The Lost Art of Taking Responsibility…

OK, this will be a very quick post. What can I say, if you haven’t seen this video, please take 2 minutes and check it out. This is not earth shattering stuff. The lady in the movie is in her local mall and texting vigorously. She is so consumed with texting on her phone that she fails to see the mall indoor fountain that is right in front of her. You guessed it. KERPLOP!!! So the fact that this happened is kind of amusing, however, the next part is a bit disturbing. She may be suing the mall? Come on really folks?
The reality is that she wasn’t paying attention and fell in. It was embarrassing, maybe even funny if she really thinks about it, and life goes on. Well life should go on, but instead of moving on she is going to sue. Ouch.
I think a disturbing trend in our overall society is the idea that when something bad, embarrassing or generally unpleasant happens we, as individuals, immediately start looking for someone or something to pass the blame on. “It wasn’t my fault that I fell in the mall fountain, the mall should have known I would be consumed with texting on my cell and never built the darn thing.” I truly believe if we all took more responsibility for our actions we might individually, and collectively, be very pleased with the result. One excellent lesson I learned at my alma mater on my first day of indoctrination was there are only three replies (1) Sir, Yes Sir; (2) Sir, No Sir; and (3) Sir, No Excuse Sir. Today, as a parent and in my various current life roles, I get to come front and center with what happens when lessons of responsibility are not properly instilled. Frankly, when these lessons are not properly learned it does everyone a disservice. I would advocate that the act of taking responsibility is an art. It can be liberating, scary, humbling and transformational, but most of all taking responsibility has an excellent side benefit. The side benefit is that when you take responsibility for initiatives, actions and outcomes on a consistent basis – you empower yourself. So to the lady who is falling in the fountain and suing I would say this. Towel off, have a good laugh about it, own what happened (i.e. take responsibility) and move on.