Operation “YOU”: Taking Personal Responsibility

– Sanjil Garg

There is no easy way to say it: Your biggest problem is Yourself. It is not the climate, or the economy, or the government or the setting of the stars. It’s You. Phew!
I’m glad we sorted it out. Now, we can start getting You out of Your own way. Prepare Yourself for the operation: You.

The things that happen to You. Because of You
In life, there are things that happen to You and your actions to the same. On one You have control, and on the other You have none.

The things that happen to You are often out of Your control. Your boss is in a bad mood. Your football team lost in the playoffs. Your car will not start. You can’t control many of these. Maybe You can influence them. For example, servicing Your car regularly means that it starts, but mostly that stuff happens. The more effort You put into worrying about it, that very amount of energy You can actually use into something constructive; making some positive changes in Your life.

Your actions to the things that happen to You are completely under Your control. In understanding this, You must put the power in Your hands and take it away from those around You. Meaning, no one else can prevent You from getting what You want. That’s why I wrote earlier that You should get out of Your own way.

Are You in cause or effect?
Psychology students are taught about external and internal regulatory control. Exterior control is when You believe external factors control Your situation. Meanwhile, Internal control is when You believe Your actions are in control of yourself. Internal control takes responsibility for what is happening in Your life. The defining aspect between the two types of controls is personal responsibility. When You take responsibility for what is happening in Your life, You put Yourself in a position of power; a position where You can achieve Your dreams.

Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioners are aware of cause and effect. When You are in control, You are the cause – You have Your results. When You are under influence, the external world will affect Your results. It is essential to understand the differences between these two positions-  the reason being that of gaining a ‘vantage point for empowerment’. This weakens the effect that You would otherwise associate with others and their actions. The point of vantage allows You to explain Your poor results and focus on yourself. If You want positive results in Your life, You need to take responsibility and be in control of Your responses, actions and outcomes.


Operation You: Taking Personal Responsibility
We often hear things like, “You make me really mad.” It may sound reasonable when seen under a context but actually Nobody has the power to make You feel anything if You don’t allow it. No matter what someone else does, You always have control over Your response. You can choose to be mad. You can choose to split up with the person. Or You can choose something else. Any external agency/person will not make You mad unless You give them the power to do so.

This awareness flies in front of the general idea. It is frightening and liberating. Being in control means that nothing stands in Your way. And if anything gets in the way, You can find a way around it. It also means that Your excuses are null and void. Taking full responsibility for Your life means that You can return when something goes wrong. It’s not an easy road, that’s for sure.


3 ways to energize the Operation-You
It may be a leap to suggest that You change the way You think, immediately. Although it is possible, it is difficult to suddenly stop the sequence of activities that your mind had been accustomed to all this while. Instead, here are three exercises You can take to help You take full responsibility for Your results and Your life.


1. Start a journal
It’s hard to understand what’s going on in Your life if You leave everything to memory. The way You remember things may not be the way they actually happened. Over time, those memories become more like stories than reality. Similarly, tacking Your progress along time can also be difficult. If You don’t have a clear written record of what came before what, it is all but impossible to understand how far You’ve come. Without such a record You may either overestimate or underestimate Your development.


A journal is a simple way to record Your progress. Exactly how You choose to maintain a journal is up to You. However, I recommend that You start simple. At the start of each day, write down three things You can do to make Your day wonderful. At the end of each day, write down three great things that happened that day, and also one thing You could have done to make the day better. By simply writing down Your experiences and reminding Yourself of what You are in control of, You will start taking more responsibility for Your outcomes.


2. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of what is happening in Your life right now. We often miss what is going on right in front of our eyes because we are so focused on what we don’t have rather than what we do have.


Mindfulness is not religious, and it need not be spiritual unless You want that to be so. One of my favourite mindfulness exercises is sitting quietly with a cup of coffee and fully engaging with the experience. Savouring the sensations of touch, smell, taste, sight, and even sound. It takes only five minutes and is a powerful reminder of how much we miss everyday as we skate through our busy lives.

Mindfulness teaches that You have everything You need right here in this present moment. This understanding allows You to let go of anxiety. Anxiety is an emotion based upon a projection of what might happen in the future. If You pay attention to the present, You cannot agonize over the
imaginary future.

When You remove anxiety, You free up valuable mental capacity that You can dedicate to doing the work required to get the outcomes You desire. And when You understand that everything You need is right here and right now, then You remove any excuses You might make for Your mistakes or poor results. The finger gets pointed back at You.


3. Model Your Idols
Success leaves clues. Those who have come before You and have done what You want to do can teach You how to get what You want. You don’t have to meet Your idols to learn their methods. You can listen to interviews, read biographies, and even attend events.

Many of the people You admire have amazing journeys and educational stories. Consider what You can learn from those who came before You. Determine what it is You want to learn and then start Your research. Pay particular attention to the systems, routines, and habits Your idols implemented on their path to achieving their dreams.

You will find that those You admire took control of their lives and would not let obstacles get in their way. Most of all they took full responsibility for their outcomes. You can do the same.

Over to You
The actions You take lead to the outcomes You achieve. Those actions are based on the beliefs You hold to be true. If You believe You are in control, You empower Yourself to charge forth and get what You want from this life. May You find the power to make Your dreams come true.

The author is an MBA student from the Great Lakes Institute of Management

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