Meditations on 100% Responsibility

Key Concepts and Mindsets

  • 100% Responsibility for my: Thoughts/Beliefs, Feelings, Actions…these have nothing to do with other people.
  • What am I not able to do that other people can do?
  • Test if you’re on the Growth Path or the Blame Path. Am I feeling:
    • Powerful? Intentional? Compassionate/Loving? Free/Fearless?
    • If all are a yes, very likely on the Growth Path (which adds compassion to 100% responsibility)
  • Trying to get others to change their hearts/intentions through blame, shame and demands for restitution will not work; if it does work, it will work through punishment/reward, rather than through a legitimate heart change. All change comes from a change in our perception, meaning the only change that can happen in the other person “who hurt me” must arise from within themselves; not because I shamed/blame/forced them into the action. That path can ‘work’ too, though with obvious side effects (becoming utterly and totally dependent upon your say-so…) that are likely undesirable/costly.
  • Responsibility means locating the cause and control of our lives in ourselves, not in external events.
  • Every participant has the opportunity to take 100% responsibility for themselves and their beliefs. There are as many 100% as there are people. You can only take your own 100% responsibility, you can’t take it from, nor give it to, anyone else involved – any part of the 100% that you don’t take, you throw away to the winds.
  • Approach the other when there is no longer the desire or ‘need’ to do so. When we truly feel a balance around our own part in the situation, when we can see that our control can only extend to our actions, thoughts and feelings, then we stop trying to ‘fix’ the other person or ‘make them learn.’
  • Remember that shoes/pads for dulling our experience of the rock are temporary ways of reminding yourself to behave in a certain way, in hopes that this practice will result in a heart change. Eventually, through walking through the desert so much with shoes on, we learn how to navigate the desert without shoes, experiencing the possible pains in different ways. This is a long process, and at the same time needs to be balanced against the possibility of the shoe/pad becoming a racket in and of itself (i.e., “luckily I put on shoes, because that desert is evil.”)
  • The situation is nobody’s fault [shame/blame], I can only take responsibility for my own choices. I can only choose differently for myself.
  • “I’m Offended” – the root is ‘to take offense’. The action is done by oneself. With that, I cannot be offended by someone else; I can CHOOSE to take offense. I can also make other choices. The word “Embarrassed” has similar latin roots: Empowering, etc…(em-power) means to buy power. Someone cannot ‘offend’ or ’embarrass’ you. You choose those responses for yourself.

Taking Responsibility For Your Life

Steps towards a Soft Ass.

Also see Freedom From Suffering, a list of helpful tools/guides/concepts.
1) What is a troubling or difficult situation
2) Where are you? Reactive, or Creative Brain?
3) Can you accept yourself for where you are?
4) Are you willing to shift?
5) How will you shift?
6) Ask yourself, am I willing to take 100% responsibility (not more or less than 100% responsibility) for this issue? Are you willing to stop blaming and criticizing others and yourself?
7) How are you creating drama or allowing it to happen? Is there something you’re avoiding or indulging in?
8) What unquestioned beliefs or unrealistic expectations might be present?
9) Is there something you’re not able to do that others could do in this situation?
10) What is the payoff for keeping it like it is?
11) What’s the cost of keeping it like it is?
12) What’s it like from Jupiter (i.e., from a million miles away, in the grand scheme of things, how does this one situation look)?
13) What would you rather be experiencing?

Optional
15) What actions will you take to create that?
a) By when will you take that action?
16) What actions would you like to take if you don’t do it to keep yourself accountable?

Check out your B.S. (Blaming Statement)

Bonus Question: Who makes you angrier than anyone else in your life? ……………..Think before reading on………………….
If the answer was anything other than yourself, then chances are, less than 100% Responsibility is being taken.

E + R = O.  The Event + Our Response = The Outcome.      -Jack Canfield

Play the game . . .

When is it better to not take 100% responsibility?

