Better Results

The Paradox of Responsibility

My wife and I were going for a walk the other day and noticed that there was a lot of trash along the sidewalk and in the undergrowth. This is also the same path that a lot of teenagers use to walk to and from high school. My first thought was, “What a bunch of irresponsible kids that can’t hang onto their trash until they got home.” Honestly, it was probably my second and third thought as well. Eventually i got to thinking, “Does it make me irresponsible if I see trash that I know should be picked up but I don’t do it, even if it isn’t mine?”

That thought obviously disturbed me more than the first one, so I thought I should explore what it really means to be responsible and why it’s important. Responsibility and accountability are terms that are kicked around a lot, but I’m not sure if we really understand what we are talking about or when it should be meaningful. I certainly want other people to be responsible; it’s easy to take a moral high ground and point out how their irresponsibility is ruining their lives and my own. But I am not so sure about it when other people are holding me responsible. I am not sure exactly what I should be accountable for anyway.

Trying To Achieve Goals In A Fog

Clarity is a simple concept. It means something is clear and comprehensible, which would also lead you to believe that it should then be easy to communicate. Clarity in our work and personal lives sounds like a thing of beauty because you and the people around you know where you are going and why. Everybody who has clarity on the goal would be heading in the same direction and helping each other get there.

And yet.

The Algebra Behind Maximum Effort

Another full day and it feels as if you really didn't get anything done. Which turns into a week that flies by and yet the inbox is bigger and the desk messier. You resent thinking that, to really get anything done, you would have to come in earlier and stay up nights.

Well, don't.

Some of the most productive people do not work any longer than the rest of us, they just know the algebraic formula that produces maximum effort.