We live in a world of excuses.
A world where the majority of its inhabitants will run through hoops just to evade responsibility.
They want convenience; they don’t want repercussions or having to deal with uncomfortable truths.
The rare ability to take responsibility, therefore, can speak volumes about a person’s character in this day and age.
By taking responsibility and owning up to shortcomings, they’re separating themselves from everyone else.
They’re the ones with integrity, they’re the leaders, the badasses of society.
So if you want to join this elite club, your behaviors have to line up.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the traits of people who don’t shy away from responsibility.
Let’s get to it!
1) They take accountability
This one’s a no-brainer.
People who value the principle of accountability tend to take responsibility–sometimes even when they’re not fully to blame.
They will accept ownership of their actions, decisions, and consequences, rarely shying away from admitting fault.
Accountability is such a refreshingly rare trait these days.
So when someone has it, it should be considered an invaluable asset.
If a few more people took accountability in the world, we’d be living in a far better place.
Think about it: there are literally thousands of incompetent and corrupt politicians in the world actively stealing taxpayer money.
Yet when they’re questioned about why the economy is tanking, they’ll almost always evade accountability, shifting blame to everyone but themselves.
Spineless, I know.
But the sad reality of the world is that taking accountability is a dying art form.
It’s our job to revive it.
2) They have integrity
Taking responsibility and having integrity go together like the mashed potatoes and gravy you had over Thanksgiving dinner.
Integrity means acting morally and doing what’s right even when nobody is watching.
People with integrity aren’t typically motivated by social media validation, outdated holy books, or self-interest.
They will choose to uphold their moral and ethical principles for no underlying motive other than doing the right thing.
Going back to the example of politicians, I can’t help but wonder how many of them are genuine.
Behind closed doors, do they uphold the same principles, like taking responsibility, as they do when they’re surrounded by phone cameras and the press?
Call me a cynic, but I have my doubts.
3) They’re proactive
Sometimes, when nobody wants to take responsibility, say in the workplace, this will delay things unnecessarily.
People will be uneasily twiddling their thumbs as the supervisor tries to weed out a guilty party.
Rather than waiting for things to happen, a proactive, assertive person might either take the fault or take the initiative to actively engage in solving the problem.
They’ll get the process started early so potential solutions can be drafted–rather than let the stalemate continue indefinitely.
4) They’re highly reliable
The great leaders and achievers of the world are almost always reliable.
They’re consistent, dependable, responsible.
Do you know who isn’t reliable?
The hungover college student who is flunking out of school because they’re too busy partying or smoking weed to focus go to class.
Rather than own up to their reckless behavior, they might seek to blame others rather than fully come to terms with their own issues.
And yes, I’m speaking from experience.
5) They’re resilient
Real talk: resilient people tend to be more embracing of their mistakes than everyone else.
This is because, rather than blame external factors, they’ll use setbacks and challenges as a means to growth–and ultimately, to bounce back stronger.
Hence, they’ll take responsibility for their shortcomings–knowing that being wrong is an ordinary, even acceptable, part of the human experience; and that, extreme cases aside, there’s no shame in it.
I remember when I lost my business in the pandemic, my first reaction to my growing misfortune was to look for blame.
In my head, I thought it was my staff’s fault, my girlfriend’s fault, or even my parent’s fault for not raising me to handle money like a shrewd accountant.
But at the end of the day, I came to the realization, that there was really nobody to blame but myself.
I was the owner, the CEO, the founder. It was my business.
So I began to gradually take responsibility, rather than dwell on everyone else’s potential mistakes.
By embracing and acknowledging my blunders, I learned new perspectives.
I became tougher, mentally and emotionally; I became wiser; and I became more resilient.
In hindsight, taking responsibility was one of the best decisions of my life.
6) They have empathy
Let’s be honest, many people would happily screw others over, if it means not having to fess up.
We see this behavior between reality game show contestants all the time, so what more real life?
Sure, these folks might feel a fleeting tinge of guilt here and there, but their actions still don’t fundamentally affect them to their cores.
The person with empathy and compassion, on the other hand, has a firm understanding of the impact of their actions on others.
They know, for instance, that if they don’t take responsibility, someone else–someone undeserving–might take the fall.
That’s enough for the empathetic person to admit their fault.
They have an inherent consideration and kindness towards others and their feelings, and their decisions in life usually reflect that.
It’s time we collectively started looking at the bigger picture.
As we’ve established, most will evade blame just to avoid discomfort and inconvenience.
But this is a short-sighted way of going about things.
The truth is, every time you take responsibility in life, you’re investing in yourself and your character.
Every time you choose to take accountability, you’re becoming better, more mature, and wiser than you were previously.
You learn more about yourself (as I did) and about the person you’re capable of becoming.
So don’t just take responsibility for the sake of it, do it because it’s the right thing to do–and because it’s good for you, mind, body, and soul.
You got this.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.