We used to do something funny in my secondary school days. Although, I saw it in my days at the university, too. It is typical of most people.

We used to disown it!

By "it", I mean our responsibility and, by extension, our result!

I can remember how two students who were having a conversation about the outcome of their results sounded: Mike: Have you seen your result? Sarah: Hmmm, yeah! Mike: It wasn't what I had hoped for. Sarah: Ah! Mine, too. I think I didn't study Maths correctly. I need to study some more; I could have passed. Mike: Well, I tried. I got an A in Chemistry; an A in English; a C in Science but my teacher gave me an F in Maths. [Obviously, Mike did not own his Maths result: he blamed his teacher]

He used the personal pronoun, "I" for other subjects but said "my teacher" for Maths.

While his teacher was a quack, he could have taken responsibility for his result by spending extra time with the resource materials, asking for further clarification during lessons or even attending tutorials. People like to rid themselves of all blame. Generally, this happens in our day-to-day activities: a glutton would say, "I just can't resist mum's food," (he blames his mum for his eating habit) and someone who has anger issues would claim, "they always make me angry, it is not my fault I throw tantrums." He blames others for his anger. The truth is, nobody can make you become what you do not want to become. You decide what you do and say at any point in time.

Someone said it this way:

Responsibility is accepting that you are the cause and the solution to the matter.

When we decide to take responsibility for our actions or inactions we get a better outcome.

How to own it

Believe and act as if you are the only party involved in attaining a predetermined outcome: This may sound strange because every aspect of human endeavour involves different parties. For instance, in the story above, the result was the outcome of the input from the school, the teacher, the learner and the home (parents).

However, things take a different turn when we are all focused on our roles and are not settling for the blame game.

The idea is this: tell yourself, "Let me do my part the best way I should." Note, I did not say, "the best way I can", I said, "the best way I should". Because at one point or the other, I must exceed what "I can" or believe I can and reach for what "I should".

Reexamine the other parties: (John C. Maxwell) once ascertained

One is too small a number to achieve greatness (it takes teamwork).

The purpose of reexamination is not to point accusing fingers. It is purely to see if there is a possibility of taking appropriate action to put them in check. It may get to the point where you have to report that coach, that teacher or that leader to the appropriate authorities. This does not stop you from "owning it." We are not to excuse bad and unprofessional behaviours because we are "owning it."

Do not be too hard on yourself:

I know a pupil who would slap himself just to get himself to think better.

You do not have to be too hard on yourself while "owning it." Observe that I said, "Do not be too hard." The "too" is the issue. The "hard" is not!

Give yourself a break; relax, take some water and forge ahead as you continue to "own it." And, do not neglect the possibility of asking for help if the need arises.

Never play the blame game. It is not part of the Olympic Games. So, you will not get a medal for it. Put it more sternly, you will not get anything from the game!