Lately, I have heard a lot of comments about being a responsible person. Ever since my book came out, my family and friends commented on my ability to be disciplined and responsible. I am usually compared to others who are allegedly not as responsible as I am. This made me think: What does it mean to be responsible?

I looked it up in the dictionary. According to the Merriam Webster, the following is the definition of responsible. 1a :  liable to be called on to answer, b (1) :  liable to be called to account as the primary cause, motive, or agent <a committee responsible for the job> (2) :  being the cause or explanation <mechanical defects were responsible for the accident> c :  liable to legal review or in case of fault to penalties 2a :  able to answer for one’s conduct and obligations:  trustworthy b :  able to choose for oneself between right and wrong 3:  marked by or involving responsibility or accountability <responsible financial policies> 4:  politically answerable; especially :  required to submit to the electorate if defeated by the legislature—used especially of the British cabinet.

Looking at the points listed, it seems that the same words are repeated in them: liable, answerable, being a cause, trustworthy, accountable. Contemplating on the words, I created the following image of what it means to be responsible. A responsible person is able to achieve goals by focusing on the present, overcoming difficulties. She is focused on the present, instead of looking for past failures or future wishful thinking. She does not wait for others to solve a problem or look to blame people for potential failure. A responsible person is well-organized and does not waste time. She is looking for a solution, instead of being emotionally overwhelmed by the problem. She does whatever she can to achieve her goals, but accepts the strong possibility of hurdles along the way. The person is able to be flexible and implement new methods as the difficulties arise.

The responsible person does not have certain well-know characteristics. Firstly, she is not a control freak. Responsibility does not include micromanaging and driving other people crazy around her. She is not a person who has to plan every little detail and insist that the world bring about those details and in the order she insists on. Second, she is not disagreeable. She does not go around picking a fight with others, just to have what she wants. She does not sacrifices everyone and everything in the process to have her way. Third, she does not lose her cool. The responsible person does not overreact to every situation and elicit a negative emotional reaction. She is not a yelling and screaming individual who easily panics and starts pointing fingers.

What is the crucial point that makes a person responsible? I believe that confidence is the primary characteristic. A responsible person does what she can and has confidence in success. She has faith that things work out at the end. Because of her faith, she can focus on the positive aspects and continue to work until the desired outcome arrives. Basically, the responsible person is a confident optimist.

So, are you a responsible person?

M. J. Mandoki

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