keep-calm-and-take-the-responsibility-270x300Hey there Rainmaker, let’s talk head game.

As much as it’s fun to uncover new tactics and strategies for your marketing and business-building, there’s something incredibly important you need to know.

If you don’t have your head in the right place, it doesn’t matter if I hand you a million-dollar payday on a silver platter — you won’t know what you need to do to pick it up.

Today’s head game is about the words you use — and what they mean.

As much as I didn’t intend it to be the case in starting Breakthrough Marketing Secrets, the majority of my readers are copywriters.  And even those who I know who self-identify as business owners, or other, also end up writing a lot of their own copy.

So if you’re reading, there’s a good bet you spend at least some significant portion of your day thinking about words.

For that reason, I think you’re going to be really interested in hearing this…

There’s a specific way you use words that can actually keep success forever at arm’s length — or that you can use to reach out and grab it, faster than it seems should be possible.

And I’ve been thinking a lot about these words recently, because of my kids.

Especially my oldest, Dominic, who is now in first grade.

Anyone who has raised kids (plural) before (or who had siblings growing up) knows that with kids, fighting and nagging and disagreeing and whining are a constant fact of life.

So it should come as no surprise that my kids do the same.  Especially the two boys — 6 and 4.  Our daughter, Ramie, still not 2, is just starting to carve out her space in the world, so isn’t a fighter yet.  Though she definitely holds her own against her two big brothers.

Anyway, I’m not so much talking about the fighting here, as what comes after.

Dominic and Oscar will be playing together.  Then, something will happen.  A toy will get taken.  They’ll run into each other.  Anything.  Normal kid stuff.

Then suddenly…  The escalation!

In a moment, happy play turns into a scuffle, and everybody’s feelings are hurt (if not a body part!).

Dominic, being the oldest and most sophisticated thinker (and also the stereotypical rule-follower) immediately finds a way to point out what Oscar was doing wrong.

Blame is immediately cast.  And what should have been a simple moment to cool down turns into an attempt to get each other into trouble.

This blame is completely natural for kids, but I feel one of my most important duties as a parent is to help my kids grow past it

As kids, we don’t have much of a conception of how the world works.  It feels like the whole world is happening to us.  And no matter what we do, it’s hard to see our own input into the situation, much less our contribution to any negative outcome.

That’s why what I’ve just described above is a universal childhood experience.

Kids get into fights.  And immediately, start casting blame.  Never holding the mirror up to see what responsibility they need to take for the situation.

Emotional, psychological, and social growth comes when you can step back from yourself, and see what you’re doing to contribute to a bad situation…

Unfortunately, far too many people go to their graves blaming the world for all their problems.

And when they go looking, there’s an abundance of evidence to confirm their bias that they are not to blame.  That the situation they’re in is the cause of all that ails them.

(In fact, psychologists have a term for this: confirmation bias.  No matter the scenario, we tend to seek out evidence that confirms our assumptions, and ignore evidence to the contrary.)

Here’s the thing…

Here’s what I’m trying to instill in Dominic, and will instill in all my kids as they reach the appropriate age…

YES, there are things outside of you that contribute to both the good and bad things in your life.

For example, I’m incredibly privileged to be born white, male, and middle class in the US.  My life has undoubtedly been much easier than so many others as a result of this.

There are others who have been born into far worse circumstances than I have.  And to ignore my background and lot in life is just ignorant.  However…

It’s how you react to your situation that matters more than the situation itself…

The most powerful thing you can do in life is take responsibility for making the best of whatever situation you’re in.

I know folks who’ve been born into a better, more privileged lot in life than me…  And squandered it with bad decisions and irresponsibility, leading to drug addiction, a horrible financial situation, and struggling to get through a life that “should” have been easy if it were only the situation that matters.

I also personally know a family that lived through the communist takeover of Cuba — including being subject to violence, theft, and torture at the hands of Castro’s thugs.  Who endured great hardship of many kinds to move their family out of that situation.  And who created amazing lives for themselves, in spite of a situation that “should” have prevented it.

The difference was a choice…  A choice to take responsibility for shaping their life.

Here’s what I’m trying to teach my kids about this…

When you blame the situation (or your brother), you’re giving away all your power to control your destiny.  When you take responsibility, you’re taking back your power to shape your life.

This isn’t some woo-woo mumbo-jumbo.  It’s critically important.

YES, there will be things that happen to you, that are outside of your control today.  Your genetics are one.  Some diseases.  I’m struggling to find a lot more…

Almost anything else can be changed, if you make it a point to change it.

Don’t like where you live?  Feel like it’s holding you back?  You can move.  It won’t necessarily be easy.  But if you feel like your community or your neighborhood is a deterrent to your success, you have a choice in that.

Don’t like who you’re around?  It’s been said that where you’ll be in 5 years is a direct result of the 5 people who you surround yourself with.  You can change that.  Yes, this can be incredibly difficult, even painful.  Both in lessening old ties, and forming new ones.

You can make these choices consciously.  Or at least recognize that by not choosing, you are choosing.

The most important thing you can recognize is what you’re contributing to your situation, and what you can change to make it yield better results…

When my kids fight, I work very hard to give them perspective.

Yes, he’s whining and he’s not supposed to, and yelling at you.  And you were instigating, irritating him to try to get him to react that way.

Yes, he hit you with that light saber.  And you chose to have a light saber fight with him.  Even if you try not to hit each other, light saber fights often end up with someone getting hit.

Yes, he took that toy from you.  And that’s the same toy you took from him five minutes ago.  He just didn’t notice until now.

The situations are as endless as the days are long.

And the same thing for you, for your life.

In nearly every situation, you can choose where to attribute cause.

You can choose to say that the world is causing both good and bad things to happen to you.  Or you can take responsibility for where you are and what you’re doing, and how in doing that, you put yourself in a situation for either good or bad to happen.

You have so much power when you choose to at least recognize that the reason for the good and bad things in your life are BOTH the situation AND how you’re contributing to it.  And take responsibility for changing what you can.

For this, it’s worth remembering the serenity prayer (no matter what religion you are, including none)…

God, give me grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.

Have a great weekend.

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets