Television psychologist Darren Stanton has written an excellent article about taking responsibility. As always, Darren applies a different angle onto a daily aspect of our lives.

Seven Minute Read.

Each action made has a consequence. If the work is one of the negative and physical nature, for example, smoking, excessive alcohol, the outcome in the long-term will negatively influence one’s health. When a harmful act is within human interaction, the consequences can be catastrophic or damaging.

If the act is one of a positive nature, for example, regular exercise, meditation and sleep. The long-term outcome will be extended life and good health. When we act with moral and the high principles of truth and integrity the consequences are likely to be beneficial and reap the rewards.  

Every action or choice arises from the use of knowledge, we call this reasoning. Learn to reason with known facts and the probability is we reach our objectives. Take the easy route, and reason with unproven supposition and failure is the probable result. These two statements are fundamental to long-term success and security. 

Do not confuse experimentation and testing a situation in the same way:

Many suggest that failure is part of the learning curve: To some degree, I agree, although, the suggestion holds water only if the design of the plan is sound. Edison may have failed a thousand times perfecting the electric light bulb, but remember, his core design was fixed. Similarly, we can experiment with social interaction, if the underlying intention is truthful and has integrity. 

Darren’s Website

When the premise of taking responsibly for our actions is adhered to, we succeed every time: even though the outcomes of a plan may not always be successful. This is because a reputation for integrity in one’s actions grows and become more acknowledged, even though some of our plans fail to come to fruition, people will seed the integrity which surrounds, or is within the action. 

Those who fail to take responsibly for their actions may initially experience success, although the underlying flaws in character, ultimately mean the objective is built on unstable ideas and thoughts. Taking shortcuts is an obvious example. Taking responsibility starts at the beginning of any situation where we are attempting to achieve a long-term goal. People who take responsibility for their actions become accountable for the outcome of their choices. They know the difference between right and wrong: accepting their part in the outcomes of their words and deeds.

Thoughts are influenced by external environments. 

Information enters the mind, and as the events, situations, life experiences, accumulate in the memory, we make choices based upon the lessons. When we become involved in a situation: the mind draws upon similar conditions held in the memory and decisions are made based on previous knowledge.

One aspect of human behaviour fascinates psychologists, we ask why people continually make the same mistake: and may they see others taking a severe and personally damaging course of action and follow the same method. For example: dictators have controlled opposition by force for thousands of years and the outcome of broken empires and generations of family and group hatred is a result of dictatorial oppression.

Some psychologists offer the suggestion that failing to take responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions is part of the reason for the continual use of poor reasoning. Another suggestion is stubbornness or conviction that the opinion or methods used are sound and without flaws. Stubbornness can be considered as irresponsible: how many times have we seen people damage their reputation because they cannot accept the reality of a situation?

During seminars on deception, I am asked to explain why some people fail, and others succeed. Even though in some instances, the ‘failures’ used right and moral principals and the ‘successful’ chose to deceive. 

This is a difficult question to give a specific answer: Because, we agree there are situations where there is prosperity even though, the success is based in deception: For example, an advertisement can be inaccurate and ‘distort the truth’: and the business involved can be successful. For example: examine the issue of bottled spring water: Here is part of a well-researched article on the subject:

“Research suggests that for most Americans, the liquid in a bottle is not better than the stuff in your tap. In fact, a recent report found that almost half of all bottled water is actually derived from the tap, but may be further processed or tested for safety. In 2007, Pepsi (Aquafina) and Nestle (Pure Life) had to change their labels to reflect this more accurately.

Tap water is also typically tested for quality and contamination more frequently than bottled water. The Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for conducting those tests.

Still, the quality of your tap water can vary considerably based on where you live. According to EPA law, you should receive an annual drinking water quality report, or Consumer Confidence Report, by July 1 that details where your water comes from and what’s in it”.

The reader will understand from this example the implication that belief will override research into the facts of a situation. One should consider millions of people are subject to deception from apparently trusted companies, politicians, and some celebrities, it is not surprising, some ‘believe’ deception is ‘part of life’. This offers a suggestion as to why people use inaccurate information to support their ideas or beliefs. Allowing emotional beliefs to override fact can be seen as an irresponsible act, which often results in problems in the future.