Situation Noticings
Integrity, and wishing to be in it (or not) The consistency of agreements/values with which one chooses to respond occurs irrespective of 100% Responsibility, although it would be odd for them to be very discordant.  One may powerfully (100% Responsibility) choose to keep or break agreements/honor values.  Others likely have high or extreme interest in your integrity, and the consequences of being in or out of integrity.  Again, the outcome/aftermath of your choosing your feelings, thoughts, and actions is independent from the experience you choose, and the reactions of others toward your choices.
When life or livelihood are on the line “Yeah, but, if death (or huge financial loss) is on the line it is better to NOT be responsible!”  That sentiment confuses integrity and responsibility. The outcome has no impact on your ability to take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, or actions.  If you were about to be executed, it is possible (although extremely difficult) to choose a state of peace, resolve, allowing, and forgiveness.  See:  Aung San Suu Kyi
I’m human, not a machine!! Yes, we don’t have AI (Artificial Intelligence) machines yet.  Yes, people are imperfect; we make mistakes.  Yes, no one is 100% Responsible 100% of the time, although you always have the opportunity to be 100% Responsible in the moment you realize that you have not been in a given instance.
When you consider heroes, there are always examples of people who made powerful choices.  Remember to reflect:  “What am I not able to do that other people can do?” and “What limitations am I willing to argue for?”  Also, 100% Responsibility is not synonymous with perfection or a perfect choice, but rather that you have choice, and you make the best one you are capable of.
They’re assholes/evil, and I have to tell them / teach them / correct them 100% responsibility still allows us to present challenges and areas for growth to other people. AND it affirms that these challenges are most powerful when presented as options rather than demands, and when accompanied by observations and honest questions, rather than judgments and sneaky shoulds.

Again, a key metric here can be to only approach the other when there is no longer the desire or ‘need’ to do so. When we truly feel a balance around our own part in the situation, when we can see that our control can only extend to our actions, thoughts and feelings, then we stop trying to ‘fix’ the other person or ‘make them learn.’

When we approach another person with a desire to ‘school’ them, we are trying to teach a person who doesn’t exist… our enemy image of the other. By approaching the other person from a place of 100% ownership, balance and love, we embrace words and concepts like: curiosity, inviting, wondering, welcoming, broadening. By approaching the person as a hard rock that needs to change (or be smashed), we are thinking with words and concepts like: should, improve, be better, just, ‘you need to,’ lesson learning.

When social/cultural factors and DNA restrictions/realities are in effect Yes, flapping arms doesn’t create flight.  Yes, significantly lower IQ offers less capacity/capability.  Yes, people appreciate help, and help can certainly be helpful.  Yes, some people may need/require help to perform/operate at a certain level/task.  Support is lovely!  And, if that help is not present, what is possible?  100% Responsibility does NOT argue that all external choices are available to you; it DOES offer that you have the capacity to make the most powerful choice you’re capable of in terms of your thoughts, feelings, and actions.  What line are you willing to draw in the sand for yourself/others?  How sure are you that that is where the line really is?
When I have agreements with others and they break them (like my life’s mate) The “What Happened” is that an agreement was made (and let’s imagine understood), and the agreement was broken by one party/person.  Remember, we’re not figuring out who the victim is here, nor are we looking outside ourselves toward the other person.  Instead, 100% Responsibility invites you to examine the information/What Happened, and decide, 100%, what YOUR thoughts, feelings, and actions are.  Were I Powerful, Intentional, Compassionate/Loving, & Fearless/free, what would my choices look like?  What would the most honored, powerful, compassionate person I can imagine do/think/feel?  In a peaceful, centered, balanced place, with a strong “Soul Nature,” who is the person I wish to be in this, and the next, moment?

