Josh-Daniel S. Davis (joshdavis) wrote,
Josh-Daniel S. Davis

Choices, Accountability, Self Improvement

While stumbling through things referenced from tangents from other conversations, I found this bit of text which I particularly appreciate.

The jist is that everyone makes poor choices which cause them hardship. If you are willing to help yourself, then with the assistance of others, you can overcome almost any related problem. However, if you blame society for the consequences of your poor choice, then you will never change. Accountability is a key component to self improvement.

ALL people make bad choices from time to time. The difference is when people refuse to take responsibility for their choices. In order to avoid responsibility for their actions they convince themselves that they HAVE NO choices,that they are helpless bits of driftwood in a wild sea, and they passively drift wherever the current takes them. If they are to be rescued, they believe, someone else must calm the sea.

It is the denial of their choices that is key. If choice does not exist there can be no possibility of good choices. If one admits no choices one admits no mistakes, and can avoid the discomfort of guilt and responsibility, and even gain sympathy from others. But it is impossible to learn from a mistake until one acknowledges that a mistake has been made, and the often diastrous consequences of our mistakes are rarely reduced by refusal to recognise them as such. So, by denial we lose all possible benefit of personal growth and change, and are left with only loss, misery, and confusion which we have robbed ourselves of any hope of escaping. For, as we have no choice, we cannot change; and if we cannot change we remain the passive victims of our own unadmited choice not to choose. Without recognising that remaining passive is in itself a choice, one is virtually gauaranteed to repeat one's mistakes and sink progressively lower.

"White-collar" criminals and celebrity rehab patients are no exception. In fact their very existence flies in the face of popular social theories that cite poverty as the cause of crime, drug use, homelessnes, etc. These are people who have the advantages of money, power, and education that many others can only dream of. Yet many of them still make really stupid choices, and their bad choices can cost them everything also. Those who take responsibility and change will likely recover. Those who do not will sink.

None of this means that these people don't need help. They do. And it IS up to us to help as much as we can. But we must make sure our efforts address the problem, not just the symptoms. If a person is stuck in a swamp there is no use sitting on the bank and sympathizing or trying to discover whose fault it is that he stepped off of the marked path. And hungry and dirty though he may be, throwing him a sandwich or a bar of soap and a towel will not save him. Even when we throw a sturdy rope, we cannot pull him out until he takes strong hold of it and helps us to help him.

He must ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE in his own rescue if it is to succeed. Further, once he is out of the mud he MUST CHANGE his direction. If he stubbornly insists that there is no other way and walks back into the mud he will soon need rescue again, and eventually he will be too exhausted to grab any rope he may be thrown. He must be shown the path of safety, and he must choose to follow it. If the way is not clear he must learn to tread cautiously and test his footing. He cannot learn these things without help, but neither can he learn them if he lies passively in the mud crying, or cursing, or blaming.

The only lasting solution lies in getting up when one falls down and moving forward the wiser for it.

-Harmony @ Amazon, Wisconsin, Oct 30, 2006 12:14:12 PM PST
Tags: accountability, philosophy, society
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