Best known for his book, Success, a self-help book, Korda (1977) stated, “Success on any major scale requires you to accept responsibility … In the final analysis, the one quality that all successful people have … is the ability to take on responsibility” (p. 14). I have been using this quote for years at the bottom of my resume because it is a perfect summary of my character. So I found it quite ironic when I was asked to write an essay on personal responsibility. Success, which is a relevant term, is a byproduct of responsibility. While success is a relative term, personal responsibility is the key to achieving educational success.
Personal responsibility is the key to achieving educational success because it is the building block to setting and achieving goals. When I set goals, I feel it is important to create a step-by-step plan of action so there is a clear path to follow while reaching the finish line. Educational goal setting involves time management, dedication, clear direction, and execution. Without these four elements I feel it would be next to impossible to accomplish any long-term educational goals. Examining the first of the four elements important to setting educational goals is time management.
This skill is needed throughout life and unfortunately many people do not receive this skill or instruction from their parents, rather it was a trait best learned by trial and error. In fact, many people pay money to attend seminars teaching this life skill. I on the other hand, had to learn this important life skill the hard way while in high school. I was in the habit of waiting until the last minute to complete projects and by doing this, I missed out on spending time with my friends and my poor planning produced a poor grade. I knew I could have done better.
The time constraint I placed upon myself it was not possible. Time management allows sufficient planning and completion of a task. Currently if an assignment is due in one week I break it up into small increments to complete little by little during the week instead of waiting until the night before the project is due. Time management is an important element in goal setting and can be the difference between a grade of an A or a C. While setting goals, another key element is dedication. Without dedicating enough time to complete a task it is impossible to attain the result.
Dedication is shown in many ways, some of which include mental, physical, or time-bound. I use these three examples to explain dedication is not always easy to detect. If I am mentally dedicated to complete a task then I have set my mind on completing that task. At this point, others do not know that I am dedicated unless I verbalize this to them. The same could be said for physical dedication, I physically show up for class each week, I am dedicated to my class attendance. Others see this and identify my actions as having dedication to school or dedication to my educational success.
Finally dedication is time-bound meaning there is a specific amount of time I need to dedicate to a specific project, class, or degree program. Without a well-defined demonstration of dedication, achieving the goals I have set forth would be difficult to achieve. Developing a clear direction is the third of the four elements in setting goals. Knowing exactly what I want to do and how I need to get there. Having a focused mind about where I am going and discussing it with my family or having an accountability partner to keep me focused along the path I have chosen to achieve my educational goals.
Direction forces me to stay within my set of goals. It keeps me motivated, like taking a road trip when I see the signs along the road telling me how close I am getting to my destination. Having those road signs or goals in this case helps keep me in the right frame of mind. Execution is the final step to achieving goals. This is the action portion of the goal setting, or planning. Where the rubber meets the road, as I like to put it. Since I have planned on doing it and have said I am doing it, to me execution means that I am physically doing it.
There is no worth in creating goals if I am not going to execute them and put into action all of my hard work. Having stated that personal responsibility is the key to achieving educational success by setting and achieving goals, personal responsibility is also the intrinsic motivation that drives me to succeed. I am able to make confident choices independently and I hold myself accountable for the outcomes of those choices, unlike many others. The Love (2004) website states that people tend to make excuses in their lives when they do not accomplish their goals, a direct outcome of failing to take personal responsibility.
Acceptance of responsibility can lead a person to success by allowing them the freedom to take control of their future. Common emotions related to not taking responsibility for your own actions include, anger, hostility, fear, resentment, and doubt. Accepting responsibility allows you to take control of your life. My ethical lens inventory report supports this, as my personal preferred lens is Responsibility and Results. I am the only one who can control the outcome of my educational success. I am the type of person who gets results no matter how difficult the task may be.
I strive for excellence daily and if I do not accomplish my goals, it is my fault and I have only myself to blame. Practicing personal responsibility in my educational endeavors is second nature to me; I continue to follow a set of goals that keep me focused. My family is very supportive and encouraging as well. I use personal responsibility daily in my spiritual life, family life, work life, and educational undertakings. To me success is not an option; it is a byproduct of my accomplishments, which is why I feel “success” is such a relevant term.
There are many circumstances of success in our daily lives. Although success is a relevant term, personal responsibility is the key to educational success for two main reasons. First, responsibility defines individuals and without it there is nothing to hold them accountable. Most important, without creating a preliminary plan or roadmap to practice personal responsibility, educational success may not be achieved. Knowing that personal responsibility is directly correlated to educational success, do you have what it takes to be successful?