“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Success comes to those who take responsibility for their actions. How much of your success, do you think is up to you – your choices, your beliefs, your actions, and your behavior versus external factors?

More often we blame the other people in our life like our parents, friends, colleagues, boss, government, society, God and even our heredity for our conditions. It’s so easy for us to let off the hook and blame someone or something else for our failure or negligence. This kind of thinking is not useful and downright dangerous. If we blame our problems and failures –be it big or small, personal or professional on any other person or circumstances beyond our control or just bad luck then we are doomed to fail!

In order to be what we want to be, the most important thing that we must do is to take personal accountability. Personal accountability is accepting that we are fully accountable for our actions and being willing to be answerable to the consequences of our choices, decisions and actions. It’s a belief, mindset and an expression of integrity that we are consistent in our thoughts, words and actions. Some of us might exhibit it more than others but it is something that everyone can get better at as it is a foundation to be successful and prerequisite for a happy and thriving life.

Practicing accountability is a choice; it would be the most powerful choice that we can ever make. Choosing accountability would empower us to overcome obstacles, beat challenges and succeed in everything we do. Never forget that everything is about – Our choice. Sometimes, situations can be overwhelming but getting up after being knocked down is again a Choice that we make.

I would like to mention an event here that I came across in the book “The wisdom of Oz”. In 1989, Adam Walsh, the six-year-old son of John and Reve Walsh, was kidnapped and shortly thereafter found dead. Yet even in the wake of such a brutal act, the couple managed to take accountability for what happened and took action to help others. Since then they worked to create support systems, develop preventative measures and improve legislation for cases of missing children. Here the couple could’ve just grieved the loss of their son and blamed the police and government for not creating a safe environment for citizens from criminals instead they held themselves accountable and worked tirelessly to battle criminal behavior. How we react to events like these are always our choice. We can point fingers, ignore and deny responsibility or we can look at a problem constructively and try to solve it.

As Sanjeev Himachali rightly said: “You are the reason of your own good-luck and bad-luck; success and failure; happiness and pain. Your choices are responsible for your present. Don’t blame someone else for your sufferings or failures.”

Moreover, to be personally accountable for a situation or problem, we have to take ownership over our actions. We should develop the ability to embrace the good, bad and the ugly that results from our actions. Always focus on what we can do and what we can control rather than thinking about the things that we can’t control. Owning our actions includes seeing how we have contributed to the current issue that we want to change. Instead of blaming others and making excuses we have to think of ways to make amends when things go wrong. Nothing great will happen until we do something.

Making mistakes is never fun but don’t think of them as failures, rather think of them as teachable moments that will make us better and more successful in the future. Resist the urge to plant the blame on external factors and instead use what we have learnt from the mistakes to explore new options in the future. After all, Something bad happens; something good results!