Five Powerful Lessons You Can Learn by Taking Responsibility
Jordan Peterson describes the lessons you can learn by taking responsibility. His advice model is to clean your room.
In my experience, it wasn’t my room that helped me transform my life from an early age. It was my car.
I believe taking ownership of anything is a tool or mechanism for infinite potential. It could be a car, a dog, your room, taking care of a parent, sibling or grandparent. Find something to sink your teeth into.
In one study nursing home residents were more fulfilled and engaged when given the responsibility to care for plants.
Make it yours….or make the results yours and seize your potential!
Lessons you can learn by taking responsibility began early
School was in the rearview. Independence, freedom, opportunity, and autonomy were the horizon. But I was not employable, had no compass or direction.
Still, I wanted to be the driver.
The cars I found were frumpy, faded, ugly. Visualize, I wouldn’t be caught dead in that thing!
My denim-clad neighbor was in transition too. Frank called me over to his garage. His 1966 Pontiac Bonneville was older, a barge by today’s standards. But it was squeaky clean.
He said, “you’ll be needing a car soon.” I thought, “how did you know?”
Frank said that the end of his days of driving was my beginning with a touch of melancholy.
“When one door closes, another opens.” — Alexander Graham Bell
The sale brought forth the lessons you can learn by taking responsibility
1. Like any good salesman, Frank took the lead. But he wasn’t overly obsessed with selling me, negotiating, or price. He listened to what my needs were.
Frank was the first adult that made me comfortable. He conversed with me like I was his equal. Frank was respectful, patient; he picked up on nuance, hints, shades of feeling.
Frank created an attraction that, when combined with my need, made the 1966 Pontiac Bonneville irresistible.
2. Frank knew value. The car was a creampuff, but it was almost ten years old. He priced it not at the highest worth like a car dealer might do but also not at a giveaway price like someone’s uncle might do.
You would have embarrassed yourself if you tried to get him to come down in price. Frank’s version of the no-haggle price was unspoken. It was about value plus integrity.
3. Frank saw more than a car. But a shiny squared away vehicle wasn’t the destination. The car was a tool for infinite potential — an opportunity to find and keep order in a chaotic world.
“To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wildflower
hold infinity in the palm of your hand
and eternity in an hour”— William Blake
Frank liked cars. That created an easy avenue to responsibility, resourcefulness, and humility — habits that preserve and build.
“From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life.” — Marie Kondo
4. Frank invested time and effort to make what he had the best it could be. But didn’t scorn what he lacked.
Frank placed his efforts on a concrete opportunity to reduce decline and chaos within his control.
He was forward-looking.
5. Frank knew how to help a floundering young kid.
But he didn’t tell me that taking ownership and responsibility for a car could provide a sense of direction or keeping a vehicle clean, organized, and in good repair could spill over into life.
He showed me.
It was more likely that I would work on what I discovered for myself than a piece of advice.
The super clean 1966 Pontiac Bonneville was an externalization of who Frank was. He polished his better side with the meticulous care of a car.
The car shined but he glowed.
You don’t expect your older neighbor in coveralls to have transcendental vision. But Frank showed me how to deliver improvement.
Maintaining and polishing that car taught me the not so trivial structure of how to embrace responsibility and care for something; to improve upon but not make things worse.
I developed the character to embrace what I should do; to make things around me shine.
He opened my eyes.
As the years went by, they increasingly opened. I became more responsible.
As I tell my children, “in my twenties, I was pretty pathetic, but through the years, I’ve consistently become better.”
Of course, I’m human, but my better side shines more brightly, more often than it would have otherwise.
Looking back, I’m not sure if Frank knew I needed a car. But I am sure he knew I needed direction.
This story first appeared on Medium
© Brian Braudis 2020, All rights reservedTags: Clean Your Room, Life Lessons, Take Responsibility