As naive as most children are, we used to play a game. It’s called “do the most outrageous shit possible while not getting caught”. That’s not a real game but you get the idea. If you do get caught, blame someone else.
What most adults tell us is that the reason we shouldn’t do something is that we might get caught. We constantly look for the easy way out. Someone else to blame. Sure enough, there is always someone to blame to some degree or another, regardless of the actions or accidents.
If you do well it’s your hard work but if you fail it’s the teacher’s fault cos they didn’t teach properly. And this blame game never stops. Even in jobs, if you perform poorly, the manager is blamed for not being able to extract the most out of you.And we perform poorly cos we don’t care about the job. You’re just doing what the boss says. And if something goes wrong it’s his fault, not yours. We only take responsibility when it’s the last resort. Nobody confesses in the first interrogation. Watch any crime movie ever.
The idea of ownership of one’s self, actions, choices, and ultimately one’s life was something I first came across when I was reading Extreme ownership by Jocko Willink.
But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made to me. How essential complete ownership is to be successful at anything you do.
How do you treat your car vs a rental? Nobody gives a shit about a rental.It’s still a car. It’s something you use. But the moment it’s yours, you start to care for it. Worry if it’s out in the Sun. Or if it’s dirty. But if it’s a rental then nobody cares.
Look at students. There are kinds. Those who study cos they want to. Then there are those who study cos they have to. Their parents paid for it.If they don’t, they will be subjected to ridicule and embarrassment. So they put the minimum effort. And hope to get by. Those who are there cos they want to put an effort to learn. The choice to be there was theirs. They have taken ownership of their decision and the outcome. And that leads to success.
What makes a successful person different from a normal 9 to 5 employee? The successful person cares about the job. Takes ownership of the outcome. A normal employee just does what the boss says. The Bare minimum to just stay out of trouble during appraisal season. They hate their jobs because they don’t care about it.
The same goes for Life. Most of us play it safe. Most of us just react to others, and let others dictate the terms. We adjust and move according to the wishes of others.When things go wrong, we blame others and have a million excuses for what went wrong. We don’t own our life and we definitely don’t own our mistakes. We play the defensive game when we know the matches are won by being on the offense. If we take complete ownership of our lives then no one else can be the boss.No one else can dictate the terms.
I’m a big fan of the Joe Rogan podcast and recently Guy Ritchie was on it. He talked about ownership giving an example of the modern suit. And I think it’s the perfect metaphor for life. Sums up everything I was trying to say.