Why It’s Always About Individual Responsibility

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If one wants to see a trait that has swept the globe with a ferocity rivaled only by some super virus. Look no further than the headlines of today’s media outlets. The theme: “It’s not my fault.” (Editor’s Note: amen! Just yesterday, there were four – count ’em, four – stories on the front page of the paper about politicians involved in various sex scandals, each of whom had a handy excuse or explanation.)

It would seem that within a generation or less the developed world has moved into further developing the most repugnant of excuses for oneself when caught doing something even a three-year old would find wrong. The blatant, ” It wasn’t my fault.” Or, ” They told me (or didn’t tell me) to do it.” All in a tone and delivery as if it absolves them. This would be laughable if not for the deficiency of character/morals on display so often.

We are once again “shocked” to find a disgraced politician would not only be caught with his pants down but, took the pictures himself to prove it. The only thing more despicable than the actions themselves were the press conferences that followed each incident. The first, where an act of contrition was supposedly being made. The second, when thinking more public photos (only this time with the spouse) would help. As if giving another press conference to say, “Oooopsy!” would somehow defuse the outrage. Both were disgusting in my view.

It seems as if the warning signs we all get in that little inner voice where poor (or lack there of) judgement could be present never enters the mind of the person committing the offense. Don’t be fooled. It does, they just don’t care. (please spare me from sending emails of psycho-babble why they aren’t responsible. I really don’t care.)

Another glaring example of this happened in the same week. We had none other than Geraldo Rivera taking photos of himself half nude proclaiming “70 is the new 50!” then posting it to Twitter® for all to see.

The problem with the photo is this: That towel is just a little too low, or strategically placed to “cover” the alibi of, “It wasn’t intended to be that!” My reaction? Please, spare me.

If you have a wife and children (let alone you’re 70!) you know exactly what you should and should not be doing. Along with exactly how it will be “viewed” by them.

If you can use the excuse, “I didn’t know better!” in this type of situation, then you’re either a fool – or, you knew exactly and didn’t care because you had your excuse planned in advance. I mean really – C’mon!

Then we had the most ludicrous statement I’ve heard in quite some time. An NFL® player threw away $2 MILLION dollars in a contracted salary bonus. The reason? It seems if he had attended some form of early training camp “requested” by the coaches, it would fill his obligation on his end thus requiring the team to fulfill their end. i.e., Pay him $2,000,000.00

(I’m paraphrasing as to what’s been reported across the media landscape) He didn’t go to the “requested” training camp because he argues it was voluntary. Then blamed and fired his agent under the guise of, “He didn’t tell me it could cost me millions!”  Really? I mean…Really?

At what point does one surrender knowing what’s right or what’s wrong – what’s their responsibility to know or not know? Along with looking in the mirror as to look one’s self in the eye to see the naked truth – not to take a naked picture.

Individual responsibility means just that: Individual (as in You) Responsibility (as in You and only You are responsible. Period)

The conjured up excuses where others or circumstances are the reason for these transgressions has now become painful to hear for anyone with a shred of decency or intelligence.

Just as sickening is the undertone I see (or read) from those touting “Who are you/we too judge?” Well maybe they can’t, but I can. Which is exactly my point.

Far too many people both young as well as older are using excuses so convoluted, or bent in more precarious ways they would make a yoga instructor blush.

Posting photos of yourself on the internet (or anywhere for that matter) that would be considered embarrassing then chalking it up to, “Well I was young, or drinking, or ____________ (fill in the blank) are not excuses. You were dumb, foolish, stupid, what ever. What you weren’t was thinking responsibly.

Thinking: You’ve made the big leagues now you’ll pay someone to handle your money/affairs, whatever isn’t smart – it’s stupid.

It’s been proved over, and over, and over again that no one will look after your money/affairs, whatever, like you will. (Just ask or read about Wesley Snipes, Nicholas Cage, and the myriad of others just on the subject of taking tax advise blindly.)

Only you can think for yourself. No one else will or can do it for you as well as you will. Regardless of how much money you have, or how much you’ll pay someone else. It’s your burden to bear.

The quest for fame or notoriety whether it be within ones close-knit circle of friends, or the world at large, has made people rely more on perfecting their “excuse system” rather than focusing on their “individual responsibility system.” It’s easy to think up excuses. It’s easy to lay blame anywhere and everywhere except at ones own feet.

You can rationalize your actions or demonize the assumptions of others as they ponder your transgressions. What you can’t do is take them back. The only way to not be in these situations starts and ends with having the cognitive discipline as to not allow one’s self to be in that situation in the first place.

Again, the issue here is this:
It’s become far too easy to say (or shout) “It wasn’t my fault.” instead of what should have been said in the very beginning to one’s own self:
“I’m not only responsible for me and what I do. It’s my also my responsibility to be in control of me and what I do.”

The only way to move forward or higher in life is to accept every action is your responsibility. Good, bad, or indifferent. More not only need to start acting like it in their own life, they also need to stop accepting the excuses given by others for their tribulations.

If you have a responsibility – so do they. This notion of, “Who are we to judge?” is misplaced far too often and causes undue consternation trying to blur the lines where there is clearly a demarcation for right or wrong.

Individual responsibility means just what it states: You are responsible.
No one should need more clarification to understand this central point of life. Those that say they do are just looking for another loophole or excuse. Nothing more.

© 2013 Mark St.Cyr   www.MarkStCyr.com