You cannot control your circumstances or what happens to you, but you can change yourself and how you react to those circumstances. We often believe that someone is responsible for giving us a great life and giving us opportunities because we exist. The truth is that all of this depends on one person, and that person is yourself. You are responsible for your success, income, relationships, and everything else that happens to you.
People prefer to blame their parents, friends, teachers, the economy, the weather, and anything else we can find to blame. The one person we normally don’t blame is ourselves. This has been going on since the fall in the Garden of Eden. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the the serpent. Since then people want to blame everyone else for their problems and lack of success instead of themselves.
I used to blame other circumstances and people for whatever happened to me. If I did not get a good grade, it was the teacher’s fault. If I was not making more money, it was the fault of the company, my boss or my boss’s boss.
Later on, I learned something. In some of my annual job reviews, they would tell my boss that I worked hard and did whatever assignments they asked me to do and would get it to them promptly. They also mentioned that they would also like me to give them extra information when I performed assignments.
One area for improvement that they said was while it was nice I always did everything I was asked to do and did it promptly, they would also appreciate it if I wrote some commentary on the reports I ran for them to give my opinions on them. I realized that I needed to give more value to the people I was working with. While I worked hard, I was not giving them extra value, and that affected me at year-end. That was no one’s fault but my own. I was giving only what was asked of me. Not providing extra value and only providing what I was asked for cost me promotions and raises over the years. Now, I always go above and beyond to provide people with extra value.
I later also learned that lesson when I went to work as an entrepreneur. When you’re dealing with prospects, you need to give as much value as possible, and overdeliver on it. It will make you more successful and make you more money.
I thought that I would do the extra work after they paid me more for it. What I did not realize was that I would have to do the extra work in order to get the extra raises, bonuses, and promotions.
The difference between the extraordinary and the ordinary is that little extra you give. It makes all the difference in the world.
Successful people always try to provide ‘way more’ than the value expected of them. You need to overwhelm people with value and make them feel that they got ‘way more’ than what they asked for and what they paid you for. If they feel you did not give them enough value, they will feel cheated, won’t work with you again, and won’t recommend any of their friends to you.
When I started taking responsibility for my life, everything changed. I felt more powerful and in control. When I blamed my problems on other people or circumstances, I felt weaker and incapable of changing my situation. I felt I had no control over my life, and that external events and people would be responsible for what happened to me, and that I had little control over whatever did happen to me.
Realize that if you arrive late for work, it’s not the traffic or the trains that made you late. You were late because you did not give yourself an extra 20 or 30 minutes for your commute to work. If you leave early enough, you will get there on time.
I live in New York City, which is a commuter city. People take the subways most of the time. I have learned that in dealing with the subway system, all kinds of things can go wrong. There can be train delays, a passenger can get sick on the train which will force the train to stop, etc. On the weekends the trains also don’t run as frequently in New York City. I often deal with people who estimate on web sites like Hop Stop, how long it will take to meet up with me, and they wind up being late, and they blame the subways. I tell them that the subways are not at fault, and that they should have given themselves extra time to get there. If you miss a train just as it is leaving, the next one may not come for 10 or 15 minutes. Then you may need to switch trains, which may mean more waiting. If you leave a little earlier, you can avoid those problems.
I am always on time for my appointments. One reason is that I always budget enough time to get to them. If you are late for a job interview, it is your fault that you are late. If the company deducts points for the interview because you were not on time, it is not their fault. You should have allowed more time to get there. The other interviewees got there on time, so there is no reason you could not.
One of my mentors, Jack Canfield, wrote a fantastic book called the Success Principles. It has 67 principles of success. The very first one he discusses is taking 100% responsibility for yourself. Successful people always take 100% responsibility for whatever happens to them.
When I left the corporate world and became an entrepreneur, I struggled in the beginning because I expected my sponsors to do everything for me. Jim Rohn used to say you can’t hire someone to do your pushups for you.
When people did not join me in my online businesses, I often would make an excuse as to why they didn’t join. I would say that they were too cheap, too scared, too lazy, not motivated, not understanding, etc. The problem was that I did not look at the part I played in the exchange. The one common factor in each situation was me. Then it hit me that maybe there was something I needed to change.
Once I realized that I was the main factor in my lack of success, I stopped blaming others and worked on myself. I focused more on how I could serve and help them, and solve their problems and needs. Once I
changed my focus, I started seeing more success.
