Who is responsible for your actions and outcomes?

Episode 31 in Part 2 of our Introduction series: Getting to know yourself.

Habits:  Self-control | Growth mindset

Skills:  Responsibility | Initiative

Description:  In this episode, we investigate the concept of taking responsibility for the outcomes you get in life. We look at how your actions can impact upon the good or bad nature of your outcomes and encourage you to stop making excuses or blaming others for the results you receive. If you want to live a successful life, you first must take responsibility for the fact that you have control over it, no one else.


How this lesson might be discussed with your child

This episode introduces the importance of taking responsibility for the actions you take as well as the outcomes you receive. We look at the impacts that come from not taking responsibility, specifically the risk of this becoming a bad habit that leads to the view that life happens to you rather than being something you can have control over.

We identify the common trap of avoiding responsibility by making excuses for our outcomes or blaming something or someone else for our situation, and we highlight why this approach lowers our own sense of self-confidence.

When discussing this episode, some questions might include:

  • Why do you think it's important to take responsibility for your outcomes?
  • Do you think it is difficult to always take responsibility? Why/Why not?
  • What areas might taking responsibility be more difficult?
  • Why do you think people try to avoid responsibility sometimes?
  • What other skills do you think you'd need to take responsibility more often?

Some specific discussion points

Discussion of any literary works, historical figures, or current events featuring prominent individuals offers an opportunity to discuss where people may have been highly responsible (as in the famous – but fictional – account of George Washington damaging his fathers cherry tree) or avoiding responsibility as much as possible (as in the case of disgraced Tour de France cyclist Lance Armstrong).

Questions may include:

  • Which well known people in history or from today do you think of as having a high amount of responsibility? Why?
  • How has being responsible benefited them?
  • Which well known people in history or from today do you think of as having no or low responsibility? Why?
  • How would this person be different if they had more responsibility?
  • What do you think prevents people from taking responsibility for their actions or outcomes?
  • What do you think might prevent you from taking more responsibility?
  • What do you think you could do to increase your responsibility?

Discussing the quote from this episode:

"Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else." — Les Brown

Possible areas of discussion may include:

  • Do you believe that 'it is you who will get you where you want to go'? Why/Why not?
  • Do you believe 'no one else' will help you? Why/Why not?
  • Do you think this message, that no one else will help, is in conflict with the previous Passion Arena asking you to get support from others? Why/Why not? (Episode 1-15 Who is helping you to succeed?)
  • How does getting help from others still require you to take responsibility?

Further information on this topic

If you'd like to dive a bit deeper on this topic, you might be interested in watching:

What Oprah Knows About Taking Responsibility For Your Life
Oprah Winfrey (click to view video at Oprah.com)

Or you might like to read:

How To Take Responsibility For Your Life
by Susan M. Heathfield, 2016.