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The Whole Human

Responsibility: Not apologizing when you succeed or complaining when you fail

“The greatest form of maturity is at harvest time. This is when we must learn how to reap without complaint if the amounts are small and how to reap without apology if the amounts are big.” — Jim Rohn

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Don’t apologize when you succeed.

Don’t complain or blame when you fail.

Completely own and take responsibility for what you’ve attracted into your life. Said Dr. Stephen R. Covey, “We control our actions, but the consequences that flow from those actions are controlled by principles.”

You cannot change your situation until you own that you’ve contributed to your situation.

When you take responsibility for what is happening in your life, you’re no longer the victim of circumstances. You no longer have to be a reactive object being acted upon by your environment. Instead, you can proactively act as an agent who impacts and changes your circumstances.

Don’t apologize for success

You should only apologize if you’ve done something wrong. Apologies only make sense if you plan to never do something again.

When you’ve succeeded, you have no reason to apologize. Of course, you don’t need to flaunt your rewards or “harvest.”

But you absolutely can and should own how you’ve been living and own what you’re learning.

All the while, remain humble to the fact that “self-made” is an illusion. You have taken responsibility, and you will continue to take 100% responsibility. Yet, at the same time, you know you are nothing without the help and grace of others. Therefore, you remain deeply grateful and humble.

This humility and gratitude is your strength. But it certainly doesn’t cause you to act smaller than you really are. That is a strange form of hypocrisy that is just as bad as pretending to be better than you really are.

Don’t lower yourself, your standards, or your results to make other people feel comfortable for their lack of progress. Instead, have candid conversations where all can learn from each other. Dan Sullivan, the founder of Strategic Coach, has said, “It’s better to be an example of someone living a powerful life than to live small in order to make other people feel comfortable around you.”

Don’t attach your identity to outcomes. Instead, attach your identity to your WHY, and to your behaviors — those things you can control. Principles govern outcomes. You govern your behaviors and you define your WHY.

Said Jim Rohn, “When you know what you want, and want it bad enough, you will find a way to get it.”

You start with Reasons, and from those Reasons you select specific Results you seek to achieve. From those results you develop Processes or Methods.

The Methods are the means to the end and should never become the end in themselves. That’s the problem with modern psychology — the emphasis has shifted from people to process.

Process matters, but only in the context of specific results you seek to achieve.

You absolutely should seek outcomes. The more specific the outcomes you seek, the more clear will be your goals. Having clear and timely goals is essential to success. If someone tells you not to seek or focus on outcomes, they are lying to you. Said performance coach, Tim Grover, “When you crave the end result, the hard work becomes irrelevant.” The more clear and compelling the desired outcome, the more inspired, relevant, and bold must become your process.

Seeking outcomes is not the problem. Attaching your identity to outcomes is the problem. Because no matter how good or bad your outcomes have been in the past, you can’t stay there. Getting stuck in the past is how you throw away your future. Hence, Dan Sullivan has said, “Always make your future bigger than your past.”

Don’t complain for failure

Lessons are repeated until they are learned.

When you fail, don’t complain. There’s nothing good that will come out of it. When you complain or blame, you immediately shut yourself off to learning. You halt your own progress and will inevitably repeat the same blunder in the future.

Failure is feedback. Failure is what neuroscientists call “prediction error,” which is essential to learning.

You made a mistake. So learn from it. Be happy about it. You just stepped outside your small realm of understanding and now you have the opportunity to expand your worldview.

If you allow this learning to sink-in, you’ll be empowered to create better outcomes in the future.

In the book, The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge said:

“It is tempting to think that just because one understands certain principles one has “learned” about the discipline. This is the familiar trap of confusing intellectual understanding with learning. Learning always involves new understandings and new behaviors, ‘thinking’ and ‘doing.’”
If your behavior isn’t changing, then you’re not learning. True learning means you can produce a desired outcome. If you can’t consistently produce the outcome you want, then you haven’t learned.

According to Brain-scan studies, if you do not address a problem in 0.25 seconds after a mistake is made, you probably won’t do anything about it. You’ll brush-off the mistake and continue forward in the same manner you’ve been going. You won’t be learning from your experience, and thus you’ll continue moving into your future by recreating your past.

If instead, you would simply stop, address what just happened, and continue forward from a higher plane, you could then produce better outcomes in the future. You don’t have to live in your past.

This can only happen when you truly own when you’ve made a mistake. Rather than complaining for failures — or blaming the bad weather or something else — you learn from what is happening and adapt.

Charles Darwin has said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” To adapt is to learn. The quicker you adapt, the better you’ll live. It doesn’t matter what happens to you, it matters how you respond.

Without question, environment influence matters. But what matters more is what you do about it. You can either continue living reactively as an object, or you can adapt as an agent in new and better ways to change your environment.

Conclusion

You can learn your lessons.

Success is yours for the taking.

You can success bigger than you can presently imagine. Success begets success. When you begin making huge leaps — you open yourself to different worlds of possibility. When you have momentum, confidence, and inspiration, you begin taking on bigger and more powerful goals.

Don’ t apologize when you succeed.

Don’t complain when you fail.

Don’t attach your identity to outcomes. But without question, seek very specific outcomes. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals. Then get increasingly better at applying principles and honing your process so that you can consistently yield desired outcomes.

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This article first appeared on Medium.

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