Why Taking Responsibility for Your Actions Is Essential for Growth

Most people develop a childhood habit of dodging punishment for mistakes, but it's a habit that must be broken.

To thrive as an adult you need to take responsibility for your actions. You need to externally own the consequences for the things you do and don’t do. You need to internally take ownership of your circumstances in life.

There is a logic to the desire to avoid punishment, but as you make the transition from childhood to adulthood, it is a habit you have to learn to leave behind.

Taking responsibility when things go wrong is crucially important to building trust with others and learning from your mistakes. It is one of the most important parts of creating a satisfying life, but a lot of people learn the opposite growing up.

In many homes, parents act like tyrants, are quick to punish children when they are upset. They enforce rules arbitrarily and consequences for mistakes are inconsistent and unpredictable. In the face of irrational punishment and anger that they can’t reason with, they learn that the only solution is to evade reality. They can’t argue that a rule doesn’t make sense, so they argue “it wasn’t me.” They learn to avoid responsibility and avoid punishment.

There is a logic to the desire to avoid punishment, and since so many people grow up in similar circumstances, the habit runs deep. But as you make the transition from childhood to adulthood, it is a habit you have to learn to leave behind. If you don’t, you will continually lose trust with employers and friends, and even more importantly, you will never learn from your mistakes.

Reprinted from the author's blog.

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