Re: Being Totally Responsible LO3934

Willard Jule (
29 Nov 95 11:38:42 EST

Replying to LO3832 --

Gary Scherling wrote,

"As a victim, you can't accept responsibility for what happened to you.
You do have to accept responsibility for how you respond to it. But if
everyone took responsibility for their actions, there probably wouldn't be
many people who would beat up, rape or kill other people.

The other missing element that would need to be in place is a proper sense
of morality (western morality that says hurting or killing anyone else is

It seems to me that every adult is responsible for the results they get in
their lives. They may not choose to consciously accept this
responsibility in which case they will live as victims. When they become
consciously aware that they are responsible and accept that
responsibility, they are able to move from being victims to being

This doesn't imply that they are responsible when stuff happens like being
mugged, robbed, raped. That is, they are not responsible in the sense of
having created that result. However, as Gary said, they are responsible
for how they choose to respond to that stuff happening. When people
become aware that they can choose their response, even to horribly painful
situations, they gain a tremendous sense of control in their lives.

Another side of the responsibility concept is that I believe we are
responsible for our actions and the natural consequences of our actions,
but we are not responsible for how someone else chooses to respond to
those actions and consequences. To close the communication loop, we are
responsible for how we respond to the other person's response. Of course,
those of you who are familiar with Senge's book will recognize this as the
vicious or virtuous cycle of communication.

I have had conversations with a lot of people on this topic. Most people
believe that their actions can hurt another person psychologically. They
have a great deal of difficulty accepting that they are not resposible for
the other person's choice of response. In my view, it is very arrogant to
believe that we have that kind of power over another person.
Unfortuantely, this attitude gets reinforced when people choose victim
behavior rather than creator behavior.

You will notice that I am predicating the above thoughts on people who are
adults. I haven't wrestled with the issue for children. I think that
children are more susceptible to being molded by other people's actions
and may not have the tools to "choose" healthy responses.

All of this leads to the thought that people who grew up in victim
"creating" environments (lots of us did) then took this victim mindset
into corporations and created systems that perpetuate the victim
mentality. That is why I believe that one fo the most effective things we
can do in organizations is learn how to create systems that enable people
to move from dependency to a psychological sense of independent capability
which then makes it possible for them to function effectively in the
interdependent reality called life.

Willard Jule