During my morning journaling practice, I came across a powerful quote that reminded me of an important success-principle that, unfortunately, only a few people follow. The quote was by motivational speaker Les Brown, and he said:
‘Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.’
It immediately reminded me of the ‘extreme ownership’ mindset which Jacko Willink and Leif Babin talk about in their book Extreme Ownership.
By adopting an ‘extreme ownership’ mindset, you continuously look in the mirror and ask yourself what YOU can do better in order to get the results that you (or your team) desire to achieve — instead of blaming other people, events or your circumstances for not getting them.
When you’ve adopted an extreme ownership mindset, you look at yourself first, even in situations where others mess up. Blaming is easy, anyone can do that.
But when we blame, we rob ourselves of empowerment. We give ourselves an excuse not to act, not to improve — and therefore we will eventually fall short in the pursuit of our goals.
Are You A Victim Or Are You Empowered?
Adopting the mindset where you are responsible — response-able — is empowering, while a victim and blaming mindset is disempowering. When you blame other people or events for your misfortune, you give away control and you distance yourself from any possible self-improvement.
Most people hide behind the shield of victimhood because it frees them of responsibility. They blame the economy, the president, their colleagues, their DNA, their parents, their friends or their boss for their current situation.
They look for everything and everyone external to blame so that they won’t have to take responsibility for their own life. This is easy, everyone can do it. But it also keeps you stuck.
It takes courage to take responsibility and to say ‘no more’. It takes courage to proactively take life in your own hands, but it is highly important that you do so if you want to achieve better results and get un-stuck.
Always ask yourself, ‘What can I do in order to make sure this doesn’t happen again?’ or ‘What can I do to make sure I/we get the results I/we desire?’ These type of questions force you to look for solutions, (self)improvement and growth.
Obviously, this makes you much more likely to achieve better results and become a better-equipped, more capable person compared to blaming others.
When you see yourself as a victim and blame other events or other people, you rob yourself of this opportunity. You adopt the limiting belief systems that you are not fully responsible for your life and that others dictate your destiny.
By pointing fingers to someone or something else, you take the easy way out — which ensures you get the exact same results as always and stay stuck in the same place forever.
Adopting The ‘Extreme Ownership’ Mindset
Instead, if you want to live a life of fulfilment, high productivity and above average achievements, you need to adopt an ‘extreme ownership’ mindset. From this mindset, you accept responsibility for everything that you currently have in your life.
Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you have made. If you want a different result, make a different choice.
That means that you acknowledge that your financial situation, your happiness, the health and fitness of your body, the quality of your relationships and the profitability of your business is your responsibility — and no one else.
This is not easy, but it empowers you — and it will transform your life.
By adopting this mindset, you feel you are in control over your life (at least to a very large degree). You empower yourself to actually do something about your situation instead of staying a victim of your circumstances.
When you stay a victim, you won’t go anywhere and you won’t be able to achieve your best life possible. When you let other people or events dictate your life, you take the passenger-seat approach to life, passively letting others decide for you.
Instead, realize that you are the main player of the game who influences and impacts the areas of your life the most — not other people.
How Victimhood Almost Destroyed My Dream
For example, I started my entrepreneurial journey by creating courses on Udemy. I was earning about $1000 / month, which, at the time, was absolutely amazing considering the fact that it was passive income, I was able to earn money wherever I was and I was still a university student.
However, over time, my income on the platform started to stagnate. Despite creating a few new courses, I didn’t earn more money. In fact, I started to earn slightly less each month.
For months, I blamed Udemy. I blamed the oversaturation of the platform, the low prices for which they offered courses and the fact that they provided me with less and less traffic. I pointed my figure at something external, instead of at myself.
Then, one day, I realized how crazy it was that I was letting others dictate my financial situation and that I am the one who’s 100% responsible for my income, not Udemy.
I looked in the mirror and asked myself what I could (and should) do in order to improve my financial situation. Thus, I decided to remove most of my courses from Udemy and start Personal Growth Lab.
Because of this decision, I nowadays literally earn 5–7x as much as I ever did with Udemy, all because I took extreme ownership of my financial situation.
I’m not saying this to stroke my own ego, but to show you how important it is to take extreme ownership and how dangerous the blaming/victim-mode can be.
I literally spend 6–12 months blaming Udemy, while I could’ve used that time to be more productive and earn more money if I adopted the extreme ownership mindset sooner.
In fact, to this day I see hundreds of Udemy instructors blaming the platform instead of proactively taking actions themselves to earn more money with their courses.
Again, blaming is easy, while taking ownership is hard. But blaming won’t take you anywhere, in contrary to taking extreme ownership.
It’s Your Response-Ability
Of course, you can’t control everything all the time. Other people and unforeseen events will mess things up for you. But even then it’s your responsibility (again, response-ability) to take the appropriate actions to improve your situation, as no one else will do it for you.
Instead of being a victim of your circumstances, you should proactively grab your situation by the throat and take the appropriate actions to improve your situation — no matter whose fault it is.
Don’t like your job? Look for a different job or start your own business instead of blaming your boss or co-workers 24/7.
Don’t like your body? Throw away unhealthy food, buy healthy food and go for a run instead of blaming your genetics, your upbringing or your spouse who doesn’t support your healthy lifestyle.
Don’t like your financial situation? Learn about personal finance, investing, sales, marketing or salary negotiation instead of blaming the economy, your (lack of) education or your boss.
You get the point by now. If you want better results in life and get yourself un-stuck from your current situation, you need to adopt an ‘extreme ownership’ mindset.
Always look in the mirror and ask yourself what YOU can do to get better results and make sure certain mistakes won’t happen again — no matter whose fault it is or what life is throwing at you. Your life is 100% your responsibility.
Now Do It
You need to start grabbing life by the throat and proactively focus on taking high-quality actions yourself so that you can move up in life. Remember, no one owes you anything and no one is going to hand you anything. You have to do it yourself.
No matter whose fault it is, what life throws at you, what happens to the economy or which politicians mess up. You are responsible. You are response-able.
To Your Personal Growth,
Founder Personal Growth Lab
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