The foundation of personal development is personal responsibility. Taking 100% responsibility for your life is the first step in improving your life; significant self-improvement cannot be achieved without fist accepting responsibility for your life.

What exactly is personal responsibility?

Personal responsibility is the belief that you are responsible for the outcome of your life. You are not entitled to anything. If you want something you have to work hard to achieve it. As Jack Canfield says in his book The Success Principles, “If you want to be successful, you have to take 100% responsibility for everything that you experience in your life.” This includes “the level of your achievements, the results you produce, the quality of your relationships, the state of your health and physical fitness, your income, your debts, your feelings- everything.” At first this might feel strange; you might ask, how is everything I experience in life my responsibility? What’s important is to note the difference between fault and responsibility. Things that happen in your life might not be your fault but they are your responsibility to deal with. For example, if the company you work for files for bankruptcy and you are now unemployed, it may not be your fault but it is your responsibility. Once you are laid off, you can choose to pick yourself back up and find a new job or you can be on unemployment for months, complaining about how it wasn’t fair that you are unemployed because it wasn’t your fault. Accepting responsibility for all of the choices you make is the first step that leads to serious personal development. 

How do I become more responsible?

There is a simple way to become more responsible: pay close attention to the choices you make. The Success Principles offers a simple yet useful formula E+R=O (Event + Response = Outcome). Whenever there is an event that happens in your life, whether it is getting fired or choosing what to eat for lunch, realize that your response will lead to a certain outcome. If you are not getting the outcome you desire, then you have to change your response to events. If you want to lose weight, but are not, then you have to look at your response to events involving food. If the event is lunch, and your response is eating a cheeseburger, then you should never expect your outcome to be weight loss. To become more responsible, accept that the outcome of your life is determined completely by how you act. Your successes and your failures are a direct result of the choices you make and the outcomes of those choices are your burden to bear. As Stephen Covey says in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Until a person can say deeply and honestly, I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday, that person cannot say I choose otherwise.”  Once you take full responsibility for your actions, you have laid a solid foundation for further personal development.

As always, below I have included links to books I feel can provide additional information if you want to learn more about personal responsibility. I always try to provide the most useful information possible but I always like to offer supplementary reading for those who wish to dive deeper.   

Have any questions or comments? Meet me in the comment section to discuss further.

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