Adulthood is defined by the degree to which you take responsibility for your life.
By this measure, only a tiny percentage of the people of legal adult age are actually adults.
Saying you take responsibility for your life is easy. Actually taking responsibility for your life is another matter.
Answer the following 8 questions honestly to see if you really take responsibility for your life.
1. Do You Own Your Problems, Including The Ones That Are Not Your Fault?
A problem-free life doesn’t exist. Everyone has problems in life.
Typically, you have 2 types of problems:
- Problems that are your fault,
- Problems that are not your fault.
You can’t claim to take responsibility for your life unless you take responsibility for both types of problems.
Most people are reluctant to take responsibility for their problems that are their own fault let alone taking responsibility for their problems that are not their fault.
Problems of the first type are usually brushed off with excuses, and the problems of the second type are usually “dealt with” by complaining and blaming.
Unfortunately, making excuses, complaining, or blaming doesn’t solve your problems.
Stop Making Excuses
A shitload of excuses is the hallmark of an average person. Making excuses for their problems is their way to evade responsibility and protect their ego.
The problem with excuses is that your problems remain unaddressed.
Resist the urge to make excuses for your problems. Always keep in mind that excuses achieve nothing.
Whether your excuses are legit or not is beyond the point. Your problems remain unsolved and they get bigger unless you bite the bullet and take action to solve them.
Problems that are not your own fault are easier for your ego to handle because, after all, they are not your fault!
However, since they keep negatively influencing your life, it’s your responsibility to solve them.
Complaining about a problem can be attractive as it provides temporary relief and absolves you of responsibility but it ends up achieving nothing because your problem remains unaddressed.
When you scratch its surface you’ll see that complaining is nothing but a confession of powerlessness to solve your problems.
Each time you confess your powerlessness, you reinforce the dangerous identity that you’re a weak person who is powerless to solve their problems.
Also, complaining tricks you into thinking you are actually doing something to solve your problems when you are not.
Last but not the least, complaining drives people away from you because while people love to complain, they hate to listen to others complaining.
Stop Blaming Others
Blaming others for your problems is even more attractive than complaining and making excuses because there are legit people that are at fault (at least in your imagination), which provides immense relief for it absolves you of your responsibility to fix your problems.
But the problem is that your problems still remain unsolved and they keep piling up unless you change your attitude, take responsibility, and solve them.
Assume every one of your problems is your own fault, even when they aren’t. Some of your problems might not be your fault but fixing them is your responsibility because no one else cares.
Moreover, some of the problems that you blame others for can often be traced back to your own faults.
Your partner might be at fault for your relationship problems but you’re the one who chose to be with that partner.
Your boss might really be a dick but you’re the one who chose to work there.
It’s your fault if other people disrespect/avoid/use you, you get conned, or your friends bring drama to your life.
In all fairness though, some of your problems aren’t your fault at all.
For example, the world is filled to the brim with thieves, liars, corruption, violence, etc. Your well-being is probably negatively influenced by the crimes these people commit but it’s still your own responsibility to escape from their influence and improve your well-being.
There’s not a single decent individual on earth who’s not negatively influenced by the crimes these crooks commit so it’s nothing personal.
It’s not your fault that these people are criminals but it’s your responsibility to protect yourself against their evil as much as you can.
2. Are You Willing To Play The Hand You’ve Been Dealt?
Maybe you aren’t endowed with the best genetics. Maybe you aren’t naturally good-looking. Maybe your parents screwed up when raising you. Maybe your parents aren’t rich. Maybe you were born in a poor and/or a corrupt country with little to no upward mobility.
None of them is your fault but it’s still your responsibility to fix or deal with them.
You have no other choice than to play the genetic hand you’ve been dealt. You were defenseless as a child so you had no control over how your parents raised you but you’re free to shape your personality when you’re an adult.
You don’t get to choose which country you’re born in but you must make the most out of your situation. You have no other option. Moreover, you have the internet ― the greatest upward mobility engine ever.
The reality is that very few people have been dealt a royal flush at birth. Very few people are endowed with excellent genetics and even fewer people are born with a silver spoon in their mouth.
