It has crossed my mind recently, and as a result of reading various Blog Posts and resulting comments, that our (and probably your) education system needs an additional subject taught – “Choices and Personal Responsibilities”. It would probably only need to be included for a short period of time… say 3 months, but attendance would be mandatory!
The problem, at least from my perspective, is that children > teens > adults are so frequently missing two key components of life. One, is that they have choices, all of which have consequences. Two is that they must take responsibility for their actions.
The concept of choices is difficult for some people to grasp because, they claim, there are things for which we had no choice. Technically, they are of course correct however, those specific circumstances do give us choices!
My favorite local hero is Rick Hansen. At 15 he was involved in a serious traffic accident which left him with a spinal cord injury and he became a paraplegic. I do not know the details of how the accident happened, but let us assume that he was not responsible in any way. He therefore became paraplegic at 15 years old and through no choice of his own however, he was then confronted with a very different future to what he would have expected.
He could have spent the rest of his life blaming “fate” for his condition, but he chose to look for the positives and use them to not only benefit others, but to provide a huge personal satisfaction of a productive life.
There are many other well known people who have survived adversity by making specific choices. Sadly, there are so many people who do not understand that they do have choices, even with basic living. If it is a rainy, cold and windy day, I have the choice of being miserable, or the choice of seeing it as an opportunity to do something inside, or to simply go out and enjoy the weather!
The stumbling block with understanding this concept appears to be the responsibility that goes with it. It is so easy (much too easy) to simply play the “blame game” and therefore avoid taking any responsibility! I am having a bad day because of the weather! Laying blame is allocating responsibility, and you cannot expect the weather to take any responsibility. You are in control of your emotions… so make choices.
“I was late for work because of the traffic!” It would probably be more truthful to say “I was late for work because I did not allow enough travel time given the traffic conditions.”
It is common to hear about somebody being upset because of what somebody else said/did. You can lay blame in these circumstances… but should you? Once again, we are not exercising our ability to control our own emotions. Of course there are circumstances which could overwhelm us, but then recognize that we have made the choice (sub-conscious or otherwise) to be overwhelmed. This simply means that we take responsibility for that choice, and not blame others.
When our cat Skeeta had to be “put down” (around 30 years ago now), it was a very traumatic period for me, and I still get emotional when thinking of her. It would be ludicrous for me to blame my emotional state on poor Skeeta as she did nothing except become very ill. My emotions then, and now, are what I allow them to be. As we have the ability to express emotions, I am very comfortable expressing them as necessary, but it is my choice to do so.
If we see our lives as simply a series of choices to be made, and we take full responsibility for those choices, then life will be so much more fulfilling. We will have removed all those tired excuses that we have used for years to explain our situation but, most importantly, we will have realized our own potential and can direct our lives accordingly. We will have power that we may not have realized that we had.
ps. I do not have the power to make any of you comment so, if you do, it is by your choice and you must accept full responsibility for it! 🙂