November 20, 2021

The Strong Accept Responsibility

If we judge as good and evil only the things in the power of our own choice, then there is no room left for blaming gods or being hostile to others.

- Marcus Aurelius, (121-180), Meditations

A sign on President Harry Truman’s desk read ... 


As president, with more power and control than pretty much anyone else, he knew that, good or bad, there wasn’t anyone he could blame for stuff other than himself. There was no one to pass the buck to.

The chain ended there, in the Oval Office. As the president of our own lives - and knowing that our powers begin and end with our reasoned choice - we would do well to internalize this same attitude.

We don’t control things outside that sphere, but we do control our attitudes and our responses to those events - and that’s plenty. It’s enough that we go into each and every day knowing that there is no one to pass the buck to.

It ends with us.

Note: This article was published in "The Daily Stoic" by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, available on Amazon.

Taking Responsibility for Your Life

Carrying out a little Web-Search with the keyword "Taking Responsibility" shows more than a billion results. Key topics are:

  1. Take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, words and actions.
  2. Stop blaming.
  3. Stop complaining.
  4. Refuse to take anything personal.
  5. Make yourself happy.
  6. Live in the present moment.
  7. Use the power of intention.
  8. Feel calm and confident.
  9. Look for the good in people

Two of the top search results are available for you, just click on the images to open the articles.

How to Take Responsibility for Your Life: 11 no-nonsense tips
9 Ways to Take Responsibility for Your Life

To Take Responsibility, Attitude follows Aptitude.

Taking responsibility, as stated in both articles, strongly targets the attitude of a person in the face of events, i.e. their reactions. They are talking about e.g. reflection and meditation to develop a desired attitude.

Fair enough.

But isn't it a question of aptitude first? I am talking about the competence and ability for change.

In our fast paced world people simply don't find the time to reflect, to be calm and to be for themselves. With an overwhelming amount of obligations and tasks at hand they fail to change.

This again brings us to the "boring old question" of time and money. Maybe we want to work on this first in order to set ourselves free.

Know what I mean? No? Watch the video to find out (highly recommended!).Maybe it includes an idea for the first step to escape the dilemma of not finding the time for change.


Books are the plane, and the train, and the road.
They are the destination, and the journey.
They are home.

- Anna Quindlen

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