[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you[/quote]
– Henry Ward Beecher
Personal accountability is accepting responsibility for who you are, what you do and what happens in your life. It is your ability to look in the mirror when something goes wrong and ask some fundamental questions like:
– What did I do to contribute to this happening?
– What do I need to do in the future to prevent it from happening again?
– How can I prevent others from making this same mistake?
– Who do I need to involve in getting this right?
– What do I need to do to fix this situation?
– What else do I need to do?
By taking this approach you have accepted personal accountability and are in the right mindset to take the necessary action.
The alternative to this is to look out the window and look to hold somebody else accountable for what has happened. This usually happens when we ask questions like:
– Why did this happen to me?
– Who made this happen?
– Why didn’t somebody else ensure that this could not happen?
– Who is going to fix this?
– Who is going to make sure ot does not happen again?
When we get into this mindset, we become powerless. We are now at the mercy of the rest of the world and we have given away any right to correct the situation.
We effectively become a victim and we wait for a hero to come and save us from our plight. The only issue with this is that everyone else has their own issues to face and to fix. We are not the priority in others people’s lives and nor should we be.
There are plenty of people who can and will support and help us but it is not their responsibility to make sure our lives and exactly what we want them to be. That is our own responsibility.
Locus of Control:
The term used for this in Psychology, is called Locus of Control.
The concept of ‘Locus of control’ is a simple one, where do we believe our ability to control is, is it inside or outside of us? Do we believe that we are in control of our behaviours, actions and results or does somebody or something else control it? Are we independent and accountable for ourselves or do we hand that responsibility over to other people in our lives, such as: our parents, our boss, our spouse, our children, our friends, or even worse random events or luck?
Our Locus of Control is a function of our thinking; it is the quality of the truth inside us that makes us independent or dependant. We either have and Internal or an External locus of Control the difference is:
- Internal Locus of Control: We believe that we are in control of our thoughts, actions, behaviours and results, we look inside ourselves to find the answers and to look for lessons learned. We look not for blame but to find answers.
- External Locus of Control: We believe that our results are due to the actions of others or by events controlled by others. We look for blame and play the “victim”.
In reality we need to be personally accountable for our thoughts and to realise that our thoughts create who we are and what we do. It means that we need to keep them completely under our control. Although some of us opt out of this responsibility, it is important to understand that having an internal Locus of Control allows us to accept personal accountability and take responsibility for our own lives.
An outstanding example of this was Sylvestor Stalone who although being born with a facial paralysis had a dream from childhood to become a leading actor in Hollywood. After many knockbacks and only securing minor roles he decided that rather than act like a victim and ask why did this happen to me, he decided to write a screen play with himself as the lead actor.
He spoke to many producers who likes his screenplay but wanted to cast existing stars in the lead role. They offered him great money for his script but even though he was a struggling actor who needed the money he refused to sell the script unless he played the lead role.
Eventually somebody agreed and the rest is history, the legend of Rocky Balboa was born.
This is a clear case of an internal locus of control and accepting accountability for who you are and what you want to achieve.