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Motivtion: The Power of Responsibility

One of the things I've noticed about successful people is that they have a clear understanding of the relationship between cause and effect in their lives. Successful people understand that if they want something, they have to do all the necessary things to get it.

"If I do this, then that will happen. If I don't do that, then this will happen." This important skill allows successful people to anticipate and plan for the future.

Our culture teaches the opposite of responsibility

Unfortunately, we live in a culture that teaches the opposite of responsibility. If something good happens, it's luck. If something bad happens, it's definitely someone else's fault, certainly not mine.

The belief that we are not responsible sabotages all the power that can be found in taking responsibility for our lives.

When it comes to understanding the power of responsibility, there are three main areas we need to understand. The first has to do with the concept of maturity, the second involves something I call "the ability to respond," and the third has to do with four things for which we are always responsible.


We are born male or female. We must choose to become men and women. One of the best definitions of maturity I've ever heard is that we become a man or woman when we take responsibility for our lives. This involves taking responsibility for our attitude, choices and actions. More on this later.

Author and speaker Edwin Louis Cole offers us five characteristics of someone who is immature and/or irresponsible. See if any of these sound familiar -

demanding your own way

insensitivity to others

believe and act like you are the center of the universe

temper tantrums

unreasonable - can't be reasoned with

If you notice yourself in any of these characteristics, read on, because here come two ways to begin to take responsibility.

React vs. RespondSo What Are We Responsible for Anyway?

So what are we responsible for anyway? I'm glad you asked. In all but the most extreme of situations, we are always responsible for these four things -

Our attitude - Even in really crummy situations, we can still control our attitude. If you are stuck in traffic, you can yell and curse, honk your horn and rail against whoever built the roads. Or you can listen to music or a tape, have a conversation, or watch other people react. Either way, you're stuck in traffic.

Our choices - Each of us is given the power of choice in our lives. Yet we so often and so easily give it up. Seizing control of our choices is one powerful way to take responsibility for our lives.

Our actions - Because we have the power of choice, we have control over the actions we choose to take. I realize that what I am saying may be heresy to some in our "victim mentality" society. That doesn't make it any less true, however.

The consequences of our attitude, choices and actions - Here's the scary part. Many times we don't have control over the consequences. Once a cause is set in motion, it can be difficult or impossible to stop. We are still responsible for the consequences. That's why it's so important to take responsibility for our attitude, choices and actions.

Maturity, responding instead of reacting, and taking control of our attitude, choices and actions.

That's a prescription for accessing the power and strength of responsibility in our lives.

Visit for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.


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