Take Full Responsibility

I recently finished reading, "Extreme Ownshership." It was a book written by two Navy SEALs who now help people get their lives and businesses together in the outside world. It is well worth a look if you get the chance.

What I really loved about the book was how empowering it was. At first, it seems ridiculous. Take ownership for everything that happens to me?! What if my significant other just up and died unexpectedly?! How is that my fault?

Yet, eventually you can hear the guys in your head saying, "it’s not your fault, but your reaction right now in front of your kids is your responsibility. Take ownership of that."

Adam Carolla has a version of this. "Act as if everything in your life is your fault, and you’ll go far."

And then there’s my version. I’ve told a number of people, "the real white privilege I experienced was no one gave me the ‘poor baby’ routine, despite some of the awful things I’ve lived through. Everyone acted like the good life was just waiting for me if I got my act together, and they were right."

In my efforts to become a better coach, I have started studying coaches and managers in sports. One thing I always find interesting is that they are always looking ownership mentality in their recruits.

Navy SEALs want to hear you take responsibility. NFL teams will run you into the ground in practice, and if they hear you complain about the regimen or your teammates they’ll pass on you. No signing. All your college years were for nothing. They only pushed you that far to see if you’d own your failure, and you didn’t. Now, you’ve truly failed.

If you think about it, someone who is always blaming others will never learn anything. Which is sad. One of the greatest gifts we have as humans is the ability to adapt and learn. Someone who rejects that is truly denying themselves the full experience of who they are.

If you go through a break up or a divorce the impulse is to blame the other person. But that’s a chickenshit move. We’re all guilty of it, but in almost every relational dissolution both parties are to blame.

We all know that guy who is 38 and never shuts up about his ex who screwed him over. He won’t go up to a woman he likes now, because he’s still worked up about the past. He won’t commit to any relationship which could lead to personal growth and joy, because he’s still mad about what he can no longer change. This is an extreme version of the guy who won’t take ownership.

The worst part about this guy is how weak he is. He’d be empowering himself if he said, "you know what? Maybe she said and did some things that were indecent, but I stopped dating her once I had her. I stopped trying. I didn’t put in the time, and I paid for it. I will learn from this in the future."

When you think of the name Conor McGregor you think, "champion." Yet, the guy has multiple losses to his record. Why do we associate him with the image of a champion?

Because he leaves nothing out there. He never shies from a challenge. And what does he say when he loses?

"I tried something. It didn’t work out. I’ll be back."

It’s the only time he speaks without bravado, and yet that is when he is strongest. He speaks with ownership, and then says he will return.

There is nothing worse on Earth than a situation you cannot change.

Victims cannot change anything. The minute they start taking ownership for their situation, they cease to be a victim.

I love the game of poker more than anyone I know, and yet there was a time I hated poker. I had a ton of success doing my own thing in my early career, but then I had some backers and friends who were pressuring me to play a more traditional style. And it wasn’t working. I felt locked in to the same rejam game everyone else was playing, and it wasn’t reaping dividends.

Then one day I said to myself, "I’m not succeeding in poker because I am not working hard enough. I am not making my own decisions. My friends want what’s best for me, but this is my game, my career. I can’t let them decide everything. This all comes down to me."

It hurt to admit I failed myself, but it was empowering to know I could move on from my mistakes.

I then sought out a friend who was experienced in mathematics and I had him break down what each bet is supposed to do. And that’s when I found out you could raise/fold from shortstacks because everybody was overvaluing 2X raises at the time. And I went on a rampage on the felt.

Never complain, "I always lose the flip." Ask yourself why you need to win a flip in the first place.

Take full responsibility for your actions. Say to yourself, "I did this" after every shortcoming. And move forward.

Good luck to all of you. 

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