My mother used to describe individual responsibility in vivid terms. Whether it is a nightmare or a pleasant dream, you alone will sweat or smile. She would then advise to have pleasant thoughts during the day, and do no wrong that it comes to haunt you in your dreams.
Simplistically, if you do wrong, it's your hiney that will be hauled off to the jail, and you have to live with the torment and pain... others can bail you out, but cannot live with the feelings but sympathize. You have to live your life yourselves.
Then she would describe the end days, whether it is imaginary or real, but the feeling is real. On the last day, the Armageddon or Qayamat (Islamic belief), everything around you goes bonkers and everyone is looking to save his own tail. There will be no one for you, as each one is busy saving his or her own. I won't be there for you, and when you have kids, they will not be there for you either; you are on your own. So, she would add learn to take responsibility for the outcomes and live with it.
Those who do not believe in God, can imagine reflecting in solitude, and reckoning the good, bad and ugly things they have said and done like every one else. Do they feel joyful, remorseful and anxious? Religiously that is reward and punishment.
Do you recall the announcement on the airplanes? In case oxygen level drops, the mask will drop from the overhead compartment, please secure yourselves first, and then take care of your child and others.
I have learned that, ultimately no one but you is responsible for your happiness, a state of mind where we are most comfortable, secure and without fear. I have learned that we really do have the choice to make what we make of life. Happiness is not dependent on the things you have or the friends or family members you have, but rather your attitude towards your situation.
You can blame others and other things, but that will not change how you feel inside, you will have to live with yourselves. Take charge of your life, and be yourselves.
From this moment forward, make a commitment, however stupid it sounds, that you will be happy regardless of what surrounds you, and you are not a puppy to dance to the tunes of others, unless you choose to dance. Let life and all the things about life become your choices that do not mean you oppose everything, it simply means whatever your do in life, and you do it wholeheartedly.
You can make your life purposeful, meaningful and enjoyable, and can choose to be the driver of your life or be driven by others. The choice as well as the excuse is yours. I pray that we retain the ability to choose what we want in our lives.
Success is not necessarily driving a Mercedes, having a luxury home, yacht or making over a six-figure income. It is not about doing better than your friends, classmates, siblings or parents either.
Success is rather living the life you want to live with or without things.
Nothing in life is more important than knowing yourselves, who you are, what is that you want and how do you get it. Remember, no one but you knows you better.
Another year is about to go away. Some of my friends will read this note next year, but those who read it now, I urge you to consider spending an hour with yourselves creating a purposeful blueprint for 2014. The blue print is here.
Wish you happiness today, tomorrow and forever, the decision is yours.