Are You Responsible If It’s Not Your Fault?…
If something happens in your life that’s not your fault, who’s responsible? Think about it for a second because the answer may actually be life altering. If you think you are, then you’re correct. But how can that be and furthermore, what’s it really mean? Watch this lesson from me (Phil Svitek) and find out—you might just stop thinking of yourself as the victim in life and find a way to push through in spite of your circumstances. This mantra, if you will, has helped me and I know it can help you. You’ll discover the principle really dates back to a wonderful quote by Charles Swindoll but in order to really unpack its full meaning, I provide context for it. Once you’ve gone through the episode, I invite you to comment down below with any instances in your life where you chose not to be a victim of your circumstances. Write it proudly so that anyone else seeing your word may be inspired. I’m sure I will be.
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If something happens in your life that’s not your fault, who’s responsible? Think about it for a second because the answer may actually be life altering. If you think you are, then you’re correct. But regardless of whether you answered right or wrong, let’s explore this notion more.
Let’s begin by reiterating the notion—just because something is not your fault, doesn’t mean it’s not your responsibility. Stated another and perhaps simpler way, whatever happens in your life, whether you caused it or not, is yours to deal with.
Here’s an example from my own life to help illustrate this. I had to file some paperwork for my car at the DMV. There was an official form among the many papers I had to give to them. The official form, like it sounds, was a very important document which ultimately I didn’t have to do anything except pick it up from one place and bring it to the DMV. When I got to the DMV though, I was denied because the form needed to be “unaltered”. I asked for clarity and they said whoever filled out the form made a mistake with the date. I pointed out that was true but they fixed it and it matched the date on the bottom of the form. There were two places for the date on a single sheet. Go figure. The DMV stated they simply couldn’t take it, even though I had receipts and other forms verifying the date was valid and the fact that I did indeed do what I had been required to do. Wasn’t happening. As you can see, the mistake wasn’t my fault but it was my responsibility to deal with. Sucks, especially because rather than the DMV stepping in to process another form for me, I had to do that myself which consisted of me calling a number and being on hold for two hours. In short, I didn’t make the mistake but I’m required to fix it.
This happens a lot in my life and in other people’s lives. Not the DMV part, but the part where it’s not my fault but I still have to deal with it. It happens in your life but you may not realize it. Let me give you another example—this one didn’t actually happen to me but I’m sure you’ve heard stories like this. A person suffers a tragic accident caused by a reckless driver. Imagine this person was crossing the street at a time when the crosswalk signal allowed the person to go. But a driver, not looking, just went and hit that person. To make this story even sadder, let’s imagine the person hit lost the ability to walk. Who’s fault is it in this situation? The driver’s. But who’s responsible moving forward? The person who got hit.
That might sound shitty to say, but there is a purpose to this idea. It is meant as a way for you and me to stop being victims of circumstance. Life happens and it can suck, but we still have to move on. It is how we choose to move on that defines us. I’m not happy that I spent two hours on hold to get a new form only to then have to go through the same process I’d already gone through once before. But if I adopt a pissed off and miserable attitude, then that’s all I’ll be. In the words of The Departed, “I don’t want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be a product of me.” And it’s true, I don’t. And neither should you. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a moment of frustration. Allow yourself some space to process emotions. Don’t shy away from them. That’s part of self care. But eventually once you do, you’ll need to act in a way that’s not just you moping around because what’ll that ultimately solve in the long run? The reason my second example is of a person who loses the ability to walk is because I’ve seen that type of story used as evidence of resilience where in spite of their accident, the person finds purpose and a way to not be a victim of that tragedy. And that’s precisely correct. You and I should draw inspiration from that type of story. And there’s countless other stories like this. Each of us has a choice to make based on what life hands us. We can be victims and blame everyone else for our problems or we can start accepting it and learn to move forward regardless of life’s setbacks.
Let’s all make a commitment to stop being victims of bad luck and tragedy and adopt the mentality that we’re responsible for our own lives. This notion applies to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re an atheist, agnostic, believe in the Universe or God because regardless of who is laying out your path in life, you are still responsible for walking it, no?
I’ve experienced this firsthand. I used to go “woe is me” all the time whenever bad things would happen. Now, I’ve gotten much better at dealing with any issues that arise (large or small) because I know I have the ability to succeed regardless of what life hands me. Doesn’t mean it’s easy. Oh, believe me, it’s not. But knowing you have other options is certainly a big component of overcoming life’s hurdles.
So why don’t we truly make a pact right here, right now to take ownership of our lives no matter what?
To clarify and simultaneously inspire you further, here’s a Charles Swindoll quote that really hits it on the head in terms of how we can apply this notion of responsibility to our daily lives.
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
Pretty powerful no? Please allow it to sit so that you can really understand that no matter who is at fault for the things in your life, you have control over your attitude and the actions you’ll take. This is the part of the show where I invite you to write in the comment section any instances in your life where you chose not to be a victim of your circumstances. Write it proudly so that anyone else seeing your word may be inspired. I’m sure I will be.
And with that, we conclude this lesson. Free free to click over to any of the numerous lessons I’ve created just for you though. I have so many you can check out along with other free resources. Just go to my website at philsvitek.com. Also, I’m going to be coming out with a workbook version of this series to help master mental fortitude. The book will reiterate my various lessons as well as provide exercises for you to put those lessons to practice. If you’re interested in the details, subscribe to my newsletter on my website or leave a comment below. Lastly, a huge thank you to the people that helped make this episode financially possible. If you too would like to support this show, you can either head on over to my Patreon or sport some merch from my store. Links are down below as well. Or you can just tell a friend about this show and we can build a great community of like-minded creatives. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to tune in. I’m @PhilSvitek on social media and I’ll see you next Wednesday with another lesson. Bye!