Tell us first something about your hobbies and things that you’re doing with passion.
I love cycling.I’m interested in my health. Many years ago, as I explored my values, my second most important value was to treat my mental and physical health as my most important assets. So in addition to nutrition and other forms of exercise, I do a lot of cycling.
I own two road bikes and a mountain bike. Austin has beautiful places to ride. I ride usually at least 60 or 80 miles a week, sometimes more.
I also have come to love plants and flowers. I purchased a new property last fall, so now I’m busy with beautiful plants indoors as well, which to me represents life and living art. There’s a couple of my passions.
Thanks. Let’s talk about responsibility, as your area of expertize. Does responsibility have something to do with maturity? Can, for example, Peter Pan be responsible?
How is responsibility related to maturity? Our world is full of lies and limiting beliefs. Every human being grows up being taught untruths by well-intended parents, teachers and others. A part of maturity is gaining the wisdom of seeing those lies.
You get into a problem, so you get into anxiety and frustration and when you really examine it you may realise „Oh, I’ve been believing X all my life and X isn’t true. And now I see the truth.“ At this point you actually free up mental energy—that’s where new-found freedom, choice, and power comes from.
The more you practice responsibility, the more you see things as they truly are. This indicates some relationship between maturity, wisdom and responsibility. I would not say that maturity makes one more responsible, but rather that practising responsibility makes one wiser faster. Then you can even appear mature at a young age.
The first time I saw The Responsibility Process® was in my early days learning the agile way of work. But this is much more than just a tool, isn’t it?
Yes, responsibility is not simply about agile. In fact, it is not just about work at all. It‘s about life. The Responsibility Process is a cognitive pattern that uniquely explains how we respond to change, frustration and things going wrong. That’s all it is. It’s a mental pattern that operates in every human being. Awareness of it, as well as putting it to use in one’s own life, can make one more agile.
And it can also make one more free, more powerful, give you more choice, more love, and more peace. One could become happier, more productive, have better relationships, etc. Success gurus have always said that the first principle of success in any endeavour is to take 100% responsibility. So practising responsibility delivers any benefit that you’re looking for, better health, better life, better career, better work, better relationships, better productivity, happiness, whatever.
I am just curious now, how can we practice responsibility?
Yes, practicing responsibility! That’s what my focus has been on for the last three years at least. I learned that I could write about The Responsibility Process or speak about it, and inspire people, have them be all excited. But later I found out that less than 1% of people actually do something with the information, because knowing about The Responsibility Process does you no good. Only applying your life to the process provides any benefit.
So the way to practice it is to catch yourself in the mental state of Lay Blame and stop blaming. Then catch yourself in Justify and stop justifying. Catch yourself in Shame, stop shaming. Catch yourself in Obligation, refuse to be trapped. Only then does your mind introduce you to the mental state of Responsibility, which is the place where you find clarity, where you have access to all of your brilliant resourcefulness. We call it the mental state of freedom, choice and power.
So, you practice it by using the three keys of Intention, Awareness and Confront. I‘ll explain each.
Intention works in two ways. The first way to start practising is to set an intention to get to the mental state of Responsibility around every upset in your life. That is because that’s the only place that you get rid of the upset. That’s the only place you find and solve the real problem behind the upset.
Life teaches us to cope with the upset. Most people are really good at coping, especially well-educated, highly motivated, high performers. We have been taught to cope by choosing to operate from Lay Blame, Justify, Shame and Obligation our whole lives, and we’re very good at it.
We use the intention key, the power of free will, to commit to getting to the mental state of Responsibility around every upset. I’ve had a responsibility practice for 29 years. While other people get stuck at Lay Blame, I recognise blame in myself in about a hundredth of a second and I let it go. I move up the chart in another half a second and say „Okay, how did I create this upset for myself and how am I going to get rid of this?“
The second key to practising is Awareness. The type of awareness that this offers you is self awareness. You become so much more aware of your own thinking and how you get stuck or trapped. You should get to know yourself better when you’re blaming, so you can catch yourself. The same applies for each of the other mental states. The reason why people stay stuck in coping is because they’re not even aware they’re doing it. Most of the work that responsibility coaches, mentors and masters do with people is just helping them see how they’re coping. So, awareness is huge.
The third key is Confront, which means to be willing to face your own fear, to look in the mirror and face your anxiety, face your upset, because that’s the only place where you can actually examine your thoughts and find the lie, as well as the real truth. And that’s how you grow and develop the wisdom.
The way you practice responsibility is by realising there’s nothing you can do about The Responsibility Process pattern in your mind. It’s always there. It’s in you, it’s in me, it’s in everybody and it’ll never change. Every time something goes wrong for me, my mind goes to Lay Blame. It’s the 3 keys of Intention, Awareness, and Confront that you develop as powers of mind to access The Responsibility Process. Intention, our ability for free will, awareness, consciousness, attention, focus, mindfulness, presence. Confront, the courage to face ourselves and to face our own fears.
