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Taking Responsibility for Your Actions

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 10 Mar 2017 | comments*Discuss
Taking Responsibility Accepting

When we make excuses or try to blame other people or external factors for the eventual outcome of something, not only are we failing to take responsibility, but we are demonstrating a character trait which is very common in people who fail to succeed in anything.

In shouldering responsibility ourselves, we are giving ourselves the power to shape the outcome ourselves and are therefore taking an active and not a passive role in how the outcome turns out.


It’s only when you accept that everything you are or ever will be is up to you, that you are able to get rid of the negativity of excuse making that can so often prevent you from succeeding. You may find yourself in your current position in both your personal and professional life and remain convinced that if all’s not going well, then it’s ‘so and so’s fault’. However, we all have free will which means that we are completely responsible for all of our successes and failures and of our happiness or state of unhappiness.

When we realise this it can, at first, seem like a huge responsibility which we are placing on our shoulders but when you rationalise it and accept that you are responsible for every action you take and every decision you make, that there is virtually nothing that you can’t achieve, have or accomplish if you accept that it’s within yourself and yourself only, to reach your ultimate goal.

Get Out Clauses Don’t Work

One of our biggest problems is that we don’t like to fail and, more importantly, we don’t like to be seen to fail. The problem with that train of thought, however, is that we then tend to set ourselves a goal but at the same time we create an excuse to keep as a ‘spare card’ we can use so that if we don’t succeed, we can blame something or somebody else. However, the more personal responsibility we take, the more in control we are and the more control we have, the more likely we will reach our goal as there will be no excuses to fall back on if we fail.

Therefore, taking responsibility for our actions equals success. It also makes us feel good about ourselves and rids us of negative personality traits such as anger, fear, resentment, hostility and doubt.

Replacing the Negative

If you’ve ever been around somebody who always appears to be ‘down on their luck’, you’ll have noticed that their whole personality seems to be riddled with negative comments and that they have nothing positive to say. It’s quite true that you can’t really hold both a positive and negative feeling at the same time, so by replacing the negative with a positive, it stops you from feeling unhappy as you have come to accept that you are now going to be solely responsible for how you feel, not other people or other external factors.

Accepting Responsibility

Once you accept total responsibility for everything that happens to you in life, you will soon discover that this also enables you to find solutions to life’s difficulties far more quickly.

For example, take work colleagues or someone you are in a personal relationship with. Say you’re having problems with them and it is causing you stress. A negative person who likes to apportion blame might say, “Since I met so and so, it’s been nothing but trouble” whereas somebody who accepts total responsibility might say, “Hang on a moment; I am responsible for having this person or these people in my life. I took that job or I embarked upon this relationship – no-one forced me to.” Therefore, if they’re not happy with the situation and have taken responsibility for it, they are also able to find the solution – in this case, by leaving the job or getting out of an unhealthy relationship.

Similarly, what about those who are feeling bitter because people earn more than they do. Well, whose fault is that? If you accept total responsibility, then you’ll look to do something about it if it’s important to you. Find out how you can earn more money. Speak to others and find out what it is they are doing differently to you then start applying all that knowledge to make the changes you need to make to create the kind of life you want.

In accepting responsibility, you are accepting a willingness to develop your character and in doing that, the stronger your character will become and your life will be improved as a consequence.

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[Add a Comment]
You do have to accept your limitations though...not everyone could run as fast as Usain Bolt even if they put in the same number of years of self discipline, training and hard work as he did/does. That's just ridiculous
Merlene Ottey - 10-Mar-17 @ 2:42 PM
All I'm seeing in most of these comments are people who still don't get it and are still blaming everyone else and everything else for the things that have happened or are happening in your life in a round about way. And that comment about not being like Usain bolt is just as dumb. You think he was born the fastest man on earth? No. It took years of self discipline, training and hard work to get where he is today. Even at the last Olympics he knew the other Jamaican guy was his competition and a strong contender for his crown so what did he do? He took responsibility for his own life instead of blaming others and trained and disciplined himself with his strict diet and exercise regime in order to ensure he achieved his best and kept his crown.
She can she will - 10-Mar-17 @ 6:15 AM
Hello, I hate excuses,yet I find myself making them all the time.I am looking for opportunities to shoulder my responsibilities and finding success in doing so.But if there are situations where you are given things to do under unrealistic deadlines and the end result will suffer one way or the other, when do you draw the line with giving the reason when the poor outcome was already expressed and you were given no other alternative but "this is the way it is, so just get it done" and at the end they are not happy with the outcome?I want take responsibility for my part.Should I take responsibility for theirs as well?Sorry for the novel, but any advice would be appreciated.
BigM - 25-Jul-16 @ 3:42 PM
You say... that there is virtually nothing that you can’t achieve, have or accomplish if you accept that it’s within yourself does that mean I can be another Usain Bolt? I can strive towards being a sprinter but I will never be as fast as Bolt. The point I'm making is that sometimes there are very real reason why we can't achieve something (disabilities and the like). You wouldn't expect a colourblind person to be an electrician, but I've read somewhere there is an app now, it obviously isn't the best choice in life for that person. We should take responsibility in our lives, sometimes we do need other people to help us.
Jan - 19-Mar-16 @ 11:15 PM
its true my life is my responsibility and the sky is my limit.My own life is characterized by my choices so if some of them fail its my duty to stand up and try something better.
Hannah - 16-Jan-16 @ 6:51 PM
It is up to me. That's all there is to it. My life my responsibility
petey - 19-Dec-15 @ 1:50 PM
"here is virtually nothing that you can’t achieve,". This is a very bold and huge claim.
Timothy Holden - 9-Aug-15 @ 11:14 PM
Everyone must take responsibility for their own actions, you must try to make it right, especially if you hurt someone by taking no responsibility. Put yourself in their place, if they did that to you. Responsibility says it all , like character.
michelle - 12-Aug-14 @ 8:43 PM
Great article, you are right.....i must take responsibility, thus allowing me to make changes needed. Not sure what miriam is talking about though? There is equality in all walks if life. Im willing to bet, more attractive females earn more than non. Well spoken earn more than not etc
Edward - 6-May-12 @ 8:52 AM
So if male and female coworkers are doing equal work, have worked for a company the same number of years, and have indentical education backgrounds have unequal pay, it is the fault of the gender who consistantly are paid 73% less than their coworker of the other gender?Assumption that both genders are being just as agressive on average asking for raises and promotions.
Miriam - 6-Feb-12 @ 9:24 PM
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