People often wonder how men like Adolf Hitler were (and are) able to get an entire society to commit atrocities, or at least look the other way. It’s simple. They promote mentalities of victimhood and blame. In Hitler’s case, he convinced a lot of people that they were victims. Hitler blamed the Jewish people for his lack of acceptance twice to Vienna's Academy of Fine Arts as well as for many other problems in his life. He needed something to explain away his personal failures and unfavorable circumstances. Later he was able to convince a lot of others to do the same thing. Whatever wasn’t right at the time, was in one way or another blamed on the Jewish people. When people believe they are victims they act out of fear rather than love, and the outcome is always tragic.
However, people who know they are responsible for their lives don’t blame society, ethnic groups, friends and family for their current situations. Taking responsibility means not blaming anyone or anything for your current situations in life. There is no reason to ever assign blame, because the entire concept of blaming comes from a mentality of victimhood. Taking responsibility for our lives, does not mean we “blame” ourselves either. It means we acknowledge that as powerful creators, humans create their own lives.
Yes, bad things happen to all of us, and some suffer much more than others. Those who have suffered much often have huge challenges to overcome, with an equal potential to become that much stronger, that much more compassionate, and that much more empowered. Is it a child’s fault that he or she was abused by his or her parents? Of course not! Is it an entrepreneur’s fault when a business partner turns out to be unethical and steals his or her money? No! Is it a homeowner’s fault when property values drop and their house isn’t worth what it used to be? Nope. But an abusive parent, a stupid boss, a dishonest partner, and changing markets do not have the power to determine what you make with the rest of your life—not unless you allow it to.
As adults living in a free society, we are able to make our own choices. We can leave abusive situations. We can find a new job if we hate the one we have. We can choose to forgive when we have been ill-treated. We can choose to heal (even though it may take time and guidance). But every problem or challenge is an opportunity in disguise. Those who choose to be responsible for their own lives take their moments of struggle and pain, and transform them into a wisdom and understanding. When we cultivate personal responsibility we start to enjoy greater power to shape our own lives into what we want our lives to be.
For the Social portion of the next Producer Power Hour reflect on this concept, and self evaluate with the following question on how you practice an attitude of responsibility in your life. As usual, write down any insights or inspirations you may have in your PPH journal.
Have I let myself believe that there are certain people or situations that have ruined my life, or a portion of my life?
How can I prove these thoughts wrong, and live a wonderful life in spite of people I perceive as having hurt me, and in spite of situations that were less than ideal?
“We need to teach the next generation of children from Day One that they are responsible for their lives. Mankind's greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built from love or from fear.” ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
“How fortunate for leaders, that men do not think.” ~ Adolf Hitler
This comes from a Producer Power Hour Daily post from Garrett Gunderson