It’s only natural to put your life, your career, and the well-being of your family first. But do you think your job is done when you get what you want, or do you feel any obligation to others? For example, do you have a responsibility to lift others up, share your good fortune, or leave a better world for the next generation? Face the facts…that’s your responsibility too.
Imagine the world we would have if everyone focused on their own needs, thinking, “As long as I benefit, who cares what happens to others,” or “It doesn’t matter what happens in the future as long as I get what I want today.”
Some folks are so busy stuffing their face that they don’t see their neighbor starving.
Recognize Your Role
You are responsible for you. But that’s not where your responsibility ends.
Let’s face it. We live in an interconnected world, but we frequently make decisions that solely benefit ourselves. The problem with that line of reasoning is that unless you live on a deserted island, other people’s wellbeing has a direct impact on you.
When one part of your body is hurt, you hurt all over.
It’s critical to consider how your actions affect others. That doesn’t require you to relinquish something or forgo your independence, but it’s important to consider yourself part of a vast web of humanity.
One day you will measure success not by what you’ve accumulated,
but by what you’ve given back.
Here are 20 common ways people regularly shirk their responsibility:
Own your life. Asking for help is fine but be careful it doesn’t become an addiction.
Set high standards. Virtue isn’t demanding more of others; it’s expecting more of yourself.
Invest in your future. Don’t forgo your long-term dreams to satisfy your short-term desires.
Run toward problems. Address problems head-on rather than kicking the can down the road.
Teach someone the ropes. Show people how to do something rather than doing it for them.
Nurture future leaders. As you climb your ladder of success, reach down and pull others along with you.
Discipline your children. Let’s face it. Having kids is not the same as being a parent. Raise your children to have strong moral principles and to be productive members of society.
Pass on your values. Behind all good kids are parents or caregivers who understand the importance of raising them that way.
Raise your kids to be independent. Give your children wings. As Jean Wade Rindlaub, the advertising executive, said, “Two of the greatest gifts we can give our children are roots and wings.” Roots to know that they’re always welcome home and wings to set them free.
Be compassionate. Help people get back on their feet. But don’t make them dependent on your good graces.
Stand up for what’s right. There’s a huge difference between right and wrong. And it’s the job of decent, law-abiding citizens to point out that reality to those who have forgotten.
Be civil on social media. Some people hit with fists, others with words.
Earn your rewards. Carry your weight rather than expecting others to bear the burden.
Hold people accountable. If you don’t address poor behavior, you’re encouraging it through inaction.
Think for yourself. The right answer isn’t always determined by the number of people who say or believe something, but rather by the one who has the courage and conviction to question conventional wisdom.
Train your replacement. As soon as you assume a new role at work, it’s your responsibility to identify and train your replacement.
Manage for the long-term. Even though you may be compensated based on short-term performance, you have a responsibility to invest for the future. As Robert Louis Stevenson, the novelist, said, “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
Listen to your conscience. Do what’s right, not what’s easy.
Lead by example. Words express what’s on your mind, but your actions say what’s in your heart.
Create a legacy. Make every effort to leave a better world for the next generation.
Be a Force for Good
Even though the world is large, one person can still make a difference, and that person is you. Be a force for good, focus on the needs of others, and stand up for what’s right — even if you’re the lone voice. Let’s face it: Accepting responsibility is the first step toward positive change. As President Abraham Lincoln said, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
Do You Face Up to Your Responsibility?
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