I get it, adulting sucks. I wouldn’t do it either if I had a choice.
Unfortunately, once we reach our teenage years and then grow beyond them, we no longer have any choice in the matter. Our parents are no longer responsible for us, and instead we’re held responsible for our own actions.
Scary, I know.
The only problem is that not everyone accepts responsibility when they should do, and there are a ton of things in life that people avoid taking responsibility for when they really should. You can probably tell where this is going,
Let’s take a look at 12 of the things in life that people avoid taking responsibility for but really should do.
1) Their mistakes
This is the big one, and you’d be surprised (or maybe not) by how many people refuse to take responsibility for their mistakes.
If you don’t believe me, all you need to do is to look at a YouTuber’s apology video. Nine times out of ten, they don’t actually apologize and instead focus on telling you why it wasn’t their fault. This is a huge pet peeve of mine because a lot of kids look at YouTubers as their role models.
I’ve shared this before but I’ll share it again. John Lennon has a great quote where he said, “A mistake is only an error. It becomes a mistake when you fail to correct it.”
Ultimately, mistakes provide us with an opportunity to learn, but we have to take responsibility for those mistakes to do so.
2) Their behavior
Let’s be honest – when people make mistakes, they usually do so through their actions and behavior.
We’re taught to take responsibility for our behavior when we’re children, and yet it seems that adults often struggle to do the same thing. Perhaps we should pay more attention to our children and try to follow in their footsteps, especially when it comes to owning up to bad behavior.
Let’s face it, most of us know when we’re misbehaving. Even hardened criminals have a sense of right and wrong, they just override it. We’re all more than capable of holding ourselves accountable for our actions, it’s just that we don’t necessarily do so.
But we should, especially if we care about what other people think of us.
3) Their finances
Managing our finances isn’t always easy, and it’s often a major cause of stress in families.
The problem here is that if we don’t take responsibility for our own finances, nobody else will, either. That will leave us struggling to pay our bills and could even result in more serious consequences, like bailiff visits, bankruptcy and court summons.
Another of the challenges with managing our finances is that if we avoid taking responsibility for long enough, we reach a point at which it’s too late for us to bring things under control. That’s why you shouldn’t avoid taking responsibility for them.
In fact, the longer you leave it, the worse it gets, so the earlier you start to take responsibility for your finances, the better.
4) Their personal growth
When we talk about personal growth, we’re talking about the growth you undergo in your personal life, as opposed to the growth you experience in your professional life. We’ll talk about that next.
The thing about personal growth is that it won’t happen unless you go out and make it happen. You need to commit to chasing that growth and finding new ways to grow, which often involves trying new things and taking yourself outside your comfort zone.
Growing as a person brings all sorts of benefits along with it, but it’s impossible to do it unless you go out of your way to do so. The good news is that unlike your finances, it’s never too late, although the earlier you do so, the better the results will be.
5) Their professional growth
Now that we’ve looked at personal growth, let’s take a look at professional growth.
Professional growth is a little different in that the earlier you make the commitment to grow professionally, the better the results will be. Ideally, you’ll commit to professional growth right at the start of your career so that you can work your way up the ranks to a position in senior management.
And in contrast to personal growth, you’ll find that professional growth can happen whether you take responsibility for it or not. Managers might force you to take new training, and there’s a lot to be said for what you learn on the job.
Still, it should go without saying that if you want to grow as much as possible, you’ll want to take responsibility for that growth.
6) Their relationships
If you don’t take responsibility for your relationships, you won’t have any relationships.
That’s because relationships take work, and if you’re not committed to putting that work in, there’s no guarantee that the other people involved will do it. This is how old friendships drift apart, because they reach a point at which both people have moved on and neither is willing to take responsibility for continuing the friendship.
One thing to remember is that when we talk about relationships, we also need to consider our professional relationships. Often, we need to build relationships with people that we might never have talked to if it wasn’t for our job. Part of being a professional is being able to do so.
The good news is that if you take responsibility for your relationships, you’re automatically taking responsibility for your personal and professional growth, too.
7) Their impact on the environment
We’re all aware that we ought to be taking better care of the environment, both for the sake of ourselves and for the people who come after us.
The problem is that while most of us know we should take responsibility for our environmental impact, it can be confusing to wrap our heads around what needs doing. It’s also generally more expensive to purchase products that offset their carbon footprint and/or are made using environmentally-friendly materials.
The problem is that a lot of people take the attitude that if they can’t do everything, there’s no point doing anything. This is a poor argument, though, and just an excuse that people use to make themselves feel better about not taking responsibility for their environmental impact.
The bottom line is that you need to take responsibility for your impact on the environment and to do what you can. That’s all people (and society) can ask of you.
8) Their prejudices
We all have prejudices. The term itself just means to pre-judge, and we naturally pre-judge situations based on our prior experience.
For example, if you see a fire and you think “I’d better not touch that”, that’s your prejudices kicking in. You’re pre-judging that the fire is likely to be hot based upon your prior experiences.
But when we talk about prejudices, we’re normally talking about the negative prejudices that people have about other people. In other words, it’s the pre-judgements we make that lead to racist, misogynistic or otherwise offensive stereotyping and behavior.
Do everyone a favor: take responsibility for retaining the prejudices that stop you from burning yourself and letting go of those that lead to bigotry.
9) Their negative habits
Like prejudices, we all have our negative habits. The real question is whether we’re trying to overcome them.
For example, I used to drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes, and I also ate junk and didn’t do much exercise. I was almost proud of my bad habits because it seemed like everyone else around me was doing the same.
Then I realized that other people’s habits and actions shouldn’t affect mine, and so I took responsibility for overcoming those negative habits. I stopped drinking and switched to vaping before quitting completely, and I eat a lot healthier and do more exercise.
This is one of those where taking responsibility for your negative habits won’t really benefit those around you – it will just improve your own life. So why wait?
10) Their impact on the local community
Let’s change focus from something that mostly impacts yourself to something that impacts those around you.
We all need to take responsibility for our local community because it’s something that affects us all. It’s one of those things where if everyone does their part, everyone can benefit – but that requires us all to take some responsibility.
Now, I’m not saying that you need to volunteer at local charities or spend all of your time preparing for bake sales, but you do need to be aware of the way that your actions have an impact. A good place to start is by shopping from local companies and supporting local businesses.
Remember, this is all about taking responsibility. Doing so is more important than the specific actions you take.
11) Their impact on other people
Pretty much all of the points that we’ve covered so far can be summarized by this one.
Taking responsibility for the impact you have on other people is a basic requirement for being a good person. We affect the people and the world around us with everything we do and every decision we make, which is why it’s so important to be more responsible when it comes to the choices we make.
In fact, there’s an argument to be made that we should base all of our decisions on their impact on other people. That may be overkill, but we should certainly at least factor them in. Taking responsibility, then, is all about understanding the impact of our decisions on other people, whether it pushes us to change those decisions or not.
12) Their own happiness
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we should all be taking responsibility for our own happiness. The reasoning here is pretty obvious – if we don’t take responsibility for our happiness, who will?
A lot of people look to external sources for their happiness. For example, they tell themselves that they can’t be happy unless they have a partner. I know some people who think they can only be happy if their football team is doing well.
Instead of looking to these external sources, we need to look inwards and take responsibility for our own happiness. This means understanding what we need to be happy and then making sure that we have it.
It’s not always easy, but then nothing worth doing ever is.