Extraordinary People Take Responsibility

By: Robert White Friday December 12, 2014 comments

Number Three of The Eight Power Principles 

for Extraordinary Success

The movie Forrest Gump begins and ends with Forrest, a man of limited measurable intelligence and unlimited wisdom …… wondering aloud about whether our lives turn out they way they do through our choices or is it fate?  His conclusion, of course is “a little of both” as famously captured in his Mother’s oft repeated “life is just a box of chocolates.”

 Author Simone Weil says that ““Liberty, taking the word in its concrete sense, consists in the ability to choose.”

 Does freedom of choice really exist?  Are we really the authors of our own lives?  Or is choice an illusion?  Maybe we only seem to choose what to do and where to go.  Maybe in reality our actions, our feelings, and even our thoughts are controlled by circumstances, one event leading to the next mechanically, like a line of dominos. 

 There are eloquent philosophical arguments for free will, and equally eloquent arguments for determinism, for fate.  What might be a lot more useful than philosophy is to ask yourself: if there were two ways of approaching your life, which one will maximize your feelings of personal power, autonomy, freedom, enthusiasm, and self worth? 

 One is living as though you have the power to choose what happens in your life – taking responsibility for your life. Another is living as though you have no choice, as though you are just a victim, a pawn in somebody else’s game. 

 How you answer this question will have a powerful impact on your moment-to-moment experience of life—right now.

 Several people have asked about my revisions for the third edition of “Living an Extraordinary Life.”  The primary area where I expanded and focused the book was this one – the power inherent in taking responsibility for your life.  You can get your signed copy at:


 Read on to the Extraordinary Living Action Steps for some ways of being and doing practiced by every super successful person I know.  How’s that for a teaser?

Extraordinary Living Action Steps – Take Responsibility

  1. If you operate as if you have choice (the position taken by extraordinary people), you automatically increase your sense of empowerment, of control over your own destiny, of integrity and self-esteem.  If you operate as if you are a victim of circumstances, or destiny, or fate, or your genetic programming, you automatically increase your sense of weakness, helplessness, powerlessness, and your sense of being out of control.  
  1. Choice is an essential component of responsibility. Being a victim and assigning blame is the flip side.  When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce.  You look for reasons it is not doing well.  It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun.  You never blame the lettuce.  Yet if we have problems with our friends or family or colleagues, we tend to blame the other person.  Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to make yourself right using reason and argument.
  1. If you take personal responsibility and choose to understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.

British playwright and practical philosopher George Bernard Shaw said that

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in the world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and if they can't find them, make them.”

It’s a liberating and powerful idea to take full responsibility for your experience of your life.


If you're interested in learning all 8 of my power principles, I encourage you to download my FREE copy of Extraordinary People's Extraordinary Leadership: 8 Power Principles.  It's an incredibly powerful eBook with numerous lessons that can be immediately applied to both personal and professional situations.  I have all of my Denver executive coaching clients read it because I believe in the teachings it provides.


Robert White

About the Author: Robert White

Robert White is a Speaker, Author, Leadership Trainer and Executive Mentor who teaches the art and science of mastering executive challenges. He specializes in integrating a heart centered, result-oriented and transformational leadership approach to being effective. His experience includes founding and leading companies doing high-impact experiential learning events with over one million graduates.

Robert’s culture change work has been praised by corporations like JPMorganChase, Progressive Insurance, Duke Energy and The American Cancer Society.

Additionally top business experts and authors Ken Blanchard, Jimmy Calano, Kathy Gardarian, and Robert Wright, plus thousands of training and mentoring clients, have endorsed his professional knowledge and skills.

Robert authored the best-seller “Living an Extraordinary Life” available in English and Mandarin. He is a contributing author to “Being Fuller” a compilation from students of Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller and “One World, One People,” a photo journal of mankind’s journey to oneness.

Today you’ll find him speaking at conferences, hosting masterminds, mentoring today’s emerging business leaders and teaching everything he knows about fostering entrepreneurial success and building an entrepreneurial mindset in established, growth-oriented companies.

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