Chapter 18

Taking Ownership

We have all heard stories of people who refuse to take responsibility for their actions and blame others for their failures. It’s their parents’ fault, their boss’s fault, the fault of the conservatives or liberals, the cigarette companies, the fast-food industry—the system is out to get them. Whah, whah, whah! Someone or something else is always the cause of their failure. Our culture supports this victim mentality more and more. In fact, our legal system even promotes it. We now reward people for not taking responsibility for their choices and finding someone or something other than themselves to blame.

In spite of the perceived benefits, people with a victim mind-set pay a terrific price. A victim allows his success to be limited by external circumstances, people, or events. As long as we continue to be victims of our circumstances, we will experience life as a struggle and others as a threat.

Accountability, on the other hand, allows you to gain control of your life, to shape your destiny, and to fulfill your potential. In its purest form, accountability is simply taking ownership of one’s actions and results. The fact of the matter is that successful people are accountable.

Accountability is not about blaming yourself or punishing others. It is simply a stance in life in which people acknowledge their role in outcomes. Accountability is not concerned with fault, but rather what it takes to create better results. Until we and our organizations accept ...

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