I looked around myself. There were people who were not as smart as I am, with less experience than I had, who were more successful than I was. It seemed unfair to me, but then I started asking myself, “Why is that?”
One reason I discovered was that successful people took 100% responsibility for their own success. Yes, bad things happen to you. You can control how you respond to them. I often used to wallow in my misery and say, “Woe is me.” That did not help me make more money. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started taking responsibility for my actions and reactions.
I realize that I expected a lot of people to do things for me, such as my mentors and sponsors. I came to the realization that I had to take 100% responsibility and realize I was responsible for my own success.
Realize that you are in control as to how you react to each person and each situation. There are many different people who will react differently to the same event or the same person, so it’s not the person or event that is the cause. It is how you choose to react.
We all have things that happen to us that are not good. We can’t control those things. What we can control is how we react to those events. If there is a traffic jam, some people may get furious, while others are relaxed and enjoy the music in their car. The difference is how they react to the same event. The happier people take control. I have learned to do that. I used to be reactive, but now I am proactive. Bad things can happen, but I still choose how to react to them.
I realize that when I expected other people to take care of things for me, it weakened me. I was dependent on them. It gave me an external locus of control instead of an internal locus of control. I felt everything outside me controlled what happened to me. When I took control over what happened to me, I realized that I had an internal locus of control. I could control my reactions to events, and thus, what happened to me.
When I left the corporate world and became an entrepreneur, I no longer had bosses and companies to blame for not getting promoted. I
found other things to blame instead. I could blame my upline for my not succeeding in my business opportunity, or blame the compensation plan for my not making money.
As an entrepreneur, I started out by relying on the training of companies I belonged to. The problem was sometimes the companies would go under or the government would shut them down. I also fell into the habit of relying on my sponsors too much. What I didn’t realize was that my sponsors could help guide me, but they could not succeed for me. I had to put in the effort myself.
I was in a network marketing company where you could sometimes get spillover from your sponsor’s downline. There were six people in a matrix, and when it got filled, any extra people would get passed down to you or someone else in your sponsor’s downline.
My sponsor deactivated himself and left. But he was still listed as my sponsor, even though he was inactive. I would not get any spillover recruits credited to me. I requested to have my sponsor changed since he was no longer active. The company refused to do so, and I felt it was so unfair. They told me that I had to do the work and build up my downline and not depend on a sponsor.
That made me angry, so I left the company. Of course, I realized later on that I should have focused more on developing myself and building my business with that company. If I had focused on recruiting people instead of hoping for spillover, I would have made more money.
Even though I was upset, they were right. I was not taking 100% responsibility again. I realized that ultimately it was up to me, and not to any sponsor or mentor for me to succeed. I had to do the work, follow the company trainings, and work on my personal development.
Jim Rohn used to say to work harder on yourself than on your job. If you work hard on your job, you can make a living. If you work hard on yourself, you can make a fortune. When you develop yourself, it does not matter if the company or business you are in goes bankrupt or gets shut down. You can take your talents somewhere else and succeed.
Many successful people have become bankrupt and became millionaires
again because of their personal development. If you have a million-dollar mindset, even if you go broke, you’ll eventually get back to a million dollars.
I’ve worked very hard on myself in terms of personal development, and know that I can take my talents anywhere now because I worked hard on myself and can succeed no matter where I go.
I also used to make excuses. Making excuses prevented me from seeing things as they really are, and they prevent you from doing the things you need to do to have a better and more successful life. They say you can create results or excuses. What you choose will determine the kind of life you’ll end up having. Excuses rob you of control.
Excuses allowed me to escape the responsibility of not becoming more successful in life. It was easy to blame another person or outside circumstance and believe that there was nothing I could do about it. I could complain to people and get sympathy from them. But nothing was changing or getting better. When I focused on getting results and taking responsibility, my life got much better. I felt empowered and in control, and wound up becoming more productive and more successful.
You can make an excuse for everything, but you won’t get far in life. Or you can change the way to respond to what happens, and you can change your life. You need to gain control of your thoughts and behaviors. If you don’t like your outcomes, then you need to focus on changing your responses. We make excuses so we don’t look like we failed and messed up.
We are very creative in making excuses why we are not succeeding, but shut off when looking for reasons to succeed.
Since I began taking responsibility for my life, I have become a successful entrepreneur, coach, speaker, and author. I have also hosted two events, and am looking forward to accomplishing many more great things in the future.