What is Our Responsibility?

For this article, I am inspired by the great book The 7 Habits of highly effective people by Steven Covey.

I saw the sentence: “We are free to choose our actions, based on our knowledge of correct principles, but we are not free to choose the consequences of those actions.”

This is a very simple truth, but I am not sure how many people are aware of this. This sentence comes down to responsibility. Responsibility is defined as doing things you are supposed to do and accept the results of your actions.

Sure, we have freedom; we can choose our actions or no-actions. We can choose to fix something or leave it as it is. We can stay in our comfort zone or go out there and experience life from many different perspectives.

It is our choice. But it’s completely out of our control what consequences we might face later.

This means we better learn the rules of the game and enjoy happy moments. Or else, life will make us do this the harder way.

Your life circumstances might be terrible at the moment. Let’s see, what are all of the things that could go wrong (and many of you reading this can relate at least to some of the things on the list):

– Divorce

– Bankruptcy

– Sicknesses or special needs in the family

– Loss of a loved one.

– Unsuccessful project

– Losing a job or a failed business

– Conflict situations with the people around you

– Accident or terrible natural disaster

These are some of the most difficult situations that might come in life. There are many other not so serious challenges, but they can still cause negative emotions, like struggling with finding meaning and purpose in life, feeling unfulfilled and like you don’t matter, comparing to your successful friends and family members, dealing with food disorders and lack of will for exercising and other self-care, feeling that everybody has some interest in their life except you.

When I saw that sentence in the book, “We are free to choose our actions, but we are not free to choose the consequences of those actions.” the word responsibility came to mind. Then I thought: What are we responsible for regarding our wellbeing?

I think that priority number one should be growing awareness of ourselves. We have to define what are our values and our priorities. Define who we truly are. This will explain to us why we say and do the things that we do.

Many people take this approach in life: Sit back and wait for the change to happen.

That’s why some people wait a whole lifetime for “better opportunities to show up.”

Before our daughter Joana came into our lives, I took this approach for some of the life aspects. I wasn’t very proactive, had a lot of excuses because my life looks the way it looks at the moment, and so on. Not saying that I was irresponsible, just that I wasn’t aware that I couldn’t get where I wanted to be by doing the things I was doing.

I wasn’t aware of what exactly is my responsibility. It was easier to blame the circumstances in my life.

You know the saying: You can’t get a solution to the problem with the same behavior you got yourself in that problem. It’s our responsibility to change our behavior.

The second great responsibility should be taking good health care of ourselves, especially when there is no particular reason to do that. When we are at our best health, then is the time to take good care of ourselves.

We can choose not to exercise, continue nutrition as it is, and not do a regular medical checkup. But we cannot choose inevitable obesity, blood pressure and cardio problems, and all the other complications because of our choices.

The third great responsibility is education. You can choose to go with the flow and say right away: 9h working day, plus children and family – I don’t have time for learning new things.

Or, you can make some adjustments in your schedule and create a few hours a week to learn something more in your field of expertise. Or develop a new interest outside what you are working. Another thing from this book is: Our most important financial asset is our own capacity to earn. If we don’t continually invest in improving our knowledge, we limit our options.

Fourth, it is our responsibility to develop integrity and compassion. It is our responsibility to be aware of how we treat others. How much is your muscle of understanding others developed?

What you give out in the world is exactly what you receive in return.

Five, it is our responsibility to take care of our time management skills. There Is a way to learn how to organize your time better. These skills include learning how to prioritize, learning effectiveness, discipline, and consistency.

Time is not something we have. It’s something we create. Learn how to create time for everything you want in your life.

Six, it is our responsibility to recognize when we are stuck at some point. It is our responsibility to ask for help if we need it. Finding the right people who can help you can be uncomfortable at first. Most of us have deep beliefs that we should know it all and do it all by ourselves. Many of us still believe that if we are stuck and ask for help, that means we are broken. That something must be wrong with us.

The reality is the opposite of this. Read the biographies of the people who are happy, balanced, and enjoy wonderful lives. A common thing for all of them is they were brave to admit that they needed help. Some looked for help in therapy, some in mentorship, some were looking for partners or allies with the same values. It’s not shameful to use other people’s help.

We are social beings and can’t do everything by ourselves and on our own.

Think about all of this. In what areas of your life do you feel you act responsibly? What are the things you would need to do a little work on to change? You are welcome to join us on Coffee with Maya. It’s a free Zoom meeting where we learn together, share ideas, and discuss topics like this.





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