Although this article is aimed at men, it most definitely applies to women, as well. However, I’ve found that most women don’t have as much trouble taking responsibility for their actions; while men do just about anything to avoid taking responsibility. The main reason is the male ego.
Men like to think of themselves as strong, smart and better than the rest of the male population. We’re very competitive; whether by nature or social nurture is irrelevant because the fact remains the same.
We like the idea of being the best, and although we very well know that we aren’t the best at anything, we don’t like thinking about our weaknesses. Every time you do something wrong or fail at something, it shows your weaknesses.
The truth is, although we all know we have our weaknesses, we don’t like being reminded of them, and we most definitely don’t want others knowing that we have them.
Yet, the only way to diminish our weaknesses is by accepting them for what they are; ignoring them is the cause of the idiocy epidemic that has been sweeping this planet since the dawn of time. Well, we haven’t been around that long, but you get the picture.
Being a real man requires constant improvement of the self. When I say a real man, I mean a man that does his best to come as close as possible to the concept of a perfect man. Ancient philosophers had an obsession with perfection.
They understood that reaching it is impossible and out of reach for human beings because human beings are inherently flawed creatures. Nevertheless, they believed that working towards this perfection is the only pursuit worth following in life -- and they couldn’t be more right.
If you have one life to live, then why not live it the best way possible, as perfectly as you possibly can? As human beings, the way we are and the way we experience the world, is entirely through physical sensations and mental interpretations of these sensations.
Sharpening the way we feel and the way we perceive through physical and mental training is the only way to maximize the pleasure you get out of life.
I digress. Before you can sharpen anything, you have to accept the fact that you, as a man, are actually in full control of yourself. You have full control of your thoughts and of your actions.
The things you do, the way you think, the way you perceive, and even the way you breathe are all in your control. You may not understand this fact, but more likely is the case that you simply choose to ignore it. Why? It’s easier.
If we fail, we have an excuse: It was out of our control. If we gain 10 pounds, it’s not our fault; we were stressed because of this and that.
If we lose our job, it’s because our boss is a douche and had it out for us. If our girlfriend dumps us, it’s because she’s an idiot.
Sure, we could have not eaten crap for six months straight. We could have come into work on time, done a great job, and convinced our boss that we are an asset to his team.
And yes, we could have put in a whole lot more effort into our relationship – been more thoughtful, more loving, better at listening, less judgmental, less selfish -- but who wants to admit that?
Not us. That would be like saying, “You know what? We really suck. We should really get our sh*t together…” We won’t take responsibility for all these outcomes and for our lives because it’s just easier not to. We're not man enough is all.
It’s really quite amazing when you think about it. We delude ourselves into believing that we are flawless. Of course we know we do have things we could work on, but that’s usually where the thought process ends -- us "knowing" that there is an issue.
We don’t address it; we ignore it. We pretend like it’s not there. All actions have consequences. There isn’t much in life that we can control, but there is one thing: ourselves.
People always talk about freedom, about being free, about doing whatever it is that we want to do. People confuse this sort of freedom with the idea that being free means to act without consequence.
There is no such thing! Being free doesn’t mean just doing things because you can. True freedom is only found through control. The more you control, the more you are capable of doing, and the more likely your actions will lead to the desired result. Getting the desired result is freedom.
It’s not doing things and not having to worry about consequences; it’s being capable of doing the things that you want, capable of living the life you want to live. You will never live out your dreams if you won’t take responsibility for your actions. A man who doesn’t live his dreams is not a man at all.
Top Photo Courtesy: Dangerous Complicity