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  Selected Articles ::
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Detached Detachment
Happiness is your Birth Right
Giving is Life
Truth - A Practical Necessity
Taking Responsibility For Life

Related Articles
Two Swamis – Getting Stuck
 

Taking Responsibility For Life ::

When going is good and a person achieves some success, he always takes pride in his achievement, pats himself at his back and starts boasting of his competence, hard work, perseverance etc. Generally the success goes into his head. He starts behaving with an air of superiority. His brilliant success in examination, his bagging a prized job, promotion in the company or signing a major business contract are occasions to celebrate his personal efforts, smartness and capabilities. He hardly acknowledges any support, co-operation or contribution by any one else towards his success.
 



 

But whenever a person faces any failure or is unable to meet with any commitment he looks for scapegoats. He immediately points his finger at some people, events or circumstances to blame for his failure. If he is late getting up in the morning, the blame is on his spouse, parent or the alarm clock for not waking him up in time. When he misses the bus, train or flight, the blame is on his family or traffic system, city management authorities or the weather. If he can’t find an easier scapegoat, a person even blames God for all the negatives in his life

His attitude is some thing like this:
I cannot be held responsible; it was not my fault because:
My wife failed to wake me up in time.
Relatives dropped in and stayed long after midnight.
 

I am just unlucky.
My stars are not just in right places.
My assistant in office is useless; he was at fault.
It wasn’t my job or responsibility.
How could I do this when I had other important things to do?
My boss interferes too much.
We could have done better but for the sluggish market conditions.  So on and so forth…

There is always some one or some thing else to blame for all that goes wrong. Throughout life they practice intellectual defensiveness and keep on justifying their thoughts and actions to themselves and to others.  Whether they are right or wrong, they tend to offer seemingly logical arguments to justify their actions and feel contented that there is nothing more to be done.

Most people find it difficult to manage difficult and uncomfortable emotions like anger. When a person loses his temper and behaves irrationally, he not only hurts others but also himself. He fails to realize that irrespective of the others instigation, the emotion of anger is his own. Others may have just given the spark but the fire in the belly is his own. He fails to own the responsibility for his own emotion. He takes full credit for his positive emotions like love, kindness, compassion, care, empathy etc,  without feeling least accountable for his negative emotions like jealousy, hatred, arrogance and rigidity etc.

Every person experiences the quality of life, events and circumstances that he has consciously or unconsciously created for himself. It is foolish to complain about the circumstances of life, for these are the outward manifestation of what we are ourselves. When life is not going smoothly and the problems start becoming difficult to handle, instead of getting frustrated and blaming our fortune, our parents or others, we should go within and examine our past deeds. Loosing our cool or getting irritated with the persons around us is easy, it is more sensible to introspect whether we ourselves are responsible in any way for the events? We might find our bad behaviour, faulty thinking or poor communication contributed in some ways for shaping the current happenings.
 

Taking Responsibility and Development 

Blaming others might satisfy your urge to find scapegoat. But examining the situation and especially going within to look at our past actions might release tremendous creative energy leading to early resolution of problems. Even when you realize that others or circumstances beyond you were the real culprits, you can strategize differently to confront similar situations in future. This will lead to personal growth and transformation.  Perceptions will become more realistic and quality of life will improve.

Even in an organisation, several issues and problems crop up on daily basis. These hinder the smooth functioning of the business and threaten to create disharmony among people. If a conscious effort is made by people to look within for root causes of the problem, they may find that the current difficulties have arisen because of past carelessness, actions or inactions? Such exercise could lead to long term solutions of problems instead of quick fix approach. But this takes courage!

And as long as a person keeps blaming outside factors, there is no scope for any improvement. If things have to improve, a person must start looking inside and asking himself questions like, ‘Where did I go wrong’? ‘What can I do to improve things’? He should meditate on his personal weaknesses or drawbacks and take steps to correct the situations for future. This alone will bring about desired changes in his life.

The moment a person understands that he is responsible for his own life; he starts planning his life better. When he fails to reach his work place in time, he does not look for excuses nor points his finger at the family members or the bad traffic. Instead he understands and accepts his personal responsibility for not taking necessary steps the night before or in the morning. He examines his own shortcomings and attempts to overcome them in future.
 

Responsibility Defined

In his famous book ’The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, the famous author Stephen Covey explains ‘responsibility’ as ‘response-ability’ – ability to choose response. According to him highly pro-active people do not blame circumstances, conditions or conditioning for their behaviour. Their behaviour is the product of their own conscious choice based on their perceptions and values rather than a product of their condition based on their feelings only. He further observes that when a person’s behaviour is the result of their feelings only, he becomes reactive. Reactive people are generally affected by their physical environment. For example, if the weather is good, they feel good and if the weather is bad, it affects their attitude and performance. On the other hand, the proactive person carries his own weather with him. Whether it rains or shines, it makes no difference to him. He is value driven.
 
Choices

Whether to be reactive or pro-active is again a matter of personal choice. Every person has a freedom of the choice to either react or respond in the face of any stimulus. If this freedom is judicially exercised, it becomes easy to feel responsible for the consequences there-after. We have a ‘choice’ of choices we make but once having made a ‘choice’, we have no choice of the consequences of our ‘choice’. We can become the owner driver of our life’s vehicle than the paid driver. Only the owner driver has the privilege to choose when and where to stop, where to take a turn or stop to relax. The paid driver does not have this freedom. He must obey the commands of his master, When a person’s marriage is on rocks, taking responsibility would mean examining his own personal conduct, attitude; action and behaviour rather than pointing finger at his spouse and blaming her for every thing that went wrong.

Unless we accept our responsibility, we become the victims of life instead of its master. Accusing others and holding grievances for our failures is easy but taking responsibility for one's life requires courage and wisdom. It means mature thinking and hard work. It means being part of the solution rather a part of the problem. This is personal excellence.

Taking ‘responsibility’ does not mean blaming ourselves or carrying a guilt complex in our mind. It means creating an awareness of ‘as I sow, so shall I reap’. It means stopping to think that I am always right and others are wrong. It means accepting that what happens to us is the result of our own choices. It means being pro-active in nurturing our relationships and creating the right kind of environment around us so that it generates positive vibrations for a joyful and satisfying life.
 

Self Made People

Many persons proclaim proudly and at the top of their voice that they are ‘self made’. They did not seek or receive any support from any one for their growth. No one held their hands and led them on the stairs to success. They have been self-reliant. Broadly speaking they may be right in their proclamation but truly speaking they have been supported and helped by many others – persons, agencies and organisations. Let us examine the facts.

 

From the moment we are born and all throughout our life, several factors facilitate the smoothness of our life. Birth was smoothened by competent doctors and nurses. Graduation in school and college was made possible because of the foresight, hard work, immaculate planning and financial contribution of several agencies including parents, educationists, planners, donors, society and government. The total cost per student to any educational institution is generally several times more than the fees paid by a full fees paying student. Up to the point any student is engaged in studies,
 

it is the parents, family and society that are paying for him, as soon as a student graduates to professional work life and starts earning, he generally thinks of only bettering his personal lot. His focus is on his personal growth, his wife, his children and material progress.

Responsible people do go out of their way to show their gratefulness to the society and contribute their resources of time and money for worthwhile social causes. Ideally it should be the bounden duty of every one to contribute to the best of his abilities to nurture the process, which nurtured us?

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