The Accountability Effect


Accountability is intimidating. It means that someone is keeping score. It means that you are on the hook for something. It means that you have to stand up for a belief. It means that you have to care.

Because if you don’t care, no one will.

Don’t be a marionette in someone else’s puppet show. If you feel like you don’t have much of a say in your life (and you are not a child or in prison), then you need to figure out what those influences are that are holding you down. It is time for you take back the reins of your horse and be accountable for who it is you want to be.

But make no mistake about it, you have to be the one who jumps in, who cuts the cord, who who takes the first step, who takes the stand. You have to use the tools — it is not enough to simply possess them. I assure you that the timing will never be totally right and that the Duke of Doubt will try to hold you back, but you, and no one else, is the author of the script of who you are going to become.

Because if not you, then who?

In regards to your life, random things occur outside of them needing to have a reason. Things just happen. The question is, what are you going to after these things happen? That’s where you create reason and purpose. Saying “things happen for a reason” takes away accountability on your part of what led up to that event (didn’t get a job offer) or the accountability for your reaction to an event completely out of your control (a meteor hits your house). Find meaning in the actions you choose, not in the situations that life presents you with.

But accomplishing a goal is hard.

It means you have to find something worthy of committing to.
It means you have to do the research and the work to push against the mental (and possibly physical) walls that confine you.
It means that you have to sacrifice.
It means that you have to travel down a road without necessarily knowing its length.

Here’s a secret: You don’t want to accomplish your goals.

What you really want is reassurance that everything is going to be okay.
What you really want is validation that how you are living your life is acceptable to the people around you.
What you really want is to be able to round up support while talking about what you could do.

If you had more time, if you were luckier, if your boss wasn’t such a jerk, if…

You don’t want to accomplish your goals because to do so would mean you’d have to:

- Change habits.
- Change your friends.
- Change what everyone might think of you.
- Change your life.

You don’t want your goals badly enough because achieving them means that Middle Earth has to be traversed first and you’re afraid that the castle on the other end won’t look like you hoped it would when you finally get there.

What you really want is structure.
What you really want is to be told what to do so that the blame won’t fall on you.
What you really want is specific terms of success.
What you really want are the odds to be in your favor before you jump.


Prove me wrong. I want you to. You want you to.

We try so hard to control the exact results of things we haven’t done or experienced yet that we are so hard on ourselves when they don’t turn out exactly as we imagined they would. Instead, go in a relative direction and create short term goals and checkpoints that you can more or less manage. The rest is wholly and unequivocally out of your control, both in a beautiful and sometimes cruel way.

You won’t see every door along your path of life, so sometimes you just have to walk through the door and then tangential opportunities will present themselves.

Hinging your happiness on a make-believe point beyond the horizon is a dangerous game to play. Instead, focus on the nearest landmark. The rest is the rest.

Get good enough at something rare and useful and then use those skills to magnify the interests you have in life.

In the end, experience comes from actually doing something, tinkering for a certain period of time. It takes baby steps. The statement “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger” is completely absurd. If you knew then what you know now, no one would hang out with you because you wouldn’t be making any sense whatsoever. What you know now you got through experience. Feet have callouses, life has experience. It can’t be any other way.

Enjoy not knowing things. Enjoy questioning. Enjoy the process of learning and discovering. It is the plot of your story.

Be accountable for it. Be bold.

Story by Bold Academy mentor Bassam Tarazi, the creator of a motivational framework called Colipera.

Photos by Cloe Shasha.

One Comment

  • Eddee Zuk September 20, 2012 at 3:07 AM Reply

    The Accountability Effect…everyone should read it.

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