The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it. – LOU HOLTZ
Taking full responsibility for your life, your actions, your failures, your successes, is one of the major keys to success. It involves quitting the blame game, quit blaming the government, your spouse, your parents, your frenemies, your enemies, internet trolls et al. Whatever would go wrong usually would go wrong (Murphy’s Law) but when things go wrong like they often do, do not go wrong with it or blame anyone. It is easy to stay positive when things are going right, the challenge is how you would react when things don’t go the way you want it to happen.
The Blame Game supersede you and I as it was said to have started in the Garden of Eden, Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the snake but the snake did not have a leg to stand on.
Until you accept responsibility for your life, someone else runs your life – orin Woodward
Taking full responsibility is not an easy task especially when you have not been brought up/groomed like that. We are in a world where we are constantly comparing ourselves to each other, in a social media age where it is always green at the other side, The day that changes your life is when you take 100% (Full) responsibility for your life. To help you navigate the 100% responsibility journey, here are some great insights from top minds:
In the Seasons of Life, Jim Rohn share the following insight:
I would be experimenting with going 21 days without complaining, the challenge is inspired by Will Bowen, a Kansas City minister who wrote the book: A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted. I have ordered the complaint-free bracelet and I know it is not going to be easy, as I have become more conscious of my complaining tendency after reading the book.
It is going to be a roller coaster ride and am taking some measures to make the challenge easier such as making a list of the people I complain to the most, start noting things I complain most about, triggers for complaining, limit time on social media, avoid chronic complainers, find a complaint-free buddy et al.
It is not complaining to speak directly and only to the person who can resolve an issue
The Complaint Free Challenge
Putting a purple silicone bracelet on your wrist and then switching it from wrist to wrist every time you complained, until you completed twenty-one consecutive days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping. In so doing, you would have formed a new habit. By becoming conscious of and changing their words, they have changed your thoughts and begun to create your live by design.
Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them. ―John Wooden
We all fall into the trap at one point or the other blaming, complaining, and making excuses. Most times we are not even aware we are doing it, we say we are venting, sharing our frustrations, “a problem shared is a problem halved“. Most of the times, the people we are complaining to can not really do anything about our problems but we still share it with them, guess at times it feels good but most times after sharing the problem with them, it either gets worst with their ill given advice or you still don’t have the solution.
Most of the time, we do complain about the things we can change such as a toxic work environment, a bad relationship, money problems, to people who can not really do anything about it. We hardly complain about for example gravity because we have accepted it: whatever goes up must come down. Life happens to all of us but the only way to change any situation is to DO something about it: Fix It, Solve it. Where Energy goes attention goes, what you focus on expands.
Never tell your problems to anyone…20% don’t care and the other 80% are glad you have them. – Lou Holtz Jr.
Author Will Bowen. in his book, A Complaint Free World, shares the following story:
There is an old story of two construction workers sitting down to eat lunch together. The first worker opens his lunch box and complains, “Yech! A meatloaf sandwich.… I hate meatloaf sandwiches.” His friend says nothing. The following day, the two meet up again for lunch. Again the first man opens his lunch box, looks inside, and, this time more agitated, says, “Another meatloaf sandwich?
Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.― C.G. Jung
There is a story about a man who was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.
He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.
Elephants never forget
Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. —Don Miguel Ruiz
On your path to greatness, there will always be detractors, doubters and naysayers. The distractions come from everywhere and every form you can imagine: Family Members, Friends, Monitoring Spirits, Online Tolls. As Mahatma Gandhi once said “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win“. When these distractions come, you have to see the end in mind, ignore the naysayers, focus on your goals, and EXECUTE
Your Results would cancel the Insults.
When these detractors come around like they often do, remember the words of Theodore Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Steve Jobs, ex-CEO of Apple Computer & Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005, delivered one of the most inspiring commencement speech at Stanford University.
If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid – Epictetus
Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish excerpt from the 2005 Steve Jobs Commencement Speech
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: It was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
If you wish to improve, be content to appear clueless or stupid in extraneous matters. Don’t wish to seem knowledgeable, and if some regard you as important, distrust yourself ~Epictetus.
William Gladstone, four time Prime Minister of Great Britain was an avid reader of books. He loved books so much that he wrote a book “On Books and the Housing of Them” on how best to house them. He personally amassed 32,000 books in his home at Hawarden Castle, which he had transferred to a public library during his old age.
Today, Gladstone’s Library is a tourist attraction situated at Hawarden in Flintshire, Wales. Together with its historical affinity with the British Prime Minister, the library is active in the local community, making much of its collection available to the public for perusal within the building and lending. The instructions found in this essay influence to this day the management of Gladstone’s book collection. Gladstone’s Library is the UK’s only residential library
I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening. – Larry King
I am not the best of listener, it is a weakness am taking conscious effort in trying to remedy. It is a constant battle for me to stay silent when someone is speaking. It is a life long journey, just like any habit. You can Learn and Unlearn any thing you put your mind into.
