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Daily Journal
April 27, 2023
#91-117 KDJ

Embrace your own personal responsibility

By Toby Moore

We’ve all been tempted to point fingers at others for the hurdles we face. Certain actions by people can indeed create stumbling blocks or impose devastating challenges on our path.

People can be dishonest, unreliable, gossipy, aggressive, violent and abusive. When we find ourselves at the receiving end of such behavior, we naturally hold the offender responsible for our setbacks. It’s not unreasonable to see someone’s actions as an obstacle in pursuing our goals and dreams.

Life doesn’t always deal us a fair hand either. Some of us are born with disabilities or face seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and it’s easy to let those circumstances dictate our aspirations and self-worth.

We’ve all encountered individuals who seem trapped, unable to reach their desired destination or accomplish their goals.

If you ask them why, they might say, “I can’t achieve what I want because I was abused as a child,” or “My parents never supported me, so I lack the confidence to succeed.”

Others might say, “I can’t progress because my boss doesn’t appreciate my hard work and constantly undermines me,” or “I’ve never had any good luck; I was born this way.”

These statements are the stories people tell themselves, the narratives shaping their mindset; some might even call them excuses. However, it’s essential to recognize that while we can’t always control our circumstances, playing the blame game is one of the most self-destructive things you can do.

By fixating on blaming people and circumstances for our problems and allowing external factors to dictate our lives, we are essentially giving up and throwing in the towel.

Helen Keller is an iconic figure in history who refused to let her circumstances dictate the course of her life. Born in Alabama in 1880, Helen lost her eyesight and hearing at 19 months old due to illness. In her era, such disabilities were often perceived as insurmountable barriers, leaving many individuals without the proper support or opportunities for personal growth and development.

With the help of her teacher and mentor, she learned to communicate, ultimately mastering reading, writing and speaking.

After completing her studies at the Cambridge School for Young Ladies, Helen pursued higher education at Radcliffe College, the women’s counterpart to Harvard University.

During her time at Radcliffe College, Helen faced many challenges, including a lack of textbooks in Braille and insufficient support for her unique needs. Much of the study material was inaccessible to her, with Helen learning through touch and her teachers using tactile sign language. Helen even learned to type on a braille typewriter, enabling her to complete essays and assignments.

Helen could have said, “I can’t do what I want; I’m disabled,” casting blame on her circumstances and disabilities, and nobody would have judged her for it. Instead, she focused on her dreams, dedicating long hours to study and exam preparation.

Through her perseverance and determination, Helen Keller achieved the unthinkable, graduating with honors from Radcliffe College in 1904 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. A groundbreaking accomplishment for the time and would still be so today. Helen was trailblazing and paving the way for those that would come after her.

Her life proves we can overcome adversity by refusing to blame our circumstances or others for our setbacks.

What happens when we attribute our failures to the faults of others and unfair circumstances? We surrender our power and resign ourselves to the role of a victim.

As Dr. Robert Anthony wisely said, “When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”

Embracing personal responsibility is essential for success, as it empowers us to own our lives and break free from blaming others.

Casting blame places us in a situation where we can no longer control our lives. We become passive bystanders, merely reacting to the circumstances around us, living a life of unfulfilled potential.

She never allowed circumstances to limit her vision for her future simply by refusing to be a passive bystander in her life. She took ownership.

With so many opportunities available to you as a modern American, what amazing things will you decide to accomplish? Whatever your situation, the truth is that the power to achieve your dreams is within your reach.

Toby Moore is a columnist, star of the Emmy-nominated film “A Separate Peace,” and CEO of CubeStream Inc. He resides in Bourbonnais and can be reached through the Daily Journal at editors@daily-journal.com.

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