Posted by: Chris | 30/01/2012

If you want power you need to take over responsibility

Two of my readers have been bugging me for weeks now to write another post. I must admit, I sometimes wonder whether my thoughts are really so important that the world wants to read them. But anyway here we go – it is not original but something I probably intuitively knew all my life but then explicitly learned while taking a course a few years ago.

Take OwnershipIn a nutshell, it is like the title says or more specifically, don’t complain and consider yourself a victim, but rather take ownership of the situation and realize that if you take over responsibility you also have the power to change it.

During the course the teacher used the following two questions as examples:

“When you speak to somebody and they don’t understand you, how much of that misunderstanding would you attribute to yourself and how much to the other person?”

“When you listen to someone and you don’t understand what they’re saying, how much of that misunderstanding would you attribute to the other person and how much to yourself?”

Then we were asked to give our answer in percentages.

When you think about it, it comes down to the fact that it is 100% up to you to make yourself understood and to understand the other party. Once you realize this and take the responsibility for it, you also have the power to drive a conversation such that it becomes an effective two way communication.

You can apply this principle pretty much to all situations in life. Note to scientists: it doesn’t work to violate the laws of physics. 🙂

For example, if you feel your job does not give the kind of satisfaction you’re looking for, it is up to you to do something about it – this is no one else’s responsibility. Once you start doing something you’re the one in power and control.

I wonder what you think about this principle? Please let me know your experiences.



  1. hello Matthias, this is very timely advice at this time of year. It’s too easy to think “they never gave me a chance” when we need to think positively: “I’m going to make my own opportunities”. But then that can often require using your network, making links and getting out there. The quote at the top of your blog implies this, I think. Thanks for your thoughts. Peter

  2. HI Matthias,

    Its worth indeed to ponder over this issue, as it happens to each one, atleast once in a life time and its we and none other who can and must change the present situation, be it anywhere in personal life or work life has to take the ownership and responsibility for a practical change that has to happen. tahnks and Cheers…

  3. You obviously don’t spend time with women. I try to say as little as possible in order to minimize misunderstandings and take responsibility for what I do say. This quickly becomes a mess, you understand. I also listen and conclude that I do not get the point of having no specific point and why this pointless ranting seems to be so important for her.
    Humor aside, I do agree with you and would like to thank you for pointing out that taking ownership/responsibility puts us in a place to make a difference.

  4. totally approve

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: