Exerpt from The Other F Word – Failure No.2
– Unwillingness to Accept Personal Accountability

The second of these failures, or enemies of self, is Lack of Personal Accountability.
According to behavioural scientists there are two types of people: “Externalists” and “Internalists”.

An “Externalist” views life as being something that happens to them. Things occur due to external factors. I.e. “I’m getting more in-shape at the gym because they have good equipment, and I have a great Personal Trainer.” Whereas an “Internalist” is someone who adopts the mantra of, “Life is something I have to make happen for me.” I.e. “I’m getting more in-shape at the gym because I am highly dedicated to making the most out of what I have.”

While both are perfectly healthy attitudes to have, and in both instances the “Externalist” and the “Internalist” are working towards self-betterment; there should always be a level of personal accountability that the “Internalist” so naturally demonstrates.
Once we can accept that premise, that we should be responsible for ourselves, our actions and our words; we can begin to understand that any level of failure we attain is entirely due to us, and our actions or inactions. However, when we fail to accept personal accountability, we invariably fail to take necessary actions. In other words, we procrastinate.

Procrastination – that negative habit or pattern of putting off until tomorrow those things that can be best done today. Procrastination steals our future and our destiny.
Often though, we procrastinate because we have been trained to do so.

How many times in your life have you heard this admonishment? “Don’t rush in!” It’s a crazy sentiment for professionals to consistently adhere to. To function effectively in any field or endeavour, we must have the ability to make instantaneous decisions.

So, when we think in terms of eliminating procrastination we naturally yield to the line of least resistance. When success was first being studied in the 1930’s, it was determined that the difference between a successful person and a non-successful person is quite simply that the former has developed habits that the latter just won’t do. It is also continued to be noted that successful people are motivated by a strong desire for pleasing results, while the unsuccessful persons are motivated by a strong desire for pleasing activity.

The unsuccessful person therefore has a tendency to yield to the line of least resistance; to choose to spend their time doing things that seem to be pleasant in the moment, rather than focusing their time doing things which have a greater show of results. For example, in the profession of selling, successful sales people habitually follow-up, whereas unsuccessful people don’t. Ask yourself these questions: When did I last procrastinate and why? How did it feel, and how can I catch those behaviours earlier next time?