“We are experiencing a reality based on a thin veneer of lies and illusions. A world where greed is our God and wisdom is sin, where division is key and unity is fantasy, where the ego-driven cleverness of the mind is praised, rather than the intelligence of the heart.” Bill Hicks (Thanks to Daily Maverick)
Do you remember the movie, A Few Good Men?
Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is a military lawyer defending two U.S. Marines charged with killing a fellow Marine at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Although Kaffee is known for seeking plea bargains, a fellow lawyer, Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore), convinces him that the accused marines were most likely carrying out an order from a commanding officer. Kaffee takes a risk by calling Col. Nathan R. Jessep (Jack Nicholson) to the stand in an effort to uncover the conspiracy.
The turning point of the movie comes when Col Jessep says, “you want answers?” Kaffee responds, “No, I want the truth.” And Jessep replies, “You can’t handle the truth…” You can see it here; it’s a super-charged scene.
It’s a line I have never forgotten, because it applies to all of us: “We are experiencing a reality based on a thin veneer of lies and illusions…”
How do we change the world right now, and who is responsible for these lies and illusions?
If you asked me, my first instinctive answer would be to say, “The trouble rests with the likes of Trump, Zuma, Putin (worth $200 billion, according to Business Insider) politicians, churches, religions…”
But I’d be wrong. I –we – can do nothing about those things, but we can do everything about ourselves.
You see the question, “Maybe it’s me?” is one of the most powerful we can ask. If I can acknowledge my own prejudice, bigotry, righteousness and judgements, then I am on the fast-track to freedom and power, because the truth – that which we say we so desire – can be set free.
It takes courage to do that, because it is much easier to blame those issues on something outside ourselves.
And the key? Yes, that old chestnut: responsibility. The one we want others to take but are so unwilling to take ourselves. (If you don’t please get in touch for an interesting conversation by commenting below.)
Responsibility is one of the most powerful words there is, but it has an image problem. My associations with the word were normally when I was in trouble: “take responsibility and clean your room!” “You got a bad report, when are you doing to take responsibility?
I don’t always jump at it, but boy, when I do my life changes instantly.
What does responsibility mean to you?
Consider this from one of the grand old men of personal development, Werner Erhard. It’s one of the most powerful things I have ever read and has saved my life I am sure on more than one occasion:
To illustrate the power of responsibility, take a look at this TEDx Talk by Kermit Alexander on forgiveness and see and feel the way in which he takes responsibility with courage and dignity for the event that lead to the loss of 4 of his family members in one shooting:
You can find out more about what happened here.
What do you/ are you complaining about?
What responsibility can you take for your part in that?
In my view, taking responsibility – especially when we feel wronged or innocent – is the hardest work there is to do – and also the most worthwhile. It’s at the epicentre of the work I do in my speaking and courses that forms the bedrock for personal transformation.
What do you think? Agree? Disagree?