Personal Responsibility

Megan - Santee, California
Entered on December 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

The quote “a man may make mistakes, but he isn’t a failure until he starts blaming someone else” by John Wooden, is a strong belief that I hold. This quote symbolizes how taking personal responsibility for your mistakes builds character, and when you begin to blame others for your mistakes your character loses some of its value. Failing does not just mean tests and jobs, it means you are failing yourself and only weakening yourself, and your personal morals and values.

Have you ever seen a student blame an F on a test on a teacher? I have. One day in English freshman year I overheard Brian a student that sat a few rows away grumbling, that the teacher “hated him” and that’s why he failed the vocabulary test. I thought to myself “I hope that’s never me, I want to be able to learn from my mistakes not put them on others.” Brian was putting his own mistake of not preparing for the test on the teacher. By creating the illusion of self-gratification he passed the test off as a joke, and rather than understand why he received the F he dismissed it as useless and undeserved. Brian failed himself and his character. If he would have accepted the F as his personal responsibility and fully understood why he received the F, his mistake then becomes a life lesson learned. The lesson that everyone makes mistakes; it is just a matter of how you handle them that shows who you truly are.

How someone handles a mistake is a conscientious choice, while blaming someone else the individual knows that in reality it was their mistake. “Accept mistakes when their yours, and others will look up to you” is a powerful quote, because it is saying that when you take the time to realize a mistake as yours you are proving to others that personal responsibility is a good thing, and naturally others will want to follow the example that you set. Without taking personal responsibility everyone would just blame someone else and the world would be in complete chaos and disarray.

In my life I do make mistakes as everyone does because it is only human. In the event of a mistake I take responsibility for what I rightly deserve. If I get an F then I know it is because I did something wrong, not the teacher and not my fellow students, but me. I made the mistake, and I accept the responsibility for it. By doing this I am showing to myself that although I messed up I am not a failure. I am learning from my mistakes and building my character. It may be hard now to accept an F or a life consequence, but I know that my character and morals will be stronger. I will be able to build from my mistakes, and I will not be the statistic of a failure.