Whatever happens, take responsibility: An attribute great leaders and achievers have in common is that they operate from the belief that they create their world. The phrase you will hear time and again is, “I am responsible. I’ll take care of it”.
It is not coincidental you hear the same view point over and over. Achievers tend to believe that no matter what happens, whether it is good or bad, they created it. If they do not cause it by their physical actions, it may be by the level and tenor of their thoughts. Now, if this is true, no scientist can prove that our thoughts create our reality. But it’s a useful lie. It’s empowering belief. That’s why to believe in it we generate our experiences in life either by behavior or by thought and that we can learn from all of them.
If you do not believe that you are creating your world, whether it be your success or your failure, then you are at the mercy of circumstances. Things just happen to you. You are an object, not a subject. Why be here if you’re just the product of random outside forces?
Taking responsibility is in my opinion one of the best measures of a person’s power and maturity. It’s also an example of beliefs supporting other beliefs, of the synergistic capabilities of a coherent system of beliefs. If you don’t believe in failure, if you know you’ll achieve your out come, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by taking responsibility. If you are in control, you will succeed.
John F Kennedy had this belief system. Dan Rather once said Kennedy became a true leader during the Bay of Pigs incident, when he stood before the American people and said that the Bay of Pigs was an atrocity that should never have happened and then he took full responsibility for it. When he did that, he was transformed from an able young politician to a real leader. Kennedy did what every great leader must. Those who take responsibility are in power. Those who avoid it are disempowered.
The same principle of responsibility holds true on a personal level as well. Most of us have had the experience of trying to express a positive emotion to someone else. We try to tell someone we love them, or we understand a problem they are having. And instead of getting that positive message, they pick up a negative one instead. They get upset or hostile. Often our tendency is to get upset right back, to blame them, to hold them responsible for whatever ill will is generated. That’s the easy way out, but not always the wisest. The fact is your communication may have been the trigger. You can still produce the communication result you desire if you remember your outcome that is, the behavior you want to create. It’s up to you to change your behavior, your tone of voice, your facial expressions, and so on. We say that the meaning of communication is the response you get. By changing your actions, you can change your communication. By retaining responsibility, you retain the power to change the result you produce.
It’s not necessary to understand everything to be able to use everything: Many successful people live by another useful belief. They don’t believe they have to know everything about something in order to use it. They know how to use what’s essential without feeling a need to get bogged down in every detail of it. If you study people who are in power, you’ll find they have a working knowledge about a lot of things but often have little mastery of each and every detail of their enterprise.