The #1 Mindset Change That Determines Success

Flying SupermanTake control of your life by being accountable for as much as possible.

I heard a quote some time back about accountability. To paraphrase it went something like:

Even if a bus were to run off the street and hit me on the sidewalk I would be laying there in pain angry with myself for choosing to walk there at that time or for not seeing the bus coming. Or for any number of things in my control that led to the accident.

I think that’s a great mentality to have for life. The point is not that you can avoid all things from occurring. Bad things have happened to humans since they first walked the planet, but when you take accountability and focus on what you control it frees you from the control of others.

Complaining & Blaming

I’m not saying that all complaining is bad. In fact, it seems there is evidence that complaining can be positive, but I think at the minimum that any complaining gives control to others.

Let’s take a common complaint:

I can’t believe that person cut me off. They should not be driving like that…

Seems pretty harmless, but if you dig a little deeper you realize that statement, that complaint, gives control to the other driver. And that mindset gives control a lot of what happens on the road to others. Drivers other than the driver making the complaint even if they’re making it in their own head.

How might the situation be reversed so the driver is in control? They could say to themselves something like:

I can’t believe that person cut me off. Tomorrow I’m taking a different route to work. There are too many bad drivers on this freeway. It may take a few minutes more, but I’ll avoid the stress and danger.

The more you consider this simple situation the more you see that the idea of complain & blame can infiltrate our entire lives.

  • I wish…
  • They should…
  • If only…

The more you look at successful people the more you realize that they often don’t think this way. They may be labeled “control freaks” and that certainly could lead to issues, but there’s a reason they seek control.

They don’t want to give any control of their life to others. They want to be in charge of their own destiny as much as possible.

Taking Accountability & Control

Think about a person in your life that you appreciate. Someone you appreciate because of how they live their life and how they treat you.

I’m thinking of a basketball coach I had when I was a teenager. This coach was always looking for ways to improve the team but via ways that he controlled. He didn’t blame players when they would make mistakes.

For example, if a player missed many free throws in a game the coach didn’t blame the player. The coach would blame himself for not putting enough emphasis on practicing free throws. Perhaps having the entire team practice or for not working with the player individually on free throws.

This gives the coach control, but not in a way that takes anything away from the players. In fact, it sets a great example for the players on how to be responsible for themselves. And that’s not always easy in team sports.

When a team loses a game and one player plays really well it may be easy for that player to blame the other players or complain about the way others played, but successful players would look at what they control. Could they have helped their teammates in other ways? Working with them in practice? Passing differently? Putting the others in better situations?


There seems to be a lot of blaming and complaining going on in the world today. A lot of it is about trying to control what others do. Trying to will others to change for our own benefit.

By giving up control in this way you set yourself up for incredible disappointment. The better route is to do what many successful people do – take accountability for yourself. Take control of how you respond and how you can improve your life.

Being a control freak by trying to control others may be a bad thing, but being a control freak about your own self may be the #1 mindset change that improves your life in many aspects.

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