Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Okay, I'm responsible for this mess. Now what?

I said in an earlier post that the accepting both responsibility and accountability for my choices is the path to freedom in this life. Some people have questioned that statement, so let me explain.  Once I accept that what I believe, think, feel and do are all choices I get to make, then changing my life becomes a matter of changing my choices.  That's a pretty good definition of freedom!  I could have chosen differently and I still can.  All I have to do to change things is change my choices. Perhaps I made bad ones in the past (David Byrd calls them "ineffective choices" which is a pretty good term) and they led me to where I am.  It follows that if I make good ones, consistently, from this point on, they'll most likely lead me someplace different...and better. Thus, freedom comes from embracing responsibility and accountability.  Now, some people want to embrace the idea of  responsibility and accountability but not the reality.  That won't work.  If you do that you're just another person walking around parroting what sounds good until you encounter what you think is the next "cool idea" at which time you'll change and start parroting that one.  No, you have to actually, in a very real and practical way accept that you are where you are because of you and your choices.  You are responsible for your mess, just like I'm responsible for mine.

So, what comes next?  I have to learn to make better choices.  If we use Byrd's term, what makes a choice an "effective" one?  What's the difference between effective and ineffective choices?  Those are good questions, aren't they?  After all, if I know that my choices so far have taken me somewhere I don't want to be, it would be good to know what made them ineffective so I can avoid similar choices in the future.  How do I avoid ineffective choices in favor of effective ones?

Good or effective choices are those that tend to move me in the direction of my goals (you have your goals written down and look at them daily, right?).  Ineffective choices are those that either don't move me in that direction or that move me away from my goals.  So, I look at my goals and compare them to the choices I make every day.  If they don't move me toward my goals, they are not effective choices and I need to make other choices instead.  Now, because none of us are one dimensional we have to make choices about different areas of our lives, so we need goals for those areas to provide clarity about the kinds of choices we need to make.

That's it.  That's what we do once we accept responsibility and accountability for our lives and the choices that got us there.  Now, there's a lot more to say about how to make more effective choices, but that's for later.

Change your mind...change your life.

Stay tuned...

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