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I’ll start this activity with a confession about my feeling of uncertainty regarding a concept named “responsibility”.
In the past, I have perceived the following “rules” as a good example of how to be responsible.
-You must do your homework.
-You must sit down and listen quietly.
-You must wear a suit if you are delivering a presentation. (observe that there is a surplus of must and a lack of why).
But then the doubts appeared and challenged my perspective. Now I ask you this:
Is it responsibility an obligation to act accordingly to what other people tell us?
Is responsibility something that someone gives you externally, like a present?
I don’t think so. Let’s try to find out a balance together. How? Google!
My imaginary conversation with Google:
“João: Google, give me the definition of “responsibility”, please.
Obedient Google: here it is: “the state or fact of having a duty” or “having control over someone”.
João: Obligation and control? It makes me anxious and I don’t like it…
Google: But look, leadership is a synonym!
“Leadership: act with conduct”.
João: Nice, it reminds me of something I have learned at Angry Ventures: follow principles. Thanks, Google.”
The end of this awkward dialogue.
Google reminded me I like principles for a simple reason: you own them. They are not external or even need approval from someone, like rules, and with all this in mind, I was able to do build my own definition of being responsible: behave with conduct according to your own principles, even though the after-effects may scare you.
The ego loves to emphasize the after-effects, and that makes you worried. I like to call this ego mechanism “the flinch” (a concept from the book The Flinch of Julien Smith).
Do you know that hesitation we experience before getting into a cold shower or before asking something to a stranger – “Should I do it? Should I not to it? I’ll do it next time…” – that’s the flinch.
Flinch makes us hesitate and lost a lot of good opportunities. It triggers our fears.
Can you get rid of it? I don´t know… but I know you can be conscious and act anyway because that fear isn’t real.
After some twirls on the wheel of “responsibility” I can leave you with two simple definitions:
1- What is not being responsible: complaining and making excuses
2- What is being responsible: act even you are afraid of failing.
I’m not a guy of quotes, but I’ll leave you with a very funny one by Cus D’ Amato, Mike Tyson’s coach: “The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear, projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs. It’s the same thing, fear, but it’s what you do with it that matters.”