Amongst my earlier blogs, I discussed the story of the old lady with a beautiful garden, who awoke one morning to find her garden filled with litter. The point of the article being that responsibility does not equal blame.
But why is this so key? Why is it so important that we separate these two ideas and leave ourselves free to take responsibility without the burden of blame? It's important because every single model, every single approach which you can take to improve your life starts with taking responsibility.
Why? Because responsibility = control.
Get into the driver's seat
The vast majority, and I really do mean VAST majority, of people in our first world countries today live their lives in the passenger seat. They claim to be helpless whilst all the external forces in the world around them steer the direction of their lives.
Forces like their boss, the government, their parents, their spouse, the economy, their education, other people, other people's education, criminals, children, corporations, the rich, the 'system', politicians and everything else that they can point to as the 'reason' for their discomfort.
The reality though is that these forces only have control over us when we choose to sit in the passenger seat.
We can, at anytime we like, choose to get out of the passenger seat of our lives and instead get into the driver's seat. Once we do that, these external forces don't get a say anymore.
So how do we get in the driver's seat? We take responsibility.
Once we take responsibility for our own direction and our own results, we get the control. It can be a little scary at first, like the first time you drive a car, but once we get the hang of it there's no going back.
Once we are willing to own our actions and the results that come from them, then nobody but us gets to drive. We can drive towards better health, better relationships, a better career and finances, or anything else that we choose.
The willingness to accept responsibility for our life is in may ways the gateway to our ability to live the life of our dreams. Through it on the other side is everything we need to live in a new and fulfilling way, but it can only be accessed by those who are willing to open the gate, and this is done by accepting responsibility for both the lives we live now, and the direction our lives will take in the future.
Any excuse, any "but I can't do anything about that part of my life because.....", will lock the gate shut and the path on the other side will remain closed to us.
Don't get me wrong I fully understand that events take place in out lives that we simply can't avoid, but even then we get to decide how we react and subsequently the impact on our lives.
There is no alternative gateway, no path that can be taken to where you truly want to be without taking responsibility, but once you do, you really will have the control over your life that you desire.
Before you know it you'll no longer be a passenger, you'll be the driver.