Who is in charge of our lives?

Sujendra Prakash
5 min readNov 29, 2021
Who is in charge of our lives? Baby held in hand!

Ten Pointers to own up Responsibility

Are you the one who is leading your life?

Do you think someone else is making you do what you are doing?

Whatever we do someone will say we were wrong!

Will this change when we succeed in what we do?

The moment you succeed in one thing, they tell you that you should have done something better or discourage you!

Let us say, you passed the exams scoring an ‘A’ grade. People around you tell you that you should have scored an ‘A+’. In case you get an ‘A+’, they tell you that you should get through the entrance tests and that they are not easy.

If you get a well-paying job, they tell you how stressful the job could become and how you are not ready yet to face the challenges.
If you buy a car, people around you keep telling you what the car lacks and never listen to what you say.

It is these things that fill up our consciousness and make us feel that we did something wrong. Sometimes we feel that whatever we do, we don’t know how to do it right.

This undermines our self-perception and we start accumulating more such instances to substantiate what we think about ourselves. This may lead to depression in some people whereas in others it may lead to laziness and procrastination. Altogether, there is distress in everyone.

The solution to this problem lies in making yourself responsible for your happiness.

Adopt one or more of the following pointers.

1. Expect criticism

They are indicating what is wrong because they want you to excel in it. In addition, they feel that your success might make you over-confident. They are afraid that you may think you are better than them and they don’t want that to happen.

When someone criticizes you, listen to them. Try to be as objective as possible in evaluating their criticism. If the intention is to help you do better, then see what changes you can bring in your approach, strategy, or action.

2. Go with the majority

Out of a hundred people, if even one person around you denies your achievements, you tend to fill your consciousness with that response only. You remember, perceive, feel, and think only about it and ignore all the other encouragement. All your efforts become focused on how to please that one person, and in that preoccupation, you tend to forget the others who come to help you.

Don’t ignore those who say a few good words about you or your achievements. Take the congratulations with a smile and enjoy the moment. If possible, reward yourself with something simple. Whenever you receive something that you don’t like, think of all the likes you have received.

3. Evaluate responses

Learn to evaluate the responses you get and see if they have merit. Some suggestions that help you improve can be tried and adopted whereas those that are thrown at you because of spite or jealousy can be discarded.

People often tell you not to make judgments mainly because you may not know how to judge objectively. As you use your emotions while making a judgment, such judgments carry your beliefs, biases, prejudices, and stereotypes. Once you learn how to make judgments devoid of these aspects, you become highly empowered.

4. Stop comparison

You must understand that you are always compared with people who are better than you. The moment you accept such comparisons, you tend to undermine your abilities. The other person starts dictating how you should live and you are no longer in charge of your life.

The same principle of “going with the majority” holds good here, too. A comparison should be done with everyone and not merely against the highest achiever. When anyone compares you with someone else, understand that they only want you to be better in your performance.

5. Wait it out

Do not be in a hurry to receive praises and compliments. The more you expect them, the greater you will face disappointments. It does not matter if everyone likes what you do. Wait for someone with the same mindset so that you can receive constructive criticisms.

Not everyone who judges you is qualified or experienced to make such remarks. When you listen to everybody, you have a greater chance of being misled. Decide whether to take the criticism or not after acquiring some knowledge about the other party.

6. Own up mistakes

Do not try to defend yourself when you make mistakes. Mistakes and misunderstandings are part and parcel of life. No one is perfect and perfection is only an ideal. Instead of aiming for perfection, try and see how you can correct those mistakes.

Before that, make sure that the mistakes are genuine. Just because someone says it is a mistake doesn’t mean that it is true. Test it and validate it with someone you trust and then make amends.

7. Learn to justify

Do not meekly accept whatever someone else says. You must learn to question and challenge them. Whenever you suspect their motive, be assertive in your approach. Pleasing them is not that important.

Sometimes the objections and reproof you receive may be flimsy. As soon as you recognize them, make it a point to justify your actions or thoughts. More often the others may not be aware of your objective or approach. In such a case, you should be able to put forth your ideas clearly so that the other party can understand you.

8. Take suggestions

If someone is honestly giving feedback, then accept it openly. Ask them for suggestions about where you can improve. Do not expect approval from them. Rather allow them to be blunt with you so that they can contribute to your learning.

Be open-minded. Not everyone who criticizes you is against you. They may be harsh in telling you to change. Try to look beyond that and you might receive credible feedback that may be beneficial to you.

9. Make your own decisions

Take suggestions from others but the decisions must be made by you. When you decide, you will have ownership, a feeling of achievement, and satisfaction of fulfillment.

While making decisions, be as objective as you can. Bringing in emotions during the decision-making process may lead to untoward consequences. Your decisions must be able to solve problems rather than create more problems.

10. Be interdependent

With a ‘Don’t Care’ attitude you will reach nowhere. Receive scolding from loved ones with a sense of gratitude. Do not give too much credence when strangers praise you. Nevertheless, be interdependent rather than either being dependent or independent.

There must be a give-and-take relationship. Whenever you underestimate others’ achievements you are bound to receive the same from others. Make sure you communicate that your evaluation is not arbitrary so that it leads to mutual benefits.

Following are the 10 Pointers to own up responsibility

1. Expect criticism

2. Go with the majority

3. Evaluate responses

4. Stop comparison

5. Wait it out

6. Own up mistakes

7. Learn to justify

8. Take suggestions

9. Make your own decisions

10. Be interdependent

Let not someone else dictate terms as to how you should live if you know that you are not breaking any rules. Always welcome criticisms but don’t take them literally. Be wary of people who are unnecessarily nice to you.

This way, you can take back your life to live on your terms.

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Sujendra Prakash
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Formerly Professor & HOD of Department of Psychology; Ph.D. (Faculty of Science - Psychology). Over 39 Years of Experience in Teaching, Training, & Consultation