The other day my girlfriend came home from work quite sad. She wanted to quit her job, go back home to her parents, because life was quite unfair.
She had been working a lot. By a lot, I mean twelve hours every single day, and the pay she received wasn’t what she was expecting.
And I asked her, “Compared to what?”
I remember a time when I, too, felt that life was quite unfair to me. I was working fourteen hours a day to be able to earn enough to make ends meet. I thought the world was stupid, and that no one could see what I was doing, and that they didn’t want to appreciate my work.
The truth is much simpler than that.
The truth is, we don’t get paid for how much we work. We don’t build a successful business by working as much as possible. We don’t even build an audience on a social media platform that way.
We get paid for our contribution, for how much value we add to others, for our willingness to assume responsibility, not just when we should assume it, but also when it’s not our fault.
Those who are extremely successful in life tend to create something that people either want or need, and they usually fix a lot of problems, especially for other people.
“The buck stops here.”
Harry S. Truman kept this sentence as a sign on his desk during his time in the Oval Office.
We often go through life blaming everyone and everything around us: our friends, our family, our neighbors, the economy, the politics…
The truth is that the more we assume responsibility, even when it’s not our fault, the easier life tends to get for us.
Yes, maybe it’s not your fault that someone left you when you most needed them, but it’s your responsibility to heal your heart.
Maybe it’s not your fault that someone does not appreciate the work you do, but it’s your responsibility to either make them appreciate it, or to find someone who does.
Fear and loathing in the real world.
When we’re young, if we are fortunate, our parents take care of most of our needs. Not only that, but we are often encouraged to do our best, even though our best sucks.
We are rewarded for the simple act of trying.
In the real world, when you become what they call an adult, that’s no longer an option. You are rewarded for your results, not for trying.
Look, growing up is kind of easy. High school is easy. College is easy. Real life begins when you find out, like my girlfriend did, that five years of university brings you nothing more than enough to get by, that no one likes a crybaby, that you get paid for your contribution and not your time, and that there’s just no elevator to success, but there’s one that is going to take you to failure pretty fast.
When we are kids, we cry for our parents to fix our problems. As adults, we no longer have that option, but yet many of still do it.
We fail because we expect things to be easy, but we also fail because we put the blame on someone else.
There’s no elevator to success.
Odds are, if you’re struggling in any area of your life, whether it’s work, business, love, your blog, or whatever, if you were to quit or leave this moment, it would probably take less than a week for things to be as if you were never there at all.
Because you haven’t added massive value yet.
Remember a time when you were happy and fulfilled, whether it was your relationship or your job… odds are that you were more than willing to do more.
That’s what the world demands of us on a daily basis.
That we do more, become more, contribute more, love more, become more patient, more grateful, more mindful.
We must assume more and more responsibilities.
If we do not do more, then we are stuck with not enough. It’s as simple as that.
Failure is the default in life, and our unwillingness to assume responsibility means that we never develop the inner fortitude to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Yet, we often try to find the shortcut that will enable us to do less and get more. It’s the type of mindset that often develops during our younger years, when parents and teachers were more than willing to accept us cheating or lying, and even pretending they didn’t know about it.
But in the world of adults that is no longer an option. The game is much more sophisticated, and it’s often this that makes people unhappy.
How much more can you give?
Alexander the Great famously gifted away most of his possessions in Macedonia to his men before embarking on his perilous journey towards becoming one of the greatest conquers in history.
How much more can you give?
And then you might even come up with a few ingenious ways to give a bit more than that.
That’s why things are… difficult. That’s why we get paid as little as possible by employers who are certain we are doing our best to work as little as possible.
That’s why we have troubles building lasting relationships, get people to trust our vision, or even struggle to summon up the motivation we need to get stuff done.
Life’s hard because you expect it to be easy.
It sounds like a silly statement, but if you think about it… it’s our desire for comfort, for instant gratification, for our ten-minute ab routine, all of these negative mindsets are making it almost impossible to assume responsibility.
All unhappy people are immature because they aren’t willing to assume responsibility for their lives.
Yes, it sometimes feel like we’re holding the entire world on our shoulders, but the more we do it, the more we realize that there is a reward for what seems to be such a graceless task: always doing more for others, even for those who do nothing for us at all.
We no longer have to struggle. We no longer fear the storms of life, but we welcome them. We are capable of being brave enough to overcome obstacles because we are aware of the fact that it is our responsibility to do so.
When we decide to do more, our lives start to change. Our standards change, because we hold ourselves accountable. We no longer take rejection personally, because we now know it’s only a matter of time before we become so good they can’t ignore us.
Over time, we reap the benefits of doing the hard things first, no questions asked, no whining, no crying. We do what must be done, because it has to be done, and if that’s the nature of this universe, we might as well give our best shot.
For more insights on assuming responsibility for your life as a mindset shift towards greater success and happiness, listen to today’s podcast episode by clicking this link here.