In all of our free DIY services, as well as all of our premium services, I am trying to help people practice so they make themselves wiser faster. I’m not trying to just teach models, or teach information. I’m trying to help people actually start applying it on a daily basis, because things go wrong all day every day.
We agreed to explain a bit of these boundary things. Because The Responsibility Process is just the peak of an iceberg when talking about responsibility. There is something more. Setting boundaries is for me a very thin line between quitting and saying „Okay, I don’t care about anything“. And when you set boundaries, we from the other side have the right to protect ourselves by not being involved in this whole process. So can you explain a bit more if we can do something about it?
We got to the mental state of Quit out of the pain of Shame and the burden of Obligation. What I’ve learned is that when smart, educated professionals start practising responsibility, we quickly become excellent at identifying and getting ourselves off of Lay Blame and Justify. However, we continue to spend a tremendous amount of time coping in Shame, Obligation and Quit.
The reason for that is that doing what we should do, whether we want to or not, is called being responsible by society. So, good people spend a lot of time in Shame and Obligation, which creates more hurt and frustration inside.
If you look at the definition of Quit, you will see that it is a mental state. It’s like putting something in a closet. We have a big closet in our mind. We put problems there in order to stop feeling so bad. The issue here is that they still take emotional and mental energy when they’re in Quit, they just don’t hurt as much. An example is the language of disengagement. Quit is the responsibility model language for being actively disengaged. We have so much of the population that’s actively disengaged at work. Well, why is that? They need a job. They take a job where either the job itself or the environment or even both does not inspire them or call on their genius. So that’s Obligation – they have to show up and put in the time to get the paycheck. And then they feel bad about not knowing how to find a better job. So the way they save their sanity is to show up and disengage. They go to Quit. Quit as a way of trying to save our sanity, because we don’t know how to grow, how to take responsibility.
I see this every day in my work. One of the reasons I love this material so much is because every day I see smart, educated, high-performing, good wage earning, brilliant people, who feel trapped in lives that they don’t like. They don’t know how they got there and they don‘t know how to change it. They cope by cycling repeatedly through Shame, Obligation and Quit, what we call psuedo-responsibility. They are being good citizens according to society‘s standards because society rewards Shame, Obligation, and Quit. They’re on the hamster wheel. Society‘s economic machine keeps feeding them advice about how to be more successful, more productive, how to make more money, get a bigger house and find a better spouse. But they’re never really addressing the real problem, which is that they’re not using their unique inspiration and their unique genius to produce the results that matter to them.
That’s what I’m trying to change in the world.
We talked about how implementing The Responsibility Process in our daily life is changing our understanding of responsibility. You mentioned that The Responsibility Process, or responsibility as a word, has different meanings in different cultures. In Serbia, responsibility can connect to a lot of things. However, I believe that the theory that you’re practising and preaching here is unique for every man on earth. So how can we be so persistent to succeed in our practising to be responsible?
Good question. Thank you for asking.
First of all, create the intention to practise, and to get to Responsibility around every upset. Take a hard look at this model and decide whether or not this model represents what happens in your head. When I looked at this model for the first time, I already had a PhD in organisational science, I had tonnes of psychology and sociology models. I looked at this model and I said „This is the most amazing model of normal psychology I’ve ever seen, that says more about how the normal person’s mind works than any other model.“ So I’d say number one, decide that that’s true for you and that you want to apply it in your life everyday.
And number two, realise that it’s 10,000 times easier to see it at work in other people than it is to see it in ourselves, because we see it in other people’s behaviour and language. And when we are coping in those states, we don’t see it in ourselves. So stop applying it to anybody but ourselves. Create an intention to get to the mental state of responsibility over every upset, every anxiety, every frustration, every annoyance in our life, because that’s what’s going to create growth, learning and freedom and reveal your own inspiration and your own genius to you.
I want to address your question about „responsibility“ meaning different things. I don’t think it just means different things in different cultures. I think within cultures, responsibility means about 1000 different things. But at its essence, responsibility means cause and effect. So „Who was responsible for that?“ is a question of who caused that effect. The mental state of Responsibility that we’re talking about is defined as „owning my power and ability to create, choose and attract.“ So if I own my power and ability to create shoes and attract my reality, then that means I’m always creating, choosing and attracting my whole world. Which means if there’s anything in my world I’m experiencing that upsets me, then I’m the one that gets to examine why it’s upsetting me and what I get to change in order to not be upset.
For the end, you invested a big part of your work and life studying responsibility. Have you ever asked yourself „Is it worth it?“
Sometimes when I’m challenged, I do ask myself that. The answer is always „of course it’s worth it.“ I wouldn’t trade it for a thing. I’ve had the fullest, richest life I could imagine. I am free, powerful, and at choice. And that feels amazing.