enforce discipline or teach right values.

Many problems arise in life when people do not recognize their responsibilities or undertake them sincerely. When people do not perform their duties and responsibilities, chaos and disorder follow. The worst sufferers are those who are directly affected by the negligence and irresponsibility of others, leaving them with heavy emotional baggage.

The very process of living implies certain duties and obligations, which cannot be ignored. When you are part of society and a family, you have to do your part to keep things in order and ensure you welfare and that of others. Your self-image, the respect you command from others, your zones of influence, your relationship with others, your status in family and society, your financial and physical Wellbeing, your own self-esteem, your peace and happiness, your future and host of other factors depend upon how effective you are in discharging your duties and responsibilities. Those who neglect their responsibilities are generally not respected in society.

It is therefore necessary for your own welfare and that of your loved ones, you recognize the importance of assuming responsibility for the tasks you are expected to perform and the obligation you have to meet. In this regard the following are worth remembering.

1. Prepare a complete list of the various roles you are expected to perform in your personal and professional life and the duties and obligations associated with each of them. Prioritize them and resolve any conflicts that you may experience in undertaking them.

2. Teach your children to acknowledge their responsibilities towards themselves and others and honor their obligations. Make them accountable for their actions and accept the reward and punishment that come with it.

3. Examine whether you are neglecting any personal or professional responsibilities and how you may overcome the mental blocks and change your thinking and attitude towards them.

4. Accept accountability for your actions. When things go wrong, instead of blaming others and finding scapegoats, have the courage to own the failure and admit your mistakes.

5. Examine whether you harbor any deep seated resentment against your parents, teachers and others for your personal failures. See whether you blame them because you believe they were responsible for your life and happiness.

In life we do often hold others responsible for our failures and successes. Generally it is human nature to take credit for one's success and hold someone else responsible for failures. This is the norm, but it does not solve the problem of failure. If one is responsible for success, one is equally responsible for failure. Extraneous factors may play a role in your life, but overall, your life is your responsibility. You should not expect others to take care of you or your life. When you hold someone responsible for your life, you lose our inner freedom and develop a dependence mentality, which will practically limit your chances of achieving success and happiness.

There is no shortage of people in the world who envy the success or others and hold others responsible for their personal failures and negligence of duty. Politicians make their living by creating divisions within society to secure their base. They may tell you that your suffering is caused by the greed of others and you have a rightful share in the wealth earned by the rich. Some rich people may be really bad and selfish, but that is not cause enough to ignore our basic responsibilities.

If you believe in karma, you know that your life and your salvation are your sole responsibility. Your thoughts, decisions and actions shape your life. The Bhagavadgita states that you should perform your obligatory duties, and if you neglect them you will incur sin, because by not meeting your obligations you contribute to chaos and disorder and thereby cause your own downfall and the downfall of your family and society. Even God performs His duties and obligations, although He has no desires and no interest whatsoever in the existence or nonexistence of the world.

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