How to take responsibility for your life

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In a chapter from Sh*tty Places & Selfish People: 7 Rules of Engagement, a book on how to actualize your aspirations for happiness and success, author Cliff Eala outlines the steps for taking responsibility for your life.

“Finding a better version of yourself starts with this rule. You’ve got to take the step; no one can ever take it for you,” he said during the online book launch on September 24.

Taking responsibility for your life is guided by two precepts: finding meaning by pursuing your full potential in the context of your values and circumstances; and fostering relationships by making a difference for the good of people you.

Both precepts, noted Mr. Eala, are propelled by the need to go beyond yourself. “We are born into selfishness, but we find completion in others,” he said.

These precepts can be fully realized by following these four steps, as explained by the author.

1. Visualize your better future self.

Start by imagining the potential outcomes that could be part of being a better version of yourself. Factor in your strengths and interests. Identify the market need that will be served to ensure financial stability. Rank them according to your hierarchy of values to pinpoint priorities and trade-offs, if necessary.

List these outcomes and use them as the basis for creating a vision board. Beside it, place a complementary “Status Quo” vision board that paints a picture of yourself 20 years in the future if no improvement takes place. “My hope is that the ‘Status’ board will show what the frustrations will turn out to be, and that will jolt you to realizing that you need to get up and move,” said Mr. Eala.

2. Assess.

Assess the gap between your “Better Future Self” vision board and your current position. This will show you how much work you need to do in order to make that vision board a reality.

3. Plan.

Jumpstart the work by listing down and mapping out specific steps that need to be taken. This includes identifying skills that have to be acquired, habits that must change, and difficult conversations that need to take place.

4. Act.

Walking the path to a brighter future can become scary, tiring, and overwhelming. When these feelings start cropping up, don’t freeze and push on.

Narrow steps down further into specific action plans. Accept that failure will happen somewhere along the way. Take responsibility for these mistakes, and brace oneself for the cycle that will inevitably occur.

“You really have no idea what’s going to come your way at any point in your life. By learning how to cope with uncertainty, you become more confident and resilient. You find ways around the problem rather than becoming paralyzed by it,” said Fernando Zobel de Ayala, president and chief operating officer of Ayala Corporation, who was a guest at Mr. Eala’s book launch. — Mariel Alison L. Aguinaldo