Life can be viewed as a cyclical process of decisions and outcomes. As we make decisions, there are outcomes guaranteed to follow. These outcomes, oftentimes, transition us into new phases in life. With new phases in life, come new responsibilities – I refer to this as a shifting in responsibilities.
The term “responsibility” has many definitions, for this context let’s assume the following definition: the opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorizations.
Given this definition, we can view responsibility as a tool, a tool that each and every one of us can use to produce effects, or outcomes, in our lives. I’d like to group these effects into three broad categories:
- Effects of Redemption
- Effects of Repercussion
- Effects of Reward
Effects of redemption are typically those which provide us a liberating feeling, e.g., events such as a child moving out of his parent’s home or when one begins a new job or a new career.
Effects of repercussion can be described as negative consequences or punishable outcomes. These types of effects can protrude from violating rules or befriending individuals whose influence can cause someone to perform destructive actions.
Effects of reward are pretty self-explanatory – they provide feelings of satisfaction or accomplishment. Graduations or job promotions are examples of moments that provide effects of reward.
The categorization of life’s effects are not imperative – you can always group your life’s outcomes differently than how I have described, adjusting them to your view of life. The importance and purpose of this message is to emphasize that responsibility is a tool. It is your tool. Management of responsibility is essential and crucial because the manner in which you utilize this tool can and will be a key driver behind which outcomes that you experience in your life.
Thus, there is a question that I must pose to you – how will you use your responsibilities? What outcomes might you lead yourself to experience?
As you continue your journey in life, the cyclical process of decisions and outcomes; as you experience shifting in responsibilities, remember to always ask yourself: how will I use my responsibilities?
Extract of address given by Adekemi Sodamade at the 2016 EOY-STL Scholarship Award Ceremony on July 2, 2016. Ms Sodamade is a financial analyst with a St. Louis based investment company