Table of contents:

How to take responsibility for your life
How to take responsibility for your life

Learn to expand your circle of influence, define a circle of concern - and new horizons will open up for you.

How to take responsibility for your life
How to take responsibility for your life

Most likely, you have heard this recommendation more than once: “Just stop whining and take life into your own hands! Everything will change drastically at once, you'll see! Problems will be solved - and happiness will come."

But how exactly to do this and what is meant by this in general, almost no one says. So advice turns out to be useless as advice like “just ignore” or “just eat right and exercise”.

Let's figure out what it means to “take responsibility”, why it is sometimes very difficult and how to finally do it.

Why you need to take responsibility

It helps you become more confident

A person who is responsible for his life understands what really depends on him and what does not, realizes the limits of his capabilities and becomes a little stronger and freer.

It helps to set goals and achieve them

When you understand that you are far from helpless and can influence a lot, you have the motivation and courage to move forward and change something.

A person who does not take responsibility, year after year, scolds neighbors, utilities, officials, the city or country in which he lives, and believes that nothing depends on him.

There are many paths open to the person who has taken responsibility. First, move. Second, try to change the situation as much as possible, at least a little: organize a clean-up day to make things cleaner around, go to court and enforce their rights, create a petition and fight for legislative reform. Thirdly, he can honestly admit to himself that he is not ready for active actions and changes - and deliberately leave everything as it is, but without any complaints.

It helps to deal with uncertainty

A person who goes with the flow and lives with the confidence that he is not deciding anything is actually very difficult. After all, then it turns out that life is absolutely unpredictable and can play with you as you like, but you are not able to do anything about it.

When someone takes responsibility, there is a little more certainty. Some unpleasant situations can be prevented, and in others - you can act more confidently and deal with them faster.

Let's say a person realizes that the economic situation is deteriorating and he may lose his job. Anyone who does not take responsibility will live in fear, complain, worry that he will be left without money, and wait with horror to see how everything will end. After all, he does not affect anything, it is all a crisis, politics and the boss.

Those who are responsible can start looking for a job, learn something new to increase their value, or get a part-time job, save some money, or at least learn how to go to the labor exchange and receive unemployment benefits if something happens.

It helps create more harmonious relationships

The person who takes responsibility can choose their surroundings, build personal boundaries, talk about what they don't like, steer relationships in the right direction, or end them if they are not fun.

Anyone who does not accept responsibility believes that everything is working out as it is, nothing can be done and he just attracts the wrong people.

Why taking responsibility is so hard

We confuse responsibility and control

It is believed that this is the same thing, and being responsible means controlling everything and everyone in your life. This, of course, is impossible. The weather, oil prices, or the neighbor's dog that barks at night and prevents us from sleeping does not depend on us. As a result, the idea of responsibility seems absurd and utopian - and a person rejects it.

We confuse responsibility and guilt

It’s like “taking responsibility” is equal to admitting that you yourself are to blame for all your failures. And nobody wants to feel guilty, it's unpleasant. Therefore, a person goes on the defensive and takes the following position: "I am not guilty of anything, these are all of them - heredity is bad, the ecology is stupid, traffic jams are huge, officials are corrupt, women are materialistic and the roads are still terrible." And, of course, he is not trying to change anything.

We suffer from learned helplessness

Scientist Martin Seligman wrote about this condition back in the 1970s. Because of him, it just seems to us that we are powerless to change something in our life, because we do not influence anything.

Where this state comes from is not exactly known. There are two opinions: this is an innate quality or, on the contrary, acquired due to not too correct upbringing or a series of failures passed.

For example, during the experiments, people were forced to listen to unpleasant sounds and could not avoid it. As a result, they lost motivation and no longer tried to break out of uncomfortable conditions.

What does it mean to take responsibility

This certainly does not mean that you need to declare yourself omnipotent and try to control everything and everyone. Or, conversely, sprinkle ashes on your head and assume that you are to blame for every trouble that happened to you.

Being responsible means understanding what you can and cannot do, realizing and accepting the consequences of your actions or inaction, and, if possible, taking an active position.

Stephen Covey, author of the bestselling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, expressed this idea through the theory of two circles: influence and care.

The circle of influence is the people and events that a person can influence. The circle of care is everything that affects a person. To live better and happier, you need to try to expand the first and reduce the second.

For example, a person is looking for a job, sends out a resume, but no one answers him. It turns out that his circle of influence is small: all that remains for him is to view vacancies and leave responses. And the circle of concern, on the contrary, is large: it is completely at the mercy of fate and HR-specialists.

If this person wants to take responsibility and expand the circle of influence, he can, for example, not post a resume on a website with vacancies, but send it to the company's corporate mail. Can call HR to see if his letter has been reviewed. He can turn to a career consultant who will adjust his resume and tell you in which direction to move.

How to take responsibility

Try to drop the blame

Admit it is not constructive to blame yourself or others. This position allows you to be inactive and saves you from disappointment, because if you do not try to change anything, you will not fail and it will not hurt you. But at the same time, she closes the path to development, good work, interesting projects and acquaintances, unexpected turns.

Yes, others are really to blame for something. The parents did not give a good start and formed complexes in the child. The workers are patching up the asphalt, which is why there are terrible traffic jams on the way to the office in the morning. The boss biasedly evaluates your merits and promotes not you, but his acquaintance on the career ladder.

But if you focus on what others are doing, and not on what you can do yourself, you are marking time and cannot change your life for the better.

Define your circle of influence

Just be honest with yourself, do not underestimate or exaggerate your capabilities. Write down everything that you can really influence in each specific situation, and what you can't at all.

We can't cancel the rain, but we can buy a cool raincoat and rubber boots to make it easier to get out of the house. Or find a remote job to stay warm and cozy in bad weather.

We cannot change the behavior of the person who offends us, but we can distance ourselves from him.

Set yourself a goal

In the example about working and sending out a resume, the goal might be, say, contacting an HR consultant, finding direct company contacts, or making a phone call.

In a situation where you do not like where you live, the goal may be to move to another area, city or even country. Or, conversely, an attempt to find around you interesting institutions, events and locations that will reconcile you with your place of residence and help you feel better. Yes, the traffic jams are terrible and the view from the window is not very good, but what magic croissants are baked in a coffee shop around the corner and what a picturesque square just two bus stops from the house.

Take action

As soon as you achieve at least a small goal, you will become more confident, you will better understand what you are capable of, which means that you can overcome the feeling of helplessness and make your life more comfortable and richer.