The seminar question (I am asked to explain why some people fail, and others succeed. Even though in some instances, the failure used right and moral principals and the successful chose to deceive) and the answer has implications in daily life.

Darren’s Website

Here is a typical situation:

Consider someone who has a grudge and uses inaccurate information to support their claims. They force through their argument with relentless determination. And, as is often the case in this situation, there will be some who do not agree or do not believe the claims. The situation gets out of hand, because of the disgruntled individual senses the scepticism and makes more outlandish and inaccurate claims. In the long term they inevitably cause themselves harm, their reputation is damaged.

It is essential to take responsibly for one’s actions. 

The moment we attempt to accumulate support in any argument, we should understand there will be others who do not agree or believe the complaints being offered in favour of the argument.

Another aspect comes into the (long-term) equation:

Those who listen to the gripes actually reference the act of complaint, not the reason for the disgruntled outburst. We must understand the long-term implications of our choices.

Reflect with care on the previous paragraph:

The implication is fellow humans do not judge us by the reason or content of our interactions. They judge us by the frame of the action. In the example we discover the disgruntled moaner, is damned for being a moaner, the reason for the outburst is long forgotten. A responsible person understands this subtle and important factor in human interaction. 

There are many levels of conflict and causes of conflict. And once one attempts to damage the reputation of another, there is a need to take responsibility for the results of the conflict. Evidence suggests entering into public arguments regarding personal disagreement will result in long-term loss of reputation. Not of the victim, but for the aggressor. The rights and wrongs of the situation are of no importance, the act of aggression is where the judgement is made.

Remember, the reason or cause of disagreement is not relevant. The act of entering into or causing the conflict is where the judgment will be placed. At the extreme, millions have been killed during wars. We talk about the war and damage, long after the reason for the conflict has been forgotten. The minds ability to filter out many aspects of any situation is used in almost every moment of reasoning. 

This essay is titled “Responsibility” and how the meaning of the word influences the longterm effects of deliberate and individual deception. Without a doubt, deception of any degree will cause long-term adverse outcomes. (Self-deception is probably the worse aspect of using this methodology). What do I mean by this? Well, when inaccurate information is used to support one’s argument, self-deception has to be acceptable to one’s personal unconscious mind. On a psychological level, this causes the problem, the unconscious mind accepts everything we believe as the truth: The subconscious mind is amenable to and controlled by suggestion. We are constantly unknowingly feeding our unconscious with ideas and beliefs. The unconscious takes whatever we feed it as fact and truth. It then goes about sending those messages back into our conscious minds, and we are in a trap if those thoughts are negative. (For example: The smoker consciously knows the habit is life-threatening – the unconscious mind overrides the facts).

When this aspect of the unconscious mind is ignored, we must accept the unconscious mind will become our enemy. And this is the reason for many of our issues and problems. If the unconscious mind believes it is acceptable to act irresponsibly, then this is how our choices will be made, so what we think to be right is in the eye of others wrong.

Use the inaccurate information to attain an objective is acceptable to the unconscious mind which believes this to be the right course of action. In the long term, when the outcome is poor, the individual looks for someone to blame for their lack of responsibility. Because the unconscious mind accepts everything you feed it with as truth, therefore you cannot be wrong. Hence the beginnings of inner conflict.

Remember the conscious mind constructs the sequence of events to reach the objective. The conscious mind uses the patterns learns and remembered by the unconscious (For example: a child ‘gets away with a white lie excuse’ before long lies become the way of dealing with problems). If the goal is attained, there will be a short-term conscious feeling of success. The long-term problem is the conscious mind knows the deception. And an inner conflict begins between unconscious justification and conscious reality, the internal strife, becomes a problem. The circle of deception increases, as the conscious mind then uses inaccurate information to support points of view or attain objectives. 

