Tweet 32 in my career advice book Success Tweets: 140 Bits of Common Sense Career Success Advice, All in 140 Characters or Less says, “Stuff happens as you go about creating your life and career success. Choose to respond positively to the negative stuff that happens.”
It’s simple, really. Success is all up to you, and me, and anyone else who wants it. We all have to take personal responsibility for our own success. I am the only one who can make me a career success. You are the only one who can make you a career success.
Stuff happens: good stuff, bad stuff, frustrating stuff, unexpected stuff. Successful people respond to the stuff that happens in a positive way. Humans are the only animals with free will. That means we – you and me – get to decide how we react to every situation that comes up. That’s why taking personal responsibility for yourself and choosing to respond positively to the negative stuff that happens to you is so important.
Personal responsibility means recognizing that you are responsible for your life and the choices you make. It means that you realize that while other people and events have an impact on your life, these people and events don’t shape your life. When you accept personal responsibility for your life, you own up to the fact that how you react to people and events is what’s important. And you can choose how to react to every person you meet and everything that happens to you.
I’m having to really walk my talk on this one these days. Here’s my sad story. About a month ago – August 14, my birthday to be exact – I learned that my BudBilanich.com website had been hacked and infected with some sort of malware. Since then I’ve been working very hard, and spending a lot of money trying to get this problem fixed.
Until today, I couldn’t post a blog. I still can’t send my daily success quotes. As you can imagine this is really, I mean REALLY, frustrating. There have been times over the past month when I’ve felt like letting the hackers win and just giving up on blogging and sending my success quotes.
But I’ve chosen to refuse to do that. I’m following my own advice. I’m responding positively to this particular piece of bad stuff. I’m treating this malware attack as an opportunity to make this blog and my success quotes better than before.
The concept of personal responsibility is found in most writings on success. The late Stephen Covey’s first habit in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is, “Be proactive.” I have a little book called Daily Reflections for Highly Effective People, also by Stephen Covey. It is one of the most-read books that I have. I like it because it provides a little snippet of advice from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People every day.
The daily reflection for September 24 goes directly to the advice in this tweet, and it gets to the heart of personal responsibility and life and career success.
“It’s not really what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us. Of course, things can hurt physically or economically and can cause sorrow. But our character, our basic identity, does not have to be hurt at all. In fact, our most difficult experiences become the crucibles that forge our character and develop the internal powers, the freedom to handle difficult circumstances in the future and to inspire others to do so as well.”
Dr. Covey provides some great career advice here. We can’t always choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we react to both the positive and negative experiences we have as we go through life. Successful people choose to make lemonade out of lemons. Unsuccessful people choose to complain about the bitter, tart taste of the lemons they are handed. I refuse to be bitter about this hacking experience. I’m using it as a learning opportunity and moving forward.
I know the “lemons into lemonade” line is a cliché. However, clichés become clichés because they have an underlying truth. The important point is that human beings are blessed with free will. As such, we can choose what we do and how we react to the world around us. We can choose a positive, productive path, or we can choose a path of self-pity and inaction – and hurt only ourselves in the end.
I’m getting close to a full pitcher of lemonade. My blog is back up today – and I should be sending success quotes sometime next week.
Thanks for hanging in there with me and taking the time to read my thoughts on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you.