Responsibility gives you power, and in this post I talk about the power of responsibility and how without it, we give-up control of our health and wellbeing.
- Why me?
- What did I do to deserve this?
- Why does this always happen to me?
- Life is so unfair.
- What’s the point?
- God, I’m useless.
- I just can’t do anything right.
- I’m pathetic.
We’ve all been there.
It just flows out of us.
An outpouring of self-pity that frequently ends in a tirade of self-abuse.
And even if it did feel right or even “good” in the moment, it never is.
In fact, it’s a bit of a double-whammy.
Not only does the self-deprecation leave a bitter taste in our mouth, the flood of self-pity literally bleeds us of our power.
Uncle Ben knows what’s up…
You’ve all likely heard this somewhere:
“With great power comes great responsibility.”
I know I’ve certainly quoted it on multiple occasions.
Like the teachings of a great philosopher, or the winning prose from a top-flight think-tank, it just sounds… right.
But you won’t find either responsible for this quote.
It was in fact good old uncle Ben that proffered these words of wisdom.
Well, technically it was likely David Koepp the screenwriter that distilled these words, but I prefer to think of good ol’ uncle Ben as being the source of wisdom here.
But I have no power!
If you’re sitting there grumbling “But I have no power!”, this is where things get interesting.
You just need to swap the two nouns around and like a treasure map, it reveals the hidden source of your power!
“With great responsibility comes great power!”
Now I don’t know who’s responsible for this transposition of nouns, but I first read it a while back in a Mark Manson article.
But whether it was Mark or some other clued-in genius, it’s now a keeper and staple in my short-list of quotes to dole-out on the IG and social media.
So let’s talk about the power of responsibility.
Remember earlier how I alluded to the self-deprecation and self-pity “bleeding” us of our power?
Well that’s because a victim mindset is focused on blame.
- What’s been done to them
- Who’s responsible for it
- Who’s to blame
But while you may not always be to blame for your situation, you are certainly always responsible for your situation.
Who else will put you first, if not yourself?
And by avoiding taking responsibility for your situation, and instead focusing your energy on the search for blame or fault, your power slowly bleeds away.
In my Co-Active coaching training with the CTI, we talk a lot about the power of holding responsibility.
In this context, we posit that a focus of attention on a world full of problems blinds us to the possibility of infinite opportunity.
And that preoccupation with blame and fault keeps us in a reactive state, instead of being response-able and proactive in our lives.
Respond-ability comes when you realize the gift of being able to respond. The “able” part of the response is your choice about being able to consciously interact with whatever is happening around you — in your personal world, in your family world, in your neighborhood, in a world that is however big or small you want to make it.Co-Active Training Institute
Bringing this back to health…
In our health and fitness journey, this starts with simple gratitude.
- Being truly grateful that we have the freedom and means to care for ourselves.
- That “working out” is a luxury; not a punishment or a chore.
The same is true of our health, weight and body composition.
No, you can’t change your race, sex, height, age, genetics and sometimes even environment. And these are all definitely factors that influence our overall health.
But it is your actions that perhaps play the largest role in the development or decay of modern illnesses.
Take the obesity epidemic. It is perhaps the clearest example of this.
The obesity epidemic is perhaps the clearest example of this. Our genes have not changed appreciably in the last 40 years, but during that time we’ve seen an explosion in the rates of obesity. This suggests that genetics are not the primary driver of obesity.Chris Kresser
What does becoming response-able for your health look like?
Well for starters, it looks like shifting your emphasis from I can’t to I can.
No, you can’t directly control the water quality.
Nor can you reduce or eliminate air pollution.
But there are certainly a great many things you CAN do.
- Reduce your intake of highly processed foods.
- Reduce your intake of refined sugar and eat more widely from whole food sources.
- Establish a schedule of regular exercise.
- Move more throughout the day.
- Reduce your intake of alcohol.
- Drink more water.
- Manage or mitigate sources of stress through daily mindfulness practices.
- Create a “wind-down” routine, getting to bed earlier and improving sleep quality.
These are all not only all within your grasp; they are your responsibility to address.
No one should care more about your health and wellbeing than you. And you should certainly not be ceding your power into the hands of others.
So uncle Ben was close, it seems, but not quite on the money.
I’ll be sticking with the new and improved version.
With great responsibility comes great power.
To your health!
Certainly a conversation costs nothing but a little of your time, and it might just change your life!