When you meet someone who ‘Is never wrong’ you now know the reason behind his use of inaccurate information. Unfortunately, as in the example of the ‘fake mineral water,’ there is a tendency to believe anything which ‘fits’ and therefore the same method is utilised in day to day life. When listening to an individual who blames other people for their plight: it is wise to remember we are part of the situations which mould our thoughts. Those who do not take responsibility for their role in any situation: will always blame others for their difficulties. And of course, the unconscious mind will support their beliefs.

To some degree, not taking responsibility for one’s actions, is the easy path.  

If we remove the concept of luck or chance, we discover that most cases of long-term attainment are achieved through ‘right reasoning’ and attention to facts and detail. Successful people can encounter difficulties on many levels and rise above setbacks. They take responsibility for their lives and distance themselves from failure. The successful will see both sides of any issue, learn from the experience and move on without a second glance back. One of the most important observations is this: Successful people never gripe or demean those who have caused difficulty. They know as many psychologists know: People do not assess others from the aspects of a situation: We are judged by how we act in a situation. The situation is irrelevant. Consider the adage ‘actions speak louder than words’.

Darren’s Website

In the following paragraph, we consider the reason for understanding the potential held within the meaning of the word responsibility. 

“Those who demonstrate the excellence of moral and truthful dialogue will, most often, attain their goals. As reputation grows, so does the ability to fulfil objectives. The reason is people trust us because of our previous acts. One should consider this is a demanding and challenging task. Taking responsibility for our lives is one of the best ways to encounter success and gain respect from those we meet on the journey of life”.

We should consider people chose to blame others because of their own failings. They distort the truth and delete the facts of a situation to achieve their objectives. The long-term consequence of this methodology can be ruinous. And all should remember that with modern media technology there is very little we can keep hidden. 

Ultimately all who view us, expect us to take responsibility for our actions.

DS

Darren’s Website

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. Fantastic article: The information makes much sense and opens new avenues of thought. The idea that we are judged by our percieved character and NOT the reason for our actions is a revelation. We could change our lives based upon this one concept. Darren Stanton has an rare ability to transform academic ideas into everyday writing. LizianEvents must be commened for publishing articles of the quality. Janine

  2. A fascinating article. I suspect that some of it is bait to elicit a response, it has worked!

    I agree that every action has a consequence – and everything we say, or do, or don’t do, has meaning.

    Acting with “moral and high principles of truth and integrity” sounds grandiose, but what does it mean? It needs a chapter on its own. Sometimes immoral decisiveness can be very effective. “This is my truth, tell me yours”, is Bevan’s sharp aphorism on the concept of truth. Might consistency be an easier measure than integrity?

    Are our choices based on knowledge, or experience? Are the two the same? I once came across someone who boasted ten years experience in a job role – their line manager commented that they had one year’s experience ten times. Knowledge, and experience can be quite different.

    Is the easy route the wrong route? A mountain stream from source to ocean takes the easiest route, exploring the most direct way offering least resistance. Telling the truth is easy, you don’t have to think about it. It can also be difficult as the consequences can be unpleasant. Furthermore the difficult solution can sometimes swallow up so much time that taking the easier route, and doing more easy things, can be more productive.

    Great thought provoking piece Darren, I will return.

    • Magnificent reply Gary: I have no doubt Darren could expand on his article. On a personal observation: I have always found there is no easy route to success. I also close doors on negative situations and people. I give an answer and move on, to my mind Darren is spot on, many of us see the whole truth of a situation. Using confirmational bias is poor thinking practice. Ian

  3. continued…

    Is taking responsibility for one’s own actions enough? Will it offer success?

    Taking responsibility for one’s actions is a feature of despots, autocrats, and dictators, as well as the more altruistically inclined. The IRA Commander Martin McGuinness took responsibility for his actions as a combatant, but he only succeeded by taking into account the view of others as a Sinn Fein politician.

    Do people who take responsibility for their actions know the difference between right and wrong? See the above.

    Surely taking responsibility for one’s own actions in a vacuum is not enough? Do the people and environment within which those actions take place not determine success?

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