Many people enjoy being victims and evading responsibility for their lives, but I've found it to be very empowering to take the opposite approach: everything is my fault.

Derek Sivers writes about his experience with the philosophy of responsibility:

But to decide it's your fault feels amazing! Now you weren't wronged. They were just playing their part in the situation you created. They're just delivering the punch-line to the joke you set up.

What power! Now you're like a new super-hero, just discovering your strength. Now you're the powerful person that made things happen, made a mistake, and can learn from it. Now you're in control and there's nothing to complain about.

This philosophy feels so good that I've playfully decided to apply this "EVERYTHING IS MY FAULT" rule to the rest of my life.

It's one of those base rules like "people mean well" that's more fun to believe, and have a few exceptions, than to not believe at all.

  • The guy that stole $9000 from me? My fault. I should have verified his claims.
  • The love of my life that dumped me out of the blue (by email!) after 6 years? My fault. I let our relationship plateau.
  • Someone was rude to me today? My fault. I could have lightened their mood beforehand.
  • Don't like my government? My fault. I could get involved and change the world.

Of course, the flip side to this philosophy is arrogance, because you aren't really responsible for everything. Still, I'd rather start with the assumption that I am responsible than to immediately look for someone else to blame. Being responsible means that you can change the situation, you're an active player, you're a wolf among sheep, you're alive.

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