Throughout our daily lives, we can’t help but be subject to things that are not within our personal control. The things in which we have no control may present struggles in our lives.
Some simple examples may include the traffic that made you late to your meeting, the barista who got your order wrong, an ill child, and plenty more.
Obviously, some of these setbacks are worse than others. But, in the spirit of self-development, we must ask the question “How can we live fulfilling lives given all the things that occur to us that we cannot control?” It sounds like a daunting question until you boil it down into one very simple principle.
Choosing to improve yourself and your state of mind by being accountable is more than just incurring responsibilities. True accountability helps you make quick and effective decisions, it helps you take the path less chosen and even control harsh emotions that may be limiting your success.
To be accountable in the most beneficial way, you must be willing to forgo blaming anything. Blame is the medium through which victimhood is born, and victimhood is the most debilitating mindset of them all.
Just like leaders, victims are not born, they’re made. Those who indulge in a victimhood mindset give away the personal power they have to change their lives through justifications and contentedness. They justify their current unfulfilling circumstances by saying “I’m a victim, of course I am this way.” and it is entirely untrue and entirely debilitating.
Although we cannot control everything that happens to us in our lives, we must take accountability for all our lives have to offer. I understand that there are people with terrible pasts and challenging current circumstances, but allowing those things to control your future and your ability to become fulfilled is not acceptable.
Those who start taking accountability for their own lives and realize that they are in charge of their own happiness become empowered. They realize that despite the challenges, struggles, and actions of other people or things, they can decide to be accountable for their own world.
The world you live in is not truly “the world” after all. It is your mind. Your perceptions filter all things and experiences, and therefore, this “world” you live in can be altered by merely altering the way you choose to perceive it. In fact, the world as it appears to our senses has a scientific name, the Phaneron.
Choosing to believe in the best of people and situations can do much more for your happiness than trying to control anything and everything that comes your way. Because in the end, even if things don’t turn out the way you wanted, you can choose to find the good in it. Expectations often only create disappointment.
Here are some interesting and thought-provoking ways in which accountability can be useful to you!
The Benefits of Accountability
By being accountable for your own life, actions, and thought-process, you are essentially taking the power into your own hands. Realizing that you will actively deny playing the victim any longer will often induce an amazing commitment to yourself, your goals and your happiness.
You realize that you alone will have to answer for your choices, therefore, you often make better and more fulfilling ones. This entices self-love and happiness to enter your life, and often comes across as a much happier and more in control “you”.
Victims often come across to others as outstandingly controlling and internally limiting. This is because victims choose not to take control of their own lives and happiness. They choose to try and craft their realities by altering others, not themselves. We have all been subject to victimizing thoughts once in a while, I am NO exception.
We are often so preoccupied with worrying about ourselves that anytime something happens to us we take it personally. The man who cut you off on the freeway? He did it to YOU! He tried to bother YOU!
Situations are often much less personal than we choose to believe. That man simply wanted to get in the lane quickly, imagine what could occur if we decided to take a step back and take accountability for our thoughts and emotions. It could look like this.
The man cuts you off, but instead of getting angry you ask yourself “do I want to give this little inconvenience my power to be joyful, considering it wasn’t even a personal offense?” The answer is usually “no”, and by admitting this to yourself, you gain the power to take control of your emotions.
This is all well and good for slight offenses, but what if it really was personal? Well, the practice really doesn’t change at all. The point is this, the ONLY person who can affect and control your emotions is you and you alone. Being happy is not a destination, but a choice.
It’s easy to think optimistically, in fact, it’s easy to think a little too optimistically. Positive thinking is important. I am personally all for positive thinking, but only if it comes as a natural resolution to negative mindsets. For example, positive thinking is great when it rids you of a debilitating mindset, but it may be harmful if it allows you to form unrealistic expectations about the way life should be.
Expectations can be the stuff of self-development nightmares. This is because they often give us a way to victimize ourselves, and become subject to a mindset of our “nature”.
Consider this, if we set unrealistically optimistic expectations for ourselves, then the moment we do not achieve them, we will start believing that our identity is that of a “failure”. We will become subject to our very own thoughts as to what we identify with. Our identities are the very basis through which we can cultivate things like self-esteem, or the lack thereof.
Accountability keeps you realistic by keeping you focused on the everyday task. Accountability gives you no time to rest! Remember, you ARE committed after all. Focusing too much on the goal often leads you toward a stressful and unfulfilling journey.
Accountability solves this issue by keeping your focus on the here and now. You get a sense of accomplishment by achieving the small daily things that will eventually cumulate into the massive goal! Expecting the goal to quick, or without the effort and time put in, will lead to disappointment and a potentially damaged identity.
