When I was growing up, I watched the people around me and learned from what I observed. I wanted to be a part of a certain criminal lifestyle, and everyone in that circle was older than me. The only way that I could be a part of that world was to do everything better than those around me.
I took all the advice that came my way from the older, more successful criminals around me. The mafia life is one of oral history and apprenticeship, there is no “school” to graduate from, so being able to listen was a huge part of it.
An older guy once told me, “Listen, nobody cares about your personal problems. Just get done what you’re asked to do.” That stuck with me my whole life. The rules were clear. Do what you are told, and never come back empty handed or with any excuse.You always show up when called for, and on time. If there might be traffic, leave early. If there might be bad traffic, leave earlier. Being late was a sign of disrespect.
Those lessons became part of my life and I was able to see the consequences when people did not follow them.
Take some time to sit and listen to people talking around you in different places. Observe conversations on social media. You will hear a lot of blame and a lot of excuses. It takes more courage to step up and take responsibility for your own actions instead of making excuses.
“But Kenji… Life isn’t fair! ________ happened to me!”
Life is unfair. No amount of wishing, or talking, or blaming will ever change that. What we can do is be as fair as possible in our own lives and accept that worrying about things that are beyond our control will do more harm than good.
You will be surprised at how much inner peace a simple act of stepping up and taking responsibility for your life will bring you. If you made a mistake, you can analyze your actions and learn what to do different in the future. Worrying about what someone else did will get you nowhere since you can’t control their future or past actions.
Approaching life in this way and makes it easier to love others, even when they may have wronged you.
What would you lose by taking responsibility for your life? Try it out for awhile and see what happens. Like any new endeavor, it may take a bit of time to change your reaction in circumstances. Learn to fill your mind by thinking about positive things instead of focusing on the negative events of life. The other choice is to keep living life like so many who spend their days blaming others for their situation.
2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
For each will have to bear his own load.
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.