According to Pereboom (2014) the personal responsibility is the capacity of the individual to make choices and dictate their actions and subsequently influence the consequences and experiences encountered in their lives. It is the willingness or readiness to be held accountable for one’s action or inaction because the individual is in control of personal actions and inactions. Personal responsibility manifests in various dynamics which are discussed here in.
- Having a deep sense of purpose. People who are personally responsible for their lives have a keen sense of purpose. They do not live anyhow because they believe that they have a purpose to fulfil. They therefore take actions and responsibilities that are aligned with that purpose. This helps them to effectively manage their time as their actions, hobbies and interest are all focused on the attainment of their purpose.
- Effective decision making. The second manifestation of personal responsibility is effective decision making. Being personally responsible means that one must work hard and work toward making choices that are effective and aligned with one’s goals and purpose. The individual who has taken personal responsibility knows that the outcomes depends with the decisions they make. The individual who has understood personal responsibility has to endeavor to make the right choices by consulting widely, reading and reflecting to ensure that they make value choices.
- No scapegoating. Individuals with personal responsibility do not blame others. They do not find scapegoats to accuse for personal failures and mistakes. They accept that they have made a mistake and choose to learn from that mistake. The individual with personal responsibility usually realises that blaming others will not solve the problem. They know that blaming others only makes them feel better for the moment but does nothing to solve the problem. Even when others have played a role in the failure, they strive to learn the lesson and find ways of rectifying the problem instead of blaming others.
- Self-acceptance. Not blaming others does not necessarily imply blaming self. People who take personal responsibility do not necessarily blame themselves for the mistakes nad failures they encounter. They recognise that some of the factors were beyond their control. Instead, the focus of personal responsibility is taking charge to identity and rectify what could have one wrong. People with sense of personal responsibility acknowledge their shortcoming and seek out help from others who are better positioned to assist. They do not give excuses to cover up for their shortcomings. Instead they work hard and identifying and acknowledging their shortcoming while working towards the improvements of the identified weaknesses.
- Continuous improvement. People who take personal acknowledge that change is inevitable. While status quo and comfort may be appealing, people who want to take charge and be personally responsible for their lives acknowledge the need to continuously make improvement. They continuously self-assess and self-evaluate in order to identify how they can make improvement in their personal lives or in any other aspect that could help them attain their goals.
In conclusion each individual has personal responsibility over their lives and all that pertains to it. Personal responsibility implies self-awareness about the influence that individual’s action has on one’s life. It is an attempt to be in control while letting go and asking for help on factors that out of one’s control.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.” Reinhold Niebuhr.
Pereboom, D. (2014) Free Will, Agency, and Meaning in Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.