Failure Ceases to be Failure
You can choose never to fail again. That’s right, I said it. You can CHOOSE never to fail again! How? Let’s use a little Socratic reasoning to make my point.
I begin with the original question…
“What do we have to lose by pursuing our passions relentlessly and with accountability?”
I often get this answer…
“We can fail.”
Then I ask…
“Well, what is failure?”
To which I receive…
“When you try something and do not succeed.”
Quickly this circular thinking is getting nowhere, I then change the focus to improvement…
“Well, if you were to try again and did succeed, would you still be considered a failure by yourself or others?”
Communally they accept you are not, this is not the point I try to make, it is simple and provides no perspective with which to make useful changes in their lives, so I ask…
“Well if you can fail, and still succeed, is it really a true failure?”
They normally reply that it is not…
“then what is a true failure?”
The group often provides that it is the inability to succeed
“What would make you unable to succeed? Why could you not succeed at any point?”
They often provide an answer that has to do with personal limitations, feelings, and beliefs in what they perceive is impossible.
“Haven’t I proven that perceptions can be changed on a moment’s notice? That emotions are only a result of our chosen thoughts?”
“Then that cannot be the answer. There is one factor alone that can cause true failure, what is it?”
As they begin to format the perspective in their minds, they will either present to me that it is a lack of the ability to try again or the absence of one of the Three Principles of Self-Actualization (click HERE! to learn more). Bingo. I then begin to explain that failure is not a true failure in the way we perceive it. Failure can actually give us the potential energy that becomes a success, even more potential energy than we have started with, through refinement in your conscious direction! You now know what doesn’t work and can adjust your approach!
With a simple shift in the way you see failure now, you can realize the true power you have that will allow you to never fail again! And it all starts by learning from your actions and being accountable for your future!
Why A Victim Mindset Gets You Nowhere
These are only a few of the many ways in which accountability can benefit your everyday life. Imagine a world in which you wake up energized and willing to make things happen! You will have the commitment and energy necessary to make big changes in your life and stop being a victim to your mindsets!
Victimization occurs as a function of time, but it is always in our heads and can be changed. Turning weakness into strength is essentially my job, and I enjoy helping others.
Victimization Due to the Past
Victimization as a result of past happenings occurs in the following way. Bad experiences lead to justifications for currently unfulfilling circumstances. Often, we decide to take the negatives in our past (depression, upbringing, social situation, etc.) and use them to make us comfortable within our unfulfilling lives.
We may say things like “Of course I am the way I am, I’m a victim of (enter personal victimization story, etc.). This justifies to our brains why we CAN’T be successful or happy or actualized. And it is entirely false and self-debilitating.
Victimization Due to Present Circumstances
Being a victim of your present situation follows the same theory of justification. We will make excuses as to why we can’t do things, be happy, etc.
We may say things like “Well, I would like to go out and have fun but I’m going through a hard time right now.” or “I should go to the gym and better myself, but I had a hard time at work.” there are millions of excuses that can affect our ability to improve and be happy with ourselves.
Heres the key, most of those excuses have absolutely nothing to do with your ability to be happy or accountable for your actions in the first place! In fact, exercising after work often HELPS your day get better. And going out to do something fun often HELPS the times seem not so hard after all.
We choose to remain comfortable and crave sympathy when what we really need to do is take action and crave efficacy.
Victimization Based on Future Possibilities
This is perhaps the most debilitating mindset of all. This occurs as a result of a misplaced sense of identity. If anybody identifies as a failure (often due to failures in the past) then they will justify inaction by seeing only the possibility for more failure.
The reason this is a large issue is because our identities are tied with our values, and they are immensely difficult to change and alter. Often it requires many simultaneous experiences and “references”, as Tony Robbins calls them, to alter our minds about who we are.
Becoming a victim before you even experience hardships is another tendency to remain comfortable. Often some perspective helps jumpstart the livelihoods of those who identify with failure.
Consider the end of your life. If you knew you had only one more day to live do you think you would be satisfied with what you have done so far? I don’t say this to be morbid, but the recognition of our own mortality is often the key to living a life with no regrets. Nothing seems like a big deal in the light of mortality.
There is often a tiny voice at the back of your head urging you to do something. This “something” is often the thing you KNOW you will not regret doing or trying at least once. Fixing a relationship, making a difficult call or decision, experiencing something brand new and different!
All of these things are merely the tell-tale signs of a life lived to the fullest and with full accountability for yourself and your happiness. Live without any regrets.