David Strittmatter

Hold yourself accountable for everything happening to you

Move into the driver seat of your life’s journey

Dear Friend,

Countless times I have read/heard this statement in personal development books, videos, personalities: You should take responsibility for everything that happens to you in your life. And the reasons for it: If you hold yourself accountable for everything in your life, you are in the position in which you have the most control and power about everything what happens to you. It puts you at choice and that allows you to choose how to respond to life’s challenges. You move into the driver seat of your life’s journey.

From the day I read this, my belief that this mindset is so crucial for a happy life has become stronger and stronger. It has been a major part of the way which made me the person I am today. Whenever I was in a situation in which I was not satisfied with the status quo I remembered that I was responsible for changing it and that I am the only person who can be held accountable.

It is a very harsh way to deal with life, in particular when something bad occurs in your life. However, adopting this mindset can help you to make the best out of even the worst situations. Once I posted on my Instagram page (my personal development page @ImprovementMentality) that we all take responsibility for everything in life and wrote a short text why we should do it. But then there was a follower of my page who argued that this is bullshit. He said that you cannot be responsible for everything and that you do not have the power and control to change it. This guy had lost his brother recently and his dad had committed suicide few years before he commented my post. This made me thinking a lot. At first I was like: “He is so right! There are so many things out of our control! What would I think if I was in the same situation he was?” But after contemplating a bit of time I concluded something different and answered his comment.

Yes, you cannot control everything in your life and yes, you do not have unlimited power just because you tell yourself that you have. Cruel things can happen to all of us, at any time, even then when we do expect it the least. But, this does not mean that you should not take responsibility in this situation. You are the creator of your life. You alone can decide how you want to deal with every kind of situation. You are the only person who has the power to change your view at even the worst situations.

I was very sorry for this guy who lost his brother and father. And I appreciated his comment and that he shared his experience with me a lot. Yet, I could not refrain to ask him the following: “If you think that you are not responsible for your current situation, who is responsible for how you deal with it and carry on with your life?” And everything that followed was blaming others (nurses, psychologists, doctors, other family members, …). Eventually, the only thing I responded was that I did not want to offend him and (again) that I am really sorry for everything what happened to him.

Little site note: The reason why I aborted the discussion was not that I could not find the right arguments to deal with his, but I think on Instagram (and generally) you should/cannot convince others from your point of view just with written arguments when the discussion is so emotionally loaded.

Today I am even more convinced that this person should take full responsibility for what happened to him. He is the creator of his life and holding oneself accountable for it means control and power over his life. Again: Yes, you cannot control everything in your life and yes, you do not have unlimited power just because you tell yourself that you have. But: When you take full responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, words and actions, you take responsibility for your life and move into the driver seat of your life’s journey.

And yes of course, you cannot make your family members alive again. But you can make yourself responsible for making the best out of the time you have left for other family members. And you cannot bring your girl/boyfriend back if they suddenly die. But you can hold yourself accountable for making the best out of the situation (help her/his friends and family to cope with the situation, prepare an honorable funeral, pay tribute to their memory, …). You are not doing anything better when you blame others for the situation. When you stop blaming and accept responsibility, you shift from victim to victor. Then you can look at the situation and decide what to do about it.

This week I was in my home town and met someone from my childhood. We talked about how our lives are going (friends, job, health, family…) and this guy is the reason why I am writing about this subject today. He blamed everyone but himself for everything bad that has happened to him in the last few days. It was crazy. Whether it was his girlfriend that left him or the job that makes him unhappy or his circle of close friends that only take advantage of him. He always blamed someone else. If this guy held himself 100% accountable for his life and took immediate action, his situation would significantly change in the next few months/years, I am sure.

I very much hope that you can follow my thoughts and reasoning. It would be a pity if this message does not come across properly and therefore you won’t have access to it, because this learning, which I have again and again in my life, has been of such great value to me. Furthermore, I am aware that some of you may not agree. I can definitely understand that. Fortunately, I have not yet had a particularly tragic event in my life, which is why I can afford this mindset.

This was the last week’s post. I hope you can learn something from these learnings, too. 

All the best to you and yours,


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