“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.”
– Henry Ward Beecher
Hold yourself responsible! This is the key to personal responsibility. As martial artists, we should all be striving to be our very best. This does not just mean with the practice or competition (for those who compete) of our respective arts, but in all things we do. We should be holding ourselves to a higher standard in everything, regardless of what anyone else expects. We should expect more from ourselves than anyone else. We strive for excellence and we won’t excuse ourselves.
I have taught for years that we must be personally responsible for our own safety in the classes, workshops, and courses I teach on safety, self-defense and active shooter response. But the lesson is much more than that. We must be personally responsible for everything we do. Sure, in America we have freedom of speech. But you must be responsible for what you say and accept the consequences of such speech, just as you must take responsibility for all of your actions.
This brings us back to the quote by Beecher above. If you take personal responsibility for all you do, you will then be more apt to hold yourself to higher standards. And you shouldn’t do this in fear of repercussions or consequences, but rather because that is who you are. As a martial artist, you hold yourself to higher standards because you live with integrity, honor, and courage. You are disciplined, determined, and dedicated not just to your training, but to living as a warrior and doing what is right.
So hold yourself responsible for a higher standard. Go beyond what other expect and set an example for all to follow. Never excuse yourself. Every little thing matters.