The New Year is here! Yes, it is here. I will be giving series of posts on how you can maximize your life going forward. This is the first in the series. A few days ago, i was privileged to give a talk at the Parliament of Uganda where I spoke on the topic, “Responsibility, Your Greatest Friend.” For purposes of this blog post, I have chosen to just approach it from the reverse side: “Irresponsibility, Your Greatest Enemy.” Put simply, irresponsibility is the quality of not showing a proper sense of responsibility (of a person, attitude, or action). It is important that you cross over to the next season of your life with a sharp sense of responsibility because the contrary is the greatest enemy of your progress in life.
10 Marks of Irresponsibility:
Below are some quick marks of an irresponsible person:
- Ignoring the possible results of our actions. Someone says, “What will happen? I will ignore these warnings and see…” Some 42 boys did not think about what the consequences of their actions were when they abused the pious Elijah (2 Kings 2:23-25). Before they finished their session of abuse, 2 bears came from the nearby bush and consumed all of them!
- Not feeling accountable for your actions or conduct. Some people ask, “Am I the first or the last to do this?” Others deny when they do something. Success favours those who say, “I did it and I know it; I simply accept to come clean.” If Ananias and Sapphira had followed this advice, they wouldn’t have lost their life (Acts 5:1-11).
- Not being answerable to anyone especially higher authority. I have often heard people say, “It’s my life. No one should ask me any question.” In the process of doing this, however, they become the age-old King Rehoboam who despised the elders’ advice and ended up dying young (1 Kings 12:8-14). Everyone is answerable to someone!
- Evading one’s obligation. Many people do not care about attending to their duty. For instance, I heard about a man who told his children, “My work was to produce you; now it is time for you to provide for yourselves.” One cannot become this reckless with life and expect to leave a positive legacy on earth.
- Doing what feels right, not what you know is right. We are in an era where feelings and emotions quite often override reasoning and rationality. But it is irresponsible to just be driven by feelings to do wrong even when the inner voice of conscience says something to the contrary. After getting pregnant out while still in high school, a girl told her infuriated mother, “He cried and I felt bad. I feared that he was going to commit suicide; so I felt for him and just gave him only once!”
- Doing nothing about what matters. Our life starts to lose meaning the day we keep quiet about what really matters in life. I often hear people say things like, “Someone else will do it.” As a result, stuff like corruption and littering public places have become epidemic in many regions of the world. The reflection is: if everyone in your country was like you, would there be development in your land? If everyone in your local church was like you, would there be a revival? Like queen Esther was told (4:14), “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance… will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
- Acting without thinking. This too is a mark of irresponsible living. We have been told to think twice before we leap, but many people leap twice before you think. That is why, for example, we have issues like irresponsible speaking in form of rumours and gossip. Many people act without thinking because of arrogance, having no boundaries, neglect, vanity, and aggressiveness, among others.
- Looking for excuses for not doing the right things. If doing the right thing is a bit uncomfortable, many people look for excuses. I have heard people say statements like, “This is (name of your country).” Others say, “You know, I am a woman.” What exactly does that mean? I have heard others run away with statements like, “I am still young” or “I don’t have capital.” That is irresponsible living or, as my departed friend Myles Munroe would put it, “lazy thinking”!
- Blaming other people and circumstances. Many blame the government (sometimes rightly so), their poor family, a bad dad, bad economy, among others. However, blaming makes no difference in one’ life. When things fell apart, Adam started to blame “the woman you gave me” (Genesis 3:12). Blaming may feel good but it is a disservice to the blamer, and a mark of irresponsibility.
- Being a prayer hermit, not warrior. For example, praying about something without doing what needs to be done is, to me, irresponsible faith! You hear a young man saying, “I have prayed about a woman to marry. I will now just wait upon God to bring her to me.” In such instances, often, God is also waiting upon the young man to simply get out of the prayer closet, and find his partner. Wives – just like husbands – do not fall from the sky like the Israelite manna!
SO WHY SHOULD WE EMBRACE RESPONSIBLE LIVING?
- You LOSE whatever you do not look after well. Your career, health, happiness, marriage and relationships follow responsibility. God Himself won’t give you more today until you manage what you already have today.
- Promotion comes from excellent management. For example, you may not get a better job until you learn to do your current one with excellence. “Whoever can be trusted with very little shall be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10).
- Irresponsibility means not answering to authority. Did you know that about 98% of employees do not work well at all when not supervised?
- You will regress (move backwards) in life until you become responsible. You lose your status, job, relationship or income, (or whatever it is you are mismanaging). You also move back to where you were e.g. a business owner becomes a worker in someone’s business; a married person goes back to being single.
WHAT DO WE DO?
Someone said, “Everything happens for a reason but sometimes the reason is that you are stupid and made a wrong decision.” Do not be such a person. From today, let us reverse the 10 marks of irresponsibility above:
- Always think about consequences. Mahatma Gandhi said, “It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.” You have freedom to make a choice but you do not have freedom to choose the consequences of your choice.
- Be accountable for your actions or conduct.
- Be answerable, not indispensable.
- Do not evade your obligation. Attend to your duty.
- Do what you know is right. Steve Maraboli said, “The right thing to do and the hard thing to do are usually the same.”
- Do something about what matters. Winston Churchill: “The price of greatness is responsibility.”
- Think before you act.
- Look for solutions, not excuses. Benjamin Franklin said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
- Be free from blame and take initiative for your development. George Bernard Shaw said, “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.”
- Being a prayer warrior, not hermit.
In conclusion, irresponsibility is an attitude, a choice… We can change it.
To your success,
“Inspiring transformational, exemplary and authentic leadership worldwide.”
Samuel A. Bakutana is Africa’s foremost Leadership, Business and Education Consultant; Motivational Key-note Speaker; and Personal Development Author of 8 books. He gave 98 invigorating talks in 2012, 164 in 2013 and has already given 184 inspiring presentations ever since the year begun (January to December 16, 2014). Follow Samuel A. Bakutana on: Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Samuel-A-Bakutana-Leadership-Expert-Motivational-Speaker-and-Author/563444270356475), Twitter (https://twitter.com/amutusam), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=250332707&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic), Skillpages (http://www.skillpages.com/samuel-a.bakutana) or blog (www.excellentleading.wordpress.com). To book him for your next event, send an email now to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +256782163416 for immediate feedback. You are blessed beyond measure; so fly like an eagle!