Does Personal Responsibility Play A Role In Persuasion?
Posted Nov 16 2008 11:55pm
Does having a sense of personal responsibility for where you, who you are with, what you do and how things turn out play a meaningful role in the art of persuasion? Undoubtedly. When you are persuasive, the moment is yours. That response ability is the positive payoff for being an avid learner in the course of your life.
When you are response able, from the moment you make contact with people, you know what you want, you go for what you want, and want what you get. You learn from your experience. So when life poses questions, you are ready to seek out answers. You deal appropriately with changing circumstances because, rather than being haunted and hounded by your past, you are informed by it. Whatever happens, if you are there, you assume it is meant for you. You make changes in yourself as a way of making changes in the world. When you are responsible in life, you don’t have much fear of mistakes. Instead, you know you will screw up on occasion, because so much can’t be known ahead of time. And when you do screw up, you will be grateful for whatever you can learn from it, because you know that’s how you learn. You trust that mistakes, whether yours or someone else’s, can always teach something worthwhile. And when things don’t go as planned, when misunderstandings occur, as a responsible person you are quick to own the part you play in them, your reaction to them, and take any opportunity you find to make corrections. You know you are stronger for every mistake you’ve made, and you are eager to put these lessons to good use at any opportunity. The result is that the people around you feel safer to not know, safer to try, safer to discover what works. And when they don’t know what to do, they know they can count on you.
That’s why, when you are response-able, that you seem unruffled when people act out. You can respond instead of react to unexpected behavior and events. To others, it may seem as if you knew the unexpected would happen. That isn’t nearly as difficult as others think. You notice what is happening, connect yourself to it instead of fighting it or withdrawing from it, then find a way to learn from it, leverage it or leave it behind. When you’re in charge of yourself, you know this is your choice. You realize that your greatest leverage in life is your response to what the moment brings.
If you want to, you can increase your sense of ownership over this moment by connecting your previous choices to previous and current consequences. Your past is the ideal learning environment for testing what you are learning in the present, and to practice what you are learning as preparation for the future. The key question to ask yourself when looking back at past challenges is, “What do I know now, that I didn’t know then? How would knowing it then have gotten different results?”
You can use this approach to clean up a lot of old business with people. The more of your life you resolve, the less of it you carry around. When you are no longer carrying around unresolved pieces of your past, there is more of you available to take ownership over this moment right now. Cleaning up the past is a powerful key to better results with people in the present. Taking charge of yourself takes you beyond reactions to others, so that you can be responsive to them instead. This means that whatever is happening in a realtionship, you have confidence that your choices will influence how things turn out.
Responsibility includes flexibility, and flexibility comes from increasing your options. The more you know about how to deal with things, the more likely you are to know what to do when faced with the unexpected moment. Responsibility isn’t about blaming, it’s about choosing. The person in charge of themselves associates tomorrow’s consequences with today’s choices, and today’s consequences to yesterday’s choices.
To increase your sense of ownership over the moments in your life, try this. Before entering a room, ask yourself what you want from yourself once you’re inside. Before starting a conversation, ask yourself what you want to have happen by the end. Start organizing yourself at the beginning of whatever you do with the end in mind. Responsibility means having the ability to respond. You get there by starting with what got you here.
How have you owned up to your past? Do you know now that you are responsible for how your life turns out? I’m interested in hearing your comments about what you’ve learned from your past that empowers you in the present.