Windows & Mirrors: Part II

In our last post, we talked about the Windows & Mirrors concept: do you accept responsibility for your circumstance or do you seek external excuses to blame your situation on?  Often, it is not natural talent or charisma that defines great leaders, but rather one’s expectations of themselves (and others) and their ability to accept responsibility when things turn sour.

The brightest, most talented and most successful people in the world fail all the time:

  • Thomas Edison and his 2,000 ways “how not to invent a light-bulb”
  • Vincent van Gogh who considered himself a complete flop as an artist, or
  • Abe Lincoln who suffered a multitude of potentially crushing personal and professional setbacks before becoming president and abolishing slavery.

The simple truth is that it’s often easier to look out the window and blame a “failure” on poor luck than it is to accept a mistake.  It’s easier to become the victim than to own the fact that you made a decision somewhere along the line that encouraged an unfavorable circumstance.

This is enough to convince most people that they’re not responsible for their life. I’m just unlucky.  I’m not smart enough.  I don’t have the skills to do that.  If you’re not in control, it can’t ever be your fault.  This comforting mindset is familiar us all in some capacity.

But here’s the rub: this short-term ego-enhancing tactic is completely devastating to long-term success and true happiness.  If you don’t see yourself as part of the problem, you won’t ever see yourself as part of the solution.

In other words, if you don’t think you have control of (or at least, an impact on) your life, you won’t take action to strive for the life you truly want.  It is this precise lack of action that causes many to fall short of their goals and relinquish the influence they have on their own life.

So whether you’re searching for a new job, considering a career transition or trying to figure out how best to manage your Career Services department, take responsibility for your circumstance and begin taking (preferably strategically defined) action.  After all, your future depends on it…

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