I am committing to Listening for a change. Here are some thoughts and insights on Listening that could help:
In the Contranian’s Guide to Leadership, Steven B. Sample wrote :The average person suffers from three delusions:
- That he is a good driver
- That he has a good sense of humor
- That he is a good listener
The biggest mistake you can make in trying to talk convincingly is to put your highest priority on expressing your ideas and feelings. What most people really want is to be listened to, respected, and understood. The moment people see that they are being understood, they become more motivated to understand your point of view. – David D. Burns (Psychiatrist and Author)
John Maxwell in his Book, the leaders greatest return, shares a joke about listening:
We hear half of what what is being said, listen to half of what we hear, understand half of that, believe half of that, and remember only half of that. If you translate those assumptions into an eight hour workday, here is what what would mean:
- You spend about four hours listening
- You hear about two hour of what is said
- You actually listen to an hour of that
- You understand only thirty minutes of that
- You believe only fifteen minutes of that
- And you remember only seven and a half minutes of it.
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. -Maya Angelou
In his Book, First Break All The Rules, British author and business consultant, Marcus Buckingham shares the following parable:
There once lived a scorpion and a frog.
The scorpion wanted to cross the pond, but, being a scorpion, he couldn’t swim. So he scuttled up to the frog and asked: “Please, Mr. Frog, can you carry me across the pond on your back?”
“I would,” replied the frog, “but, under the circumstances, I must refuse. You might sting me as I swim across.”
“But why would I do that?” asked the scorpion. “It is not in my interests to sting you, because you will die and then I will drown.”
Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. ― Bruce Lee
How do you answer the question: What do you do? Do you answer with your present/past Job Description(s). For Example:
The above responses are what have done in the past/presently doing but they are not who I am because I am constantly re-inventing myself like we should all be doing. We need to constantly be in Permanent Beta Mode.
In the The Start-up of You, Reid Hoffman notes:
Technology companies sometimes keep the beta test phase label on software for a time after the official launch to stress that the product is not finished so much as ready for the next batch of improvements. Gmail, for example, launched in 2004 but only left official beta in 2009, after millions of people were already using it.
One of my favourite quote from a movie is from “Akeelah and the Bee:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.
I developed my keen interest in playing various board games such as Scrabble,Monopoly and Chess after watching the Akeelah and the Bee Movie.
Our deepest fear quote is originally from Marianne Williamson, I agree profoundly with the statement.
Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them. – John Wooden
We give ourselves various excuses/reasons and we talk ourselves out from achieving our greatness by saying things like : I am too young, I am too old, I am too skinny, I am too fat, I am too dark, I am too this I am too that.
Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better.
Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills
Don’t wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom.
― Jim Rohn
Failure isn’t so bad if it doesn’t attack the heart.
Success is all right if it doesn’t go to the head.—GRANTLAND RICE
I learn more through my failures than my successes and preparing for an Information Technology Certification is one of the most exciting ways to fail forward. It is very exhilarating with its twists and turns, scenario based questions, certification and re-certification, study guides, online video tutorials (Linkedin Learning, Pluralsight, Udemy,), braindumps, online forums, blogs, official certification blog etc.
Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. – Bill Gates
I have been experimenting with a digital detox/minimalism for the past 6 years since 2013 but I became more deliberate with it since February 2018. I have not used the following Apps personally since February 2018 but I still manage some project related social media accounts
Twitter – Deactivated
I am presently using only two apps sparingly and am always looking for aways to limit my use of these apps and it is a constant battle of will and discipline.
Linkedin – The only app that still has my attention
Whatsapp – I try to install once to thrice a week and delete immediately after using it to make international calls/replies – it seems cheaper.
“If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life – and only then will I be free to become myself.” – Martin Heidegger
Momento Mori is the symbolic/artistic reminder of the inevitability of Death. The thing is that we are all going to DIE at one point in our life. No matter how long you and I live, whether as long as Methuselah (969) or as short as Jesus Christ (33) or Tupac (25), Steve Jobs(56), the most important thing is the legacy we live behind.
In his very wonderful book Unf*ck Yourself, Gary Bishop shared this thought on dying:
Imagine that you’re on your death bed. You hear the beep… beep… beep of the monitor nearby. Your health is critical, and you’ve only got a few hours to live. You can feel your heartbeat and energy slide.
You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.― H. L. Mencken
I recently lost my Mum on the 31st of March 2019, it was one of the toughest days of my life. My mum was sick for a while but never thought she was going to be gone so soon. She battled cancer for 9+ Months and it was a roller coaster year but she did not survive it.
The following days, weeks and months have been extremely tough -the overwhelm, the despair, the withdrawals, the tears, the silence from so-called friends and family members, the longing to have just one more conversation with her, the memories.
We all grief differently and life can be cruel with its twist and turns, losing her also brought one more thing into my Life: Learning to number my days, having a sense of urgency and finally understanding the real meaning of Life is Short.