It’s also not uncommon for many of these lucky people to squander the privileges they’re born with.
History is filled to the brim with people who’ve been dealt a great hand and squandered it as well as people who’ve been dealt a terrible hand and thrived anyway.
Most of your achievements in life will be directly correlated to your willingness to play the hand you’ve been dealt. Most people would rather blame their genetics or the conditions they were born. These people will be very easy to outcompete.
3. Do You Follow Leaders, Expect Politicians To Solve Your Problems, Or Wait For A Savior To Come Along And Save You?
The psychology behind following leaders is that people don’t trust their own decision-making skills so they relinquish the decision-making process to a leader they trust.
In other words, people are too scared to take responsibility for the consequences of their own decisions so they expect a leader to make the hard decisions on their behalf. They defer to the authority because when things go wrong they at least have somebody to blame and complain about.
The problem with this approach is obvious.
You can’t even trust your family members to have your best interests at heart, let alone strangers. This is true even when the leader in question is benevolent, which is rare. Most leaders are (knowingly or unknowingly) malevolent.
Letting others make decisions on your behalf is an evasion of responsibility. You take responsibility for your life by making your own decisions and owning the consequences.
Wasting too much time following politics has similar connotations even when you’re not expecting a particular political leader to solve your problems.
Most people waste their lives in the naïve hope that politicians will do something to make their lives better. They won’t.
Politics obviously has influence over our lives but unless you can afford to hire a lobbyist to actually influence policy-making, you have zero power to influence the policies of the government.
You are better off not wasting your time with politics and channeling your efforts into making your life better.
Governments are not there to help people. They’re there to exploit people. Of course, they say otherwise but why would they tell you the truth?
Escape the tyranny and extortion of the government. That’s your responsibility.
Never trust politicians or leaders nor expect a savior to come along and save you.
The truism that “no one is coming to save you” is a good start but it’s not enough.
If it was only “no one is coming to save you” then you’d have gotten off easy. Not only no one is coming to save you, but other people are actively trying to take away from you what you’ve got.
Life is not a fairy tale. The world is a brutally competitive place.
People are fiercely competing with each other for the same set of resources the world has to offer. Other people will screw you over if it means they outcompete you.
Don’t expect others, much less politicians or leaders, to come and save you.
Expect them to screw you over and take the necessary precautions against the harm they might inflict upon you.
4. Are You Willing To Pay The Price For Your Mistakes?
Life can’t be lived without making mistakes. Mistakes are fine and expected. No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes.
What matters is not whether you make mistakes or not but your attitude towards the mistakes you make.
Most people are unwilling to pay the price for their mistakes.
What they never understand is that it doesn’t matter whether they’re willing to pay the price for their mistakes or not. Life always finds a way to punish you for your mistakes. You pay a premium price if you avoid paying and get a large discount if you take responsibility and pay promptly.
When you are willing to pay the price for your mistakes you can not only correct them but you’ll also be less likely to repeat them. Moreover, if get used to paying the price for your mistakes you’ll often see that it’s not that bad so you are less afraid to make mistakes.
“I take responsibility for my mistakes” is an empty platitude. It’s easy to say “I’m responsible” and do nothing about it. The price of mistakes is paid by action.
For example, getting fat is a mistake but most people are reluctant to pay the price for it by enduring a period of hunger to lose the fat they gained. They end up paying a heftier price by putting up with the downsides of being fat.
If you’re fat, the correct approach is to frame dieting as paying the price for the mistake of getting fat.
Besides, if you aren’t willing to pay the price for your own mistakes, you will pay the price for the mistakes other people make and that price will almost always be heftier than the price of the mistakes you make yourself.
5. Do You Think For Yourself?
What separates you from an animal is your ability to think. Humans are at the top of the food chain not because we are physically the strongest but because we are the smartest.
How you use your mind not only makes you superior to animals but also makes you superior to most humans who refuse to use their minds.
Most people think their education is over the moment they graduate from school. What they never realize is that schools can’t be relied on for education.
