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6 Types of "Response-Ability"

The 33rd President of the United States, Mr Harry Truman, popularized the phrase, “”The buck stops here” which was meant to indicate that he will accept the full personal responsibility on how the county was governed. Responsibility is our ability to respond to a given situation. In the work that we do at the various stations of life, we should remind ourselves that we can share, delegate and even assign responsibilities but the ultimate responsibility for results lies with us and cannot be given away. As Stephen Covey puts it, “Response-ability is the ability to choose our response to any circumstance or situation”.

For many of us, at some point in life, we will be place in situations where we are either trapped between the devil or deep blue sea. In cases like these we may feel trapped, hopeless and helpless. We may not even have the resources under our control to solve the situation.

Under such situations, few people like John Maxwell reminds us that we may have a few choices available to make:

  1. Cop-outs:These people set no goals and make no decisions.\
  2. Hold-outs:These people have beautiful dreams, but they are afraid to respond to challenges because they lack the self-confidence to overcome difficulties.
  3. Drop-outs: These people start off in the beginning working hard to make their dreams come true. However, when the going gets tough, they quit.
  4. All-outs:These are the stars. They want to shine as an inspiration to others. Once all-outs have set their goals, they never quit. Even when the price gets high and the challenges mount, they are dedicated. Their ‘can-do’ attitude carries them to greatness.

I have reflected on this and have found at least two more possible choices.

  1. Try-outs:These people keep trying out different goals and dreams because they are not sure what they really want. They often live in accordance with the social mirror and live their life based on other people’s rules. They frequently feel frustrated, dissatisfied and unfulfilled.
  2. Stand-out: These people, like the all-outs are geared for success. However for the stand-outs they are mindful that excellence is a lifestyle, excellence is a mindset. More than the results that they are focused on, they are also mindful on how they can add-value to the society.

As we start a new week, let us ask this of ourselves, “Who do we choose to be today?” Let us decide to be the difference by making the difference!