I just finished reading Josh Kaufman’s The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business and wanted to share some inspiration with you. The quote below is from B.C. Forbes, founder of Forbes magazine. I think it’s a good reminder for all of us:
Your success depends on you.
Your happiness depends on you.
You have to steer your own course.
You have to shape your own fortune.
You have to educate yourself.
You have to do your own thinking.
You have to live with your own conscience.
Your mind is yours and can be used only by you.
You come into this world alone.
You go to the grave alone.
You are alone with your inner thoughts during the journey between.
You make your own decisions.
You must abide by the consequences of your acts…
You alone can regulate your habits and make or unmake your health. You alone can assimilate things mental and things material…
You have to do your own assimilation all through life.
You can be taught by a teacher, but you have to imbibe the knowledge. He cannot transfuse it into your brain.
You alone can control your mind cells and your brain cells.
You may have spread before you the wisdom of the ages, but unless you assimilate it you derive no benefit from it; no one can force it into your cranium.
You alone can move your own legs.
You alone can move your own arms.
You alone can utilize your own hands.
You alone can control your own muscles.
You must stand on your feet, physically and metaphorically.
You must take your own steps.
Your parents cannot enter into your skin, take control of your mental and physical machinery, and make something of you.
You cannot fight your son’s battles; that he must do for himself.
You have to be captain of your own destiny.
You have to see through your own eyes.
You have to use your own ears.
You have to master your own faculties.
You have to solve your own problems.
You have to form your own ideals.
You have to create your own ideas.
You must choose your own speech.
You must govern your own tongue.
Your real life is your thoughts.
Your thoughts are your own making.
Your character is your own handiwork.
You alone can select the materials that go into it.
You alone can reject what is not fit to go into it.
You are the creator of your own personality.
You can be disgraced by no man’s hand but your own.
You can be elevated and sustained by no man but yourself.
You have to write your own record.
You have to build your own monument — or dig your own pit.
Which are you doing?”
I live my life by this philosophy, although I read this particular quote for the first time only a few days ago. The more I read and the more I learn about life, the more this issue of personal accountability comes up.
After a lifetime of feeling like life happened to me, I began to take full responsibility for my circumstances in my late 20s. Of course, I initially emphasized the bad and basically blamed myself all of the time. More recently, I’ve realized that when I’m suffering or in a bad place, that is the punishment. Duh, right? There’s no need to punish myself further because I brought bad things into my life. That’s just asking for more of the same. And so my new mental pattern in adverse circumstances is: It is what it is. This too shall pass. And I’m actively cultivating an attitude of gratitude for the good things that show up, something that I used to just ignore.
What are your thoughts on Mr. Forbes’ quote, or personal accountability in general?