virgin islands scene

The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed.
-- Lloyd Jones


The MONTHLY Motivator - June 2019


The power of responsibility

Whatever the problem, whatever the situation, whatever the goal, the best initial step is to take responsibility for it. The absence of responsibility inevitable leads to chaos and tragedy. The presence of true, unequivocal responsibility is almost magical in the good it can bring. When no one takes responsibility, the situation deteriorates very quickly. Lots of bad things can always happen, and when there’s no one acting responsibly, they do happen, and build on each other. When just one person chooses to take responsibility, and to act in accordance with that responsibility and in accordance with what is true, great progress is made.

Responsibility is so powerful because it is the recognition that actions have consequences, along with the commitment to pursue that actions that lead to the best consequences. All the actions you take have consequences, and some of those consequences can be painful. Yet life would be hopelessly more painful if there were no consequences. If actions had no consequences, there would be no reliable way to achieve anything. There would be no way for you to direct or control the circumstances of your life. As it is, you can choose the consequences you experience by choosing the actions that bring about those consequences. You are able, in large part, to avoid the consequences you don’t want and to create the consequences you desire. By taking responsibility, you take control of the consequences in your life. You gain the power to shape what those consequences will be. By accepting and embracing responsibility for the outcomes of your actions, you are able to bring about the outcomes you prefer.

Responsibility is a form of benevolent ownership. When a driver owns the car he is driving, he takes better care of it than if he were just renting the car for the weekend. When a person takes responsibility for a situation, she commits herself to doing whatever will create the most favorable outcome.

Responsibility is powerful also because it is highly specific. The sales manager in a company is specifically responsible for a specific outcome, increasing sales revenue. This has the result of focusing time, attention, creativity, skills and resources on producing that outcome. When a security guard takes responsibility for guarding a specific entrance to a specific building, the result is that no unauthorized people get in that entrance. If, on the other hand, the security manager simply told all the guards to “keep the building safe” without any creating any specific responsibilities, some of the entrances might be left unguarded.

Sometimes responsibility is viewed as a burden. It’s true that responsibility, by its very nature and definition, can mean a great deal of effort. But even when your responsibilities require great effort, they do not have to burden you. When you are willing to accept responsibility for something, you put yourself in control of it. Though the frustrations may be deep and numerous, by working your way through those frustrations, you are building valuable achievements.

To continue reading this member-only content, please log in if you are a current subscriber/member, or if you’re not already a member, you can join today for an annual price of just $15 and get immediate access to the full text of this article and many others, plus additional member-only content such as downloadable audio programs and e-books. If you’re not ready to join right now, we invite you to look through our extensive archive of more than 6,000 shorter daily messages, which are fully available for everyone to read.

--Ralph Marston

More Monthly Motivators...