I was brought up to be ‘responsible’ and to have an awareness that how I acted affected other people; as the eldest child, there were expectations that I took on – that how I behaved had an impact on my younger siblings. Doing the ‘right’ thing was important even if no one else knew you were doing it. I prided myself on being honest and pointing out, for example, if a shopkeeper had undercharged me, but in reality, I was often very irresponsible in how I took care of myself and also how my frequent disregard for myself and my wellbeing impacted all those around me. Not just because other people had to pick up some of my responsibilities, but also in the irritability and other behaviours that I imposed on others.
Lately I have heard that responsibility is referred to as the ability to respond. I like that as it rings true in how we naturally respond to life, which can be very well observed with children.
Young children have a natural curiosity about and for life. They observe and put into practice what they have observed without questioning whether they like to do it or not. They also do not categorise into having something done well or as being wrong; they just do it again and again, bringing their all into the experience.
As adults we have unlearned this way of being and have been taught to calculate and reason. We have been taught that we have a choice to like something or not, to categorise into good and bad, important or not important and thus have also learned to prioritise.
Responsibility: the word alone makes me tense up. In fact, I couldn’t even remember the topic I’d decided to write about today. Ah, responsibility, I’m beginning to understand that you are my friend.
To the outside world I’m sure I appear very responsible and the truth is, I am… but lately I have come to understand responsibility on a much deeper level and I’ve discovered that the more responsible I become, the more I begin to see my irresponsible ways. Ouch.
The word responsibility has been a terrifying word for me – I am slightly exaggerating but I’m also serious. I actually consider myself quite a responsible person, doing the right thing, arriving on time, being reliable, honest, considering others, not cheating on my time sheets at work and so on and so on. But although I may be ‘doing’ the responsible actions in my life, I never ever considered the quality of these actions and how they affect me and outside of me. Continue reading “Responsibility Redefined – it’s in the Quality and not the Action!”
I was pondering on the wider implications of responsibility the other day, it being such a vast and never-ending narrative in our everyday life. To take responsibility, or not, is the question here. But the way responsibility is talked about can make it sound like a heavy burden and a threat or punishment even. Who would want a bar of it under these circumstances? On the other side, if we do take responsibility, why would we do it and what does it do, generally and for us?
I was also inspired by the blog Are We Taking Responsibility For Our Own Lives which opened an even wider scope in the responsibility arena and certainly highlighted some dark corners where irresponsibility can hang out, linger and hide. Continue reading “Responsibility and the Bigger Picture”
Some research released late last year shows that only 13% of employees, sampled from more than 140 countries, are “engaged” in their jobs, invested in or focussed on helping their organisations or work places to improve (1).
It also shows that 63% of people are “not engaged” – or simply unmotivated and unlikely to exert extra effort – whilst the remaining 24% are “actively disengaged” or truly unhappy and unproductive. Continue reading “A Life of Purpose”
“So today will be your last day in the office” I was told by my manager. It was 5:30pm. I handed over my work phone and shut down my computer. I had resigned about an hour earlier and was within minutes of being out of the building. I had never expected nor planned for it to happen this way – it all happened so quickly.
But as I started walking home I had the realisation that I now had nothing to do for the next three months. And I was going to get paid for that time. Welcome to gardening leave. You can check out, but you can never leave.