One of the foundational principles of stress mastery is that you need to take 100% responsibility for the results in your life.
It’s true that you are not 100% responsible for every event that happens in your life. Of course, many things happen that are beyond your control.
But, you are 100% responsible for how you respond to those events in life. This is critical because it is your response to challenging events that shapes the very outcome (results) of those events.
The famous Jack Canfield of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series has a formula devoted specifically to this point. It goes:
E + R = O
This means: An Event + Your Response (to that event) = The Outcome.
In other words, the outcome you get in life is dependent upon what happens to you plus your response to what happens to you.
And here’s the key: you are 100% responsible for your responses in life, not the events, but your response to those events. This takes us into response-ability, i.e. the ability to respond.
Take a moment to watch this powerful clip from Rocky Balboa, which says it more powerfully than I can.
As Rocky so eloquently says to his son in the clip above:
“And the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world and you did…
… but somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow.
Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.
You, me or nobody is gonna’ hit as hard as life.
But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.
Now if you know what you’re worth, now go out and get what you’re worth, but you’ve gotta be willing to take the hit and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t what you wanna be because of him or her or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that.
I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, you ain’t gonna have a life.
That’s powerful advice for all of us about what is called “stress resilience,” which is the ability to bounce back from adversity, or in Rocky’s words, “how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.”
That is sage advice and science bears the proof — in that stress resilience is a primary component of success in achieving your goals, or in Rocky’s words, in “how winning is done.”
Listen to the words of Dean M. Becker, founder of Adaptive Learning Systems, who said in his Harvard Business Review article, “more than education, more than experience, more than training, a person’s level of resilience will determine who succeeds and who fails. That’s true in the cancer ward, it’s true in the Olympics and it’s true in the boardroom.”
And as the clip above shows, taking responsibility for your life is a key determinant in the development of stress resilience.
We can understand this concept better if we ask ourselves, “What is the opposite of taking responsibility?”
The answer to this question is clear. It is complaining, condemning and blaming others. In short, it is playing the victim.
If you choose to play the blame game and become a victim, there is really no chance that even the greatest set of stress mastery tools on the planet will ever help you succeed in achieving health, happiness or peace of mind.
Why? Because if you are playing the victim card, you are making the world responsible for your outcomes in life. If the world is responsible for your results then YOU are NOT responsible for them and you cannot change the outcome of something you are not responsible for. ”
And that’s exactly what Rocky is saying to his son, when he says:
“Now if you know what you’re worth, now go out and get what you’re worth, but you’ve gotta be willing to take the hit and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t what you wanna be because of him or her or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that.”
That’s great advice that I can’t improve upon. So in ending this post, let me just echo Rocky’s words in my own style, “Take responsibility for your life. Don’t blame others for your results in life. That’s what cowards do, and that’s not what you are. You’re better than that. We’re all better than that. But to realize that power, we must believe in ourselves, trust in God and take responsibility for our lives and never, ever, ever blame circumstances or other people for where we are and what we achieve in life. We are all capable of greatness, but we must help one another to achieve that greatness, by encouraging each other–no matter how hard we get hit by life– to get back up and keep moving forward, because that’s how winning is done.
Till next time, in body and soul, this is Dr. Neil Neimark signing off.