I really believe that being accountable is one of the biggest keys to happiness.
When you’re accountable… when you take responsibility for things that go wrong (regardless of whether or not it’s actually your fault) … you’ll feel in control. You won’t feel helpless or feel like other people are controlling your life.
But here’s issue:
A lot of people are scared to be accountable because they don’t understand how being accountable is different from beating yourself up for your mistakes.
So they default into blaming other people.
I think people should blame themselves, but I don’t think they should judge themselves. I believe everyone should be their own “biggest fan” – beating yourself is super counterproductive, and something I don’t think anyone should do. I also think people should take responsibility for everything that happens in their lives.
Here are some mindset shifts on how you can use accountability as an “unlock” for more happiness:
Owning your faults and weaknesses takes away their leverage
We all suck at so many things.
I have tons of “weaknesses.”
I have virtually no writing skills. I was a D and F student. I curse on stage in my keynotes and it leaves a lot of opportunity on the table in terms of speaking gigs. I don’t feel comfortable reading out loud. I don’t consume information well through books. I don’t listen to “mentors.”
I’ve make a ton of mistakes, too. I make mistakes everyday at VaynerMedia.
I passed on investing in Uber in the early days because at the time, I had bought a new apartment. If I had invested, I would’ve made hundreds of millions of dollars.
You could make an argument saying that singular “loss” is greater than all of my “wins” in business.
But when you own your faults and weaknesses, it takes away the leverage they have over you – and they can almost become “strengths.”
I proudly talk about how I did terrible in school. I proudly talk about how I don’t listen to my mentors because I’m so “tuned in” to myself and my own voice. When you “own” what you’re bad at and what you messed up on, you become more comfortable with yourself.
Take Eminem in 8-Mile, for example.
One of my favorite scenes ever is the last rap battle of 8 mile where Eminem disses himself before the other guy can.
He owns all his weaknesses, and it leaves the other person with nothing to say.
The more you own (and share) your insecurities, failures, and mistakes with the world, the more comfortable you’ll get with yourself.
Own the fact that you’re a 20-something still trying to “figure out” life. Own the fact that you’re in your 60s and you’re starting a business from zero and you’re scared it’s “too late” because you didn’t start earlier. Because the truth is, there’s nothing wrong with any of those things – and once get comfortable with them, you’ll find that they can actually be your greatest strengths.
It’s okay to feel disappointed, but don’t dwell on it
When I say I don’t “beat myself up”, I don’t mean that I’m always incredibly proud of every decision I make.
I carefully analyze my behavior in an honest way. Sometimes, I’ll even be disappointed.
But I’ll never dwell or beat myself up.
That’s where the difference lies — people can have negative feelings or thoughts about failures and mistakes, but the minute you start dwelling on it, you’re making it more likely that your next thing won’t work.
And worse… you’re tearing yourself down even further instead of being your own biggest fan and supporting yourself..
Don’t wrap your self-esteem up in your “success”
This is a big reason why so many people default to blaming others.
They wrap up their self-esteem up in their successes.
Even though I identify so much as a businessman and entrepreneur, I’m proud that I don’t wrap my self-esteem up in my accomplishments. Even when I lose in business, I never lose my self-worth over it.
If I lost, I’m happy to deal with the ramifications of it – but I never allow myself to feel bad about who I am because of that loss.
I think a lot of this goes back to parenting.
Like I said… I was a D and F student in school. Everytime grades would come out, my mom would punish me for not doing well. She made me deal with the ramifications of getting bad grades, but she never made me feel like I was stupid or that I was not going to be successful.
It was accountability without judgement.
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Hope this article helps you better understand how accountability can lead to enormous happiness 😉