Schools not only suck at teaching you real-life skills, but they’re also places of propaganda to render you an obedient slave ripe for extortion.
You can’t rely on television or newspapers to educate you either, because these mediums are propaganda machines of the elites who profit from your ignorance.
It’s your responsibility to educate yourself and develop an ability to think for yourself.
Thinking is a difficult task so most people are glad to turn over their thinking and decision-making process to other people.
But not only humans are selfish so they will protect their own interests usually at the expense of others, but also those who are eager to think and make decisions for others are usually power-hungry crooks who are in it for themselves.
If you let other people do the thinking for you, you pay a very expensive price which is your entire life.
If you fail to think for yourself you’re not taking enough responsibility for your life. Period.
The good news is that if you take the responsibility to think for yourself, you easily outcompete the majority of people who don’t.
6. Do You Miss Your Childhood Days?
Many adults miss their childhood days without realizing that this is a dead giveaway of their reluctance to take responsibility for their station in life.
When we were kids life was easy. The obstacles in front of us were conveniently removed by our parents so we had a smooth stride throughout life. This is the real reason why people miss their childhood.
What they actually miss isn’t childhood per se, but the lack of responsibility for overcoming the obstacles in front of them.
When you were a kid, you wanted to be an adult, and rightfully so because kids are powerless and adults are powerful.
But when you reach adult age, you realize that the power of adults you aspired to when you were a kid came attached to responsibility.
People don’t miss the powerlessness of childhood. They miss a life devoid of responsibility.
The life of an adult isn’t worse than the life of a child. Responsibility is hard.
Adulthood rocks. It’s better than childhood but only when you are willing to take responsibility.
Take responsibility, build a great life, and you will no longer miss your childhood days.
7. Does Your Life Have A Direction?
A lack of direction is another dead giveaway that you are not taking responsibility for your life.
If you lack direction, you tacitly agree that you are powerless to shape your future to your liking. You’re like a dead leaf in the wind that goes where the wind blows.
By gaining direction, you take responsibility for your future. You work hard to shape your future the way you want it to be.
Setting realistic goals is how you gain direction.
Focusing on achieving your goals lets you ignore the volatility of daily ephemeral emotions and allows you to prioritize actions that move you closer to your goals.
People who don’t take responsibility for their lives act as if they will live forever so they don’t mind wasting their time. They’ll deal with their responsibilities “someday” but not today. That “someday” usually never comes and they die without never getting around to do what they know to be necessary.
8. Do You Think Taking Responsibility For Your Life Is Scary?
Most people think taking responsibility for their lives is scary.
It’s a blow to their ego that they’re responsible for their failings so they go through all kinds of mental gymnastics to convince themselves that their station in life isn’t their fault.
The small minority of people who take responsibility for their lives think it’s invigorating to be responsible for their station in life.
Think about it. If your station in life is not your fault then you’re out of luck. Other people rarely care about you so it’s highly unlikely that your life will improve.
But if your station in life is your fault then it means you can fix it. It’s a thousand times easier to fix your own faults than to fix the faults of others.
Taking responsibility for your life isn’t scarier than not taking responsibility for your life. Actually, it’s not scary at all. It’s empowering.
How many questions did you answer correctly?
The more the number of your correct answers the more you take responsibility for your life.
Not all is lost if you didn’t pass with flying colors. You can always correct your erroneous ways.
Always keep in mind that the only way to live a better life is to take responsibility.
I’m not saying life is not unfair, or some people aren’t unlucky, or life is a bed of roses. I’m also not saying you’re guaranteed to turn your life around by taking responsibility.
But you must understand there are no other options. Your only shot is to take full responsibility for your life. No one else is going to make your life better for you.
Be sure to read:
- How to Be a Superior Man, Chapter 3: Gain Direction
- How Discipline Saves You From Stress, Anxiety, And Depression
- 3 Unusual Ways to Stop Being Lazy and Start Getting Things Done
- 24 Ways to Get Rid of the Victim Mentality and Adopt a Victor Mentality
- How to Get Your Life Together
- “I Hate My Life”: 5 Simple Steps to Turn Your Life Around