“Everything is my fault”

There are many things people do in life, which prevent them from fulfilling their full potential, but the most prevalent is their refusal to accept responsibility for their own actions. External factors like “the boss”, “the government” or simply something as intangible as “it’s just not the right time” are the pseudo-reasons which prevent people from feeling successful in life.

There is a simple, albeit somewhat painful solution to this problem of feeling like you are always stuck in 1st gear. You just have to internalize the following sentence:

“Everything is my fault.”

By saying that, I of course do not mean to imply that you are solely responsible for causing global warming and potentially the next ice age or something similar. What this sentence is meant to imply is that you and only you really have control over your own thoughts, words, and actions. As far as you yourself are concerned, you have all the power to exert direct influence. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, you only ever have indirect power to influence anything in it.

I once read that it is irrational or at least unproductive to place blame on things you have no control over, and if you do have control over it, by definition, you are to blame. That was the single most important sentence I ever read in my life. Painting yourself as an object to be acted upon by the world may be a convenient and comfortable way, but it is also the way that leads to self-pity, misery, and depression.

Instead, recognize that you yourself are the subject, you have full agency over your own life, and the rest of the world is nothing more than a vastly complex machine awaiting your input. Remember the boss that would not give you the promotion? His potential motives for doing that are irrelevant. What is relevant is that your input into the “boss” application of the “life” operating system was such that it did not produce the desired output – the promotion.

Perhaps the proper kind of input would be something you are objectively incapable of doing – like having to pay him a billion in diamonds – but this does not mean that you should revert to the “the world hates me” mentality. It is simply a fact of life, not unlike gravity. If you jumped from an airplane and your parachute did not open, you would not blame gravity for the consequences, would you? Even though, objectively, it would be gravity that would ultimately cause them. If something is objectively impossible – like skydiving more than once (or perhaps twice for the really lucky ones) without a parachute on Earth – it is on you to recognize the irrationality of trying to achieve it and moving your sights onto something at least theoretically achievable. Having said that, this does not mean you are giving up, mind you, nor should it be used as an excuse to stop trying at merely difficult challenges.

Whatever happens to you and whatever you would like to happen to you, you have the power to choose the way, the input for the machinery of life, which will lead to a certain result. Perhaps it will be what you wanted, perhaps it will not, but in the end, it will be you, who caused change. And if it is not what you wanted, you can simply try again.

Getting to terms with the fact that you have to shoulder the weight of the whole world this way may be difficult at first. However, once you do it, the unique, amazing feeling that you and only you are the master of your fate, is irreplaceable.

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