The relationship between responsibility and choice

The relationship between responsibility and choice

Agency or the “power to choose” is something we are all born with.  We can make choices that empower us and others, or we can make choices that enslave us and put us in bondage. 

That’s the mindset that we choose when we are the victim or the creator of our circumstances as discussed in the video below.  

With Agency, we have the ability to choose our course of action, but we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions. The consequences, whether good or bad, follow as a natural result of any choice we make.

Are we choosing to be the victim of our situation or the creator?

How avoiding responsibility limits our choices

When we feel fear and become the victim we begin to blame others and avoid responsibility. What happens when we avoid responsibility?

Avoiding responsibility results in

  • Blaming others
  • Rationalizing or justifying our choices
  • Making excuses
  • Minimalizing or trivializing others choices or actions
  • Abandoning our responsibilities
  • Denying or lying about our choices
  • Rebelling 
  • Complaining
  • Finding fault and getting angry
  • Making demands and feeling entitled
  • Doubting, losing hope, or quitting
  • Feeling self-pity or victimized
  • Feeling indecisive
  • Procrastinating 
  • Enabling others to avoid responsibility

Why do we have these behaviors when we avoid responsibility?  

The answer is fear. 

All these behaviors stem from fear. When we feel fear it’s natural for us to have these behaviors because of feelings of shame or embarrassment. Instead of acting and making choices for ourselves, we become acted upon, causing us to become the victim of our circumstances and avoid responsibility.

When we become the victim and avoid responsibility we become self-deceived and counterproductive. 

As we choose to be the creator of our circumstances, let go of fear, and be accountable for our actions, we become empowered and have more choices.  

In this next example, I’ll explain how being the victim and avoiding responsibility is counter-productive even when we are right.

A business owner discovered that his business was losing revenue due to delays in processing and shipping of materials.  The CEO talked to the managers about why the items weren’t being packed and shipped on time. 

The managers made excuses saying it wasn’t their fault, it was the delivery driver who wasn’t picking up the shipments at the right times. They also blamed the manufacturing plants that were causing the production delays.

From the manager’s point of view, their ability to speed up delivery was out of their control because of external factors.  The CEO told the managers that he would dock their bonuses every time a shipment was not delivered on time, but if the shipment arrived on time, they would receive a bonus.

The managers said, “That’s not fair. We can’t control when the delivery driver picks up the inventory, and we can’t control when it ships.  We also have no way of controlling the manufacturer’s schedule.”

The CEO said, I don’t care, I want you to be 100% responsible.  If your shipments are on time you’ll get your bonuses.  

The managers were right about everything they said, but what happened next was surprising.  The managers began to make calls to the delivery company and found they could do an earlier pickup time before the first trucks left.  They also reached out to the manufacturers and discussed a method to speed up processing and delivering inventory.

Soon the managers were able to have the product shipped and delivered efficiently and on time because they were 100% responsible.

Can you see how the managers had fewer choices when they avoided responsibility and blamed others for their problems? 

They had fewer choices because they were acted upon. By being acted upon they were in the victim mindset.

Can you see how the managers had more choices when they became 100% responsible for their actions?

They had more choices because they acted. By acting they were in the creator mindset.  

The choices we make are directly related to accountability.  When we stop making excuses and become accountable for our actions we discover that we are no longer the victim because we have more choices. 

Responsibility is key to putting ourselves in the creator mindset.


The victim/creator mindset is fundamental to how we live our lives.  

Do we approach life from a creative point of view where we are aware of our environment and our own internal state so we can make better choices, or are we victims blaming others for our actions and reacting to situations without making choices?  

Here are the key points.

Victim Mindset

  • Fewer choices
  • Blame others
  • Procrastinating 
  • Enabling others to avoid responsibility

Creator Mindset

  • More choices
  • Active in making choices
  • Collaboration
  • Responsible for actions

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