You are responsible for your own life. It’s not really a choice. It’s simply the way things are. The choice comes in the degree to which you accept, value and act in accordance with that responsibility. The quality of your life depends on your willingness to exercise your responsibility in appropriate and successful ways. Your own success and fulfillment depend on your ability to respond to the challenges and opportunities of each moment. If your responsibility is weak, you’ll be tossed around by circumstances. When you have a strong sense of responsibility, you’ll find a way to make all those circumstances line up in your favor.

The strength of your ability to respond is determined by your willingness to accept and control it, and by the direction you have set for your life. When you know where you’re going and what you want, you’re much more likely to turn everything that comes your way to your advantage. So a fundamental aspect of responsibility is responsibility for your own purpose and direction. Ask yourself why you want the things you think you want. Keep digging until you reach your innermost motivations. Be responsible to your own purpose and the strength of your responsibility will grow.

Responsibility is strengthened by living with the perspective that things do not happen to you, things happen through you. Implicit in this perspective is the concept that everything in your world is your responsibility. But is  that really fair or justified? Well, that question misses the point. It doesn’t matter whether it is fair. And by the way, it most certainly is not. What matters is that it works better than any alternative.

If a meteorite comes hurtling through the atmosphere and smashes into your garage, is that your fault? No, of course not. Is it fair? No. Is it your responsibility? Yes, absolutely. You’re the one called upon to respond. You’re the one who needs to make sure that your family gets out of the burning house after the smoldering chunk of rock from outer space catches it on fire. You’re the one who needs to figure out how to turn this destructive event into something positive. Would you be better off sitting in your burning house and looking for someone to blame? Absolutely not.

Life is definitely not fair, and you are probably not to blame for your current situation. However, you are completely responsible for your circumstances. You are the one who is obligated to respond to those circumstances in the most positive and appropriate manner.

Think for a moment about who you are and what you can do. You are creative, intelligent, flexible and effective. You have the incredible ability to adapt to changing situations. You’re intimately familiar with your own situation. You know where you are and you know where you would like to be, and can take the precise, specific actions which will get you there. When you consider all these things, it becomes readily apparent that you are the person best suited and best equipped to take responsibility for your own life. Furthermore, the stronger your sense of responsibility, the more success you’ll have in reaching your goals.

Responsibility is power. Responsibility is control. When you decide you are responsible for some particular thing, then whatever it is stops controlling you and you begin to control it. So many people think of themselves as victims of circumstance. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think your troubles are due to your circumstances, then they are indeed. Yet once you accept responsibility for your own circumstances, the picture changes completely. Suddenly you are master of your own fate. You’re able to take action, able to respond. In a word, you’re responsible. You can make the circumstances work in your favor. You may have had nothing to do with creating those circumstances in the first place. Still, your best strategy is to be responsible for them anyway.

It’s an open secret known by successful people everywhere — responsibility and success go hand in hand. The bigger the scope of your responsibility, the more success you’ll enjoy.