Personal responsibility — what comes to mind when you hear this phrase?
For some, it equals the blame game, like “who’s responsible for this?” For others, it signifies power and success.
In fact, self-responsibility is “the accountability of individuals for their actions.” Simply put, it’s when a person is not only responsible but also answerable or accountable for something within their control.
But why’s it a big deal? Why should you practice self-responsibility?
Well, lots of reasons, really. There’s also research that shows it even helps lead to your success in so many aspects of life. Even Winston Churchill also said, “the price of greatness is responsibility.”
Let’s explore the nature of this beneficial behavior and how it can help you level up in life.
What Is Personal Responsibility?
When you’re faced with the reaction of your actions — whether it’s positive or negative — you own up to it. You accept the idea that you create the life you love. You understand and appreciate that things happen for you, not to you.
That’s what personal responsibility is.
“You are 100% responsible for what you think and say to yourself and the response you create out of it,” says Marisa Peer, author of Mindvalley’s Rapid Transformational Hypnotherapy for Abundance Quest.
A responsible person doesn’t have to play the victim. Instead, they are the victor.
Unfortunately, as with anything worthwhile in life, being accountable isn’t always easy. It requires courage, acceptance, and changing the premise of your life. And here’s how you can start doing so.
How Can You Develop Personal Responsibility?
When it comes to being accountable for your actions, it’s important to take what’s in front of you, make a choice, and take control. A responsible person is to be able to act, not react.
“Thinking is the foundation of achieving your extraordinary life,” says Jon Butcher, author of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Quest. “The life you get is going to be the result of the choices you make and the actions you take.”
So, take the steps to create what you want through conscious choices.
Step 1: No blaming and no complaining
Blaming others puts you in the position of victimhood. Complaining is just another way to shake off responsibility. Together, they disable you from making real changes.
Step 2: Don’t take things personally
Remember, disagreements are not personal attacks. Try and see things objectively and rationally instead of reacting on impulse.
Step 3: Be conscious of your actions
There’s great power in being able to make conscious, calculated choices. Always keep your goals in mind and choose your actions accordingly.
What Is an Example of a Responsibility?
Oftentimes, we think of responsibility as paying our bills on time, providing for our family, or going to bed on time.
However, responsibility permeates all aspects of life. This can include:
- Being punctual
- Maintain an optimistic attitude
- Practicing active listening
- Motivate those around you, including your friends and family
- Contributing to your community through volunteering or donations
- Being flexible by adjusting your efforts or changing your perspective
And there are times when personal responsibilities can extend beyond yourself, like teaching your child self-regulation.
For example, you give your child the task of cleaning the dishes. While this is technically their responsibility, you also have a responsibility to provide your child with the knowledge and tools to do the job right. You’re also responsible for doling out punishment if your child misbehaves or disobeys your request.
The bottom line is, personal responsibility provides a sense of purpose as well as helps create a positive environment for yourself and those around you.
Why Is Personal Responsibility Important?
Life presents you with many choices that can influence your goals, achievements, and success.
Sidestepping these responsibilities may feel good momentarily. But like addiction, it “leads to exponentially worse pain and suffering in the long term,” according to addiction counselor Steve Rose, Ph.D. And you may just end up always feeling stuck in life.
That’s why personal responsibility is important. It allows individuals to:
- Readily accept the outcome of their choices without holding anybody else accountable
- Look back at the outcomes, especially if they’re negative
- Create a strategy that prevents future mistakes
- Nurture meaningful relationships that are based on trust
- Design a love life that is the foundation of you and your partner’s lives
What’s more, responsibility is a two-way street. When you set your standards, others, in return, will know what kind of actions you expect from them.
What Are 5 Responsible Behaviors?
The way you choose to act positively impacts your life, your community, and even the world at large. So here are five behaviors you can adopt that are key to personal responsibilities:
Like you, others feel entitled to things that are rightfully theirs. Fairness means finding the right balance between your needs and the needs of those around you.
This element of responsibility focuses on the ability to face the truth. You should own up to your mistakes and make amends, where and if possible.
3. Compassion and respect
It’s important to remember that compassion and respect are reciprocated. And a responsible person accepts others for who they are. Like the golden rule goes, “treat others how you want to be treated.”
Be brave. Ditch the “brules.” Stand up for your beliefs and values. These are elements that contribute to self-responsibility.
5. Be accountable
“Blame is the water in which many dreams and relationships drown” is the quote from behavioral scientist Steve Maraboli. What he’s saying is: be accountable. Because accountability shows that you are able to accept the consequences of your actions, decisions, and mistakes.
Live Life Responsibly
Personal responsibility is an essential element to building character. However, it’s not something you are born with, but it’s something you can learn.
You are what you consistently do. Your habits shape your character.— Jon Butcher, author of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Quest
By leveling up your responsible behavior with your responsible attitude, it’ll lead you to self-love and ultimately, success.
And if you need a little help, find your way to Mindvalley where you’ll find guidance from experts like Jon and his wife, Missy. You’ll find that taking responsibility for your actions is a significant and worthwhile effort that can drastically change your life.