Meaningful Quotes on 100% Responsibility

“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.”
-Chuck Palahniuk

“Today, more than ever before, Life must be characterized by a sense of universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life.”
-Dalai Lama

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

“We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.”
-George Bernard Shaw

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.”
-Tim Rohn

“The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.”
-John C. Maxwell

“The problem with taking offense is that it’s really hard to figure out what to do with it after you’re done using it. Better to just leave it on the table and walk away. Umbrage untaken quietly disappears.”
-Seth Godin

“Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”
-Sigmund Freud

“The difficulty we have in accepting responsibility for our behavior lies in the desire to avoid the pain of the consequences of that behavior.”
-M. Scott Peck

“What is a fear of living? It’s being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself – for the time you take up and the space you occupy.”
-Maya Angelou
Note: Maya Angelou made choices to act despite being disadvantaged, having a very rough life. A challenge to the concept of 100% Responsibility is that disadvantaged people can’t be held to this idea/ideal. However, it’s about making choices for where you are.

“The happiest people in the world are those who feel absolutely terrific about themselves, and this is the natural outgrowth of accepting total responsibility for every part of their life.”
-Brian Tracy

“Of all the parts of your body, be most vigilant over your index finger, for it is blame-thirsty. A pointed finger is a victim’s logo.”
-Joseph Brodsky

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose a response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
-Victor Frankl (Man’s Search for Meaning)

How You Are is How It Is

The common denominator you’ve had in every conflict is yourself.

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”
-Stephen Covey

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”
-Alice Walker

“Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

“Nothing is so bitter that a calm mind cannot find comfort in it. Small tablets, because of the writer’s skill, have often served for many purposes, and a clever arrangement has often made a very narrow piece of land habitable. Apply reason to difficulties; harsh circumstances can be softened, narrow limits can be widened, and burdensome things can be made to press less severely on those who bear them cleverly.”
Marcus Aurelius echoed this wisdom two thousand years ago. He put it this way: “Because a thing is difficult for you, do not therefore suppose it beyond mortal power. On the contrary, if anything is possible and proper for a man to do, assume that it must fall within your own capacity.”
– Seneca

“Today I escaped from the crush of circumstances, or better put, I threw them out, for the crush wasn’t from outside me but in my own assumptions.”
– Marcus Aurelius

“Freedom doesn’t mean no responsibility. In fact, it requires extra responsibility. Freedom is the ability to make a choice, and responsibility is required once you make that choice.”
– Seth Godin

“Once individuals recognize their role in creating their own life predicament, they also realize that they, and only they, have the power to change that situation”
-Irvin Yalom

The Rare Responsible Person

  • Self-motivating
  • Self-aware
  • Self-disciplined
  • Self-improving
  • Recognizes their own “Response-Ability”…the ability to choose their response
  • Acts like a leader
  • Doesn’t wait to be told what to do
  • Never feels “that’s not my job”
  • Completes tasks 100%

Choices (Seth Godin)

Non-obvious actions taken in obvious moments, difficult decisions that might be easier to avoid, responses instead of reactions, and most of all, the choices we make when it doesn’t even seem like we have a choice–all of these, taken together, define who we are and the impact we make.
“I had no choice,” actually means, “I had only one path that was easy in the moment.”
The agenda we invent and act on defines our organizations, our work, and the people we choose to become.

Dalai Lama on 100% Responsibility (+Tonglen)

Common belief that suffering is unnatural, and that we SHOULD not be experiencing it. With great technology and affluence, suffering is seen as an anomaly, and that there is a failure of some sort, as happiness is an unalienable right. Yes, we want to alleviate suffering, and expecting no, or very little, suffering to occur sets us up to fail.
If I am suffering, there is a victim – and a perpetrator (e.g., government, uncaring mate, educational system, family, gender) The Dalai Lama would refer to suffering that existed only in one’s head as suffering nonetheless, and that the victim is oneself. That said, it is difficult to think of an internal suffering that isn’t a referent to something external (including social norms/beliefs), other than the physical.
Victim of disease or defective genes; victim stance, and perpetuate our suffering.
Anger, frustration, and resentment are the hallmarks of a victim stance.
Will play over our hurts and injustices over and over again. We reinforce them, and make them so much worse.
We often believe that how the world occurs to us is something that is happening to us alone.
We are able to modify extent of suffering depending on how we react to the situation.

More related concepts of 100% Responsibility: