Own it

Are we celebrating together accomplishing our three item to-do list we set out for ourselves last week? I did mine. Yea! I hope you accomplished yours. Not only does it move you toward what you set out as important; that feeling of accomplishment is a good one that is worth the effort.

Are you taking 100 percent responsibility for your life? Are you owning it? Are you at this moment thinking “My boss is a dolt and makes me crazy” or “my kid is ruining my day” or “that idiot in traffic cut me off and now I am mad”? Are you blaming others for the kind of day you are having? Your response to the events that happen every day is what is the issue–not the circumstance itself.

This is a hard lesson.

I learned this equation to illustrate what I am addressing here: E+R=O.


To personalize this equation could be:
The events that happen in my life + my responses to those events = the quality of my life.

Let’s go back to the driver on the road who cuts into your space. That’s the event. Now let’s try on a couple of responses. Which one would you prefer?

A. After making the necessary move with your own car that avoids a wreck, you yell at the other driver, maybe make hand gestures, you think “What an idiot! How did they possibly get a drivers license?” Boiling you arrive at your parking lot at work, and walk in with a colleague. Still angry you re-tell the story, getting angrier. You tell it again around the coffee pot. The feeling of anger and frustration colors your entire day, you tell it as often as you can. When you don’t have a new audience to tell, you replay the incidence in your head many times. If you looked back on this day at the end of the day you would say “That stupid driver ruined my day.”

B. After making the necessary move with your own car that avoids a wreck, your anger flashes and you keep your mind on not making any driving mistakes of your own between then and safe arrival at your work parking lot. You spot a colleague there and say “I managed to avoid a wreck this morning and I am so thankful for that. I don’t know what was going on with that driver. I hope it was only momentary inattention and not some dreadful incidence in their own life that caused it.” Then you go on to tell your colleague some good thing about your evening the night before, ask them how they are doing, discuss a solution in a common project, laugh about some silliness at home or work. Go into the office and give your mental energies to the accomplishment of good work for that day. If the morning trouble arises in your mind, you choose to set it aside and choose not to dwell on it nor be bothered by it.

The event is the same in A and in B. It is the response that makes for the different outcome.

We are not Pollyanas being all skippy and happy at every turn. We also don’t have to be ruled by our emotions either. Sure, life is upsetting and often. The question is what kind of life are you making for yourself through those upsetting events? Do you have the resolve to learn to respond and not react? Do you remember the lesson from last week? Success is a learned behavior.

Are you now thinking this isn’t a very encouraging note this morning? It is though. As we go through each day we have the control of how we respond to every event; how we show up in our own lives; how we own our own lives. It isn’t your friend, your spouse, your kid, your boss, your neighbor causing the overall quality of your life. No, it is you. It is a freeing truth once you grasp it.