One of the words you will hear most from the best mentors in the world is the word 'responsibility'.
The act of taking responsibility is one of those master keys that opens the doors to massive success, effectiveness, and abundance.
Yet for many this word brings a chill to the spine and immediately triggers a deeply unpleasant feeling.
Why? Well, perhaps it's because many people automatically interpret this word to equal 'blame', and blame points a finger squarely at us and says, 'you did this'.
In reality though, the meanings of the two words are very different.
Consider this story:
The lady with the beautiful garden
An old lady called Barbara lived in a village and at the front of her cottage was a beautiful garden. Barbara loved her garden and spent many hours attending to the various flowers and shrubs. Her garden was alive with colour and many who passed down the busy main road were drawn to stop for a moment and admire her handiwork.
However, one morning in May Barbara woke to find her beautiful garden covered in litter. You see during the night, while Barbara was fast asleep, a group of drunken youths had passed down the road and decided it would be hilariously funny to empty some nearby bins all over her beautiful flowers.
That day Barbara told one person after another about the awful sight she had awoken to. Every person Barbara told, showered her with sympathy and agreed that it took a truly horrible type of person to do such a thing. At the end of the day however, the rubbish was still there.
The next day she complained to more people, and they all agreed that whoever made the mess, should be made to return and undo the damage they had done, at once! At the end of the day however, the rubbish was still there.
On the third day, she called the local newspaper, and they agreed to print the story. Before long all the residents of the village agreed that the guilty party should be tracked down and taught a lesson by the authorities. At the end of the day however, the rubbish was still there.
On the fourth day Barbara resigned herself to the fact that there was only one way her garden would be returned to its former glory. She picked up a bin bag, went outside and cleared the rubbish herself.
At the end of the fourth day, her garden was back to being beautiful again.
Responsibility verses Blame
Barbara's goal from the minute she saw the rubbish filled garden was to see the damage undone and the garden return to how she had worked so hard to make it.
As much as all her friends agreed that the youths should return and clear the mess, in reality her goal was only achieved when she took on the responsibility for clearing the garden herself.
Was she to blame for the mess?
Did the fact that she took responsibility for the mess, and did something about it, lead those who previously sympathised with her to suddenly see her as the person to blame for its creation?
Of course not.
A parent of a young child is responsible for changing it's nappy but this does not mean they are to blame for the mess within.
Responsibility does not equal blame and yet these two are seen as one and the same by so many people, and this represents a significant block to many who wish to improve their lives. They fail to see how you can take on the responsibility for clearing up the 'mess' they have without also taking on the blame for it's creation.
The best definition I have ever seen of the word responsible is simply response-able. The act of taking responsibility is nothing more that placing yourself in a position where you are able to respond and therefore have the control you need to achieve your goals
Forget blame. It serves little purpose here. Instead, understand that you can take responsibility for your life without burdening yourself with such blame.
Do this and you will experience one of the biggest increases that you will ever know in the control you have over the direction your life will take.
You are responsible, but you are not to blame.
Taking personal responsibility for your results is a key concept in moving towards your ideal life. So separate these two words now. Then you will be free to take responsibility without feeling the burden of blame.
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