Forget the Bill of Rights. We need this instead.

by Nancy on July 19, 2011

I once heard political comedian Bill Maher quip “We have the Bill of Rights.  What we need is a Bill of Responsibilities.”

I never forgot that statement because many people from a young age want freedom and come to expect certain rights.  But they fail to recognize that the greater our freedom, the greater our responsibility.

Unfortunately this isn’t something we always grow out of.  Many people who would describe themselves as very responsible actually shirk responsibility and look for someone else to blame when things go wrong.

Anytime we are dealing with a situation we’d rather not be, we have some sort of responsibility in the matter.  That is, there are different degrees of responsibility.


CREATE IT – This is where the staunchest of “Law of Attraction” believers live.  They believe that on a vibrational level, we attract everything into our lives – therefore, we intentionally or unintentionally create it.  Car accidents, winning the lottery, getting cancer, good or bad, negative or positive, they contend that our experiences are an exact match to our thoughts and feelings.

I don’t happen to take this extreme view.  I do believe that there are “unforeseen occurrences” that happen in life.  Then it’s up to us how we respond.  This is where most of us go from innocent to guilty…

CONTRIBUTE TO IT – When difficult things happen, our reactions very often make it worse.  Here’s a few examples:

  • You’re given a less than perfect review at work?  Your subsequent negative attitude about it affects your work even more.
  • Economy has slowed down your business a bit?  You prospect and market less assuming there’s no point to it right now while no one is buying anyway.
  • Your partner slips and says something sarcastic?  You immediately up the ante by saying something sarcastic back.

In none of these situations did you necessarily create the initial event.  But in all of them, you did contribute to it by escalating the problem.

This may be the hardest to acknowledge – our part in a situation that is causing us stress.  And sometimes it takes an outside party to point it out to us.

Let me share a personal story with you.  In the first quarter of this year, my business slowed down.  As I heard everyone complaining about the same thing and blaming the economy, it seemed like a good explanation.

Then I had a close friend point out to me that the previous two quarters in my business had been so busy, I hadn’t been doing much networking and maybe that was part of why business had slowed down.  You know what?  He was right.

I started networking more, which led to a few speaking engagements, which led to more leads and ultimately more business.

See how easily we can contribute to an unfavorable situation and not even be aware of it?

The last degree of responsibility is ALLOW IT. Sometimes we did nothing to create a situation, nothing to contribute to it, but by our non-action we condone or allow it.

I’m amazed at the number of times people have complained to me about something troubling in their lives and I’ll say “Well, did you mention it to him/her?”

  • “No way! He/she will bit my head off.”
  • “That won’t change anything.”
  • “I don’t really care that much.”

These are all excuses designed to keep you stuck right where you are.  So if you’re tired of the situation and feeling like a victim, then you have to do something different.  After all, that’s the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over yet expecting a different result.

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