Incompetent Infants Aren’t Responsible to do Hard Things

Life without responsibility is easier than life with responsibility. Don’t seek management or leadership if fishing, video games, or playing golf are your greatest aspirations.

Anyone who thinks responsibility is easy is irresponsible.

You learn to embrace responsibility when you learn the value of doing hard things.

Bird on one leg.

Choose responsibilities carefully. They set the trajectory of your life.


You lose respect for yourself when you abdicate responsibility for yourself.

You devalue yourself when you expect others to do for you what you are able to do for yourself.


You are responsible for the quality of your life and work – unless you are incompetent. You don’t expect incompetent infants to feed themselves, for example. But competence includes responsibility.

Growth and learning have meaning because they improve competence and enable responsibility.

Choose responsibilities carefully. They set the trajectory of your leadership.

3 responsibilities of leadership:

  1. Notice when people are at their best. Warts and pimples are magnetic.
  2. Respond to unforeseen events and unexpected consequences with forward-facing curiosity.
  3. Focus on becoming your best self, not on getting the best results. Your goal is winning, but your focus is bringing your best self to challenges and opportunities.

3 ways to develop responsibility:

#1. View leadership as a calling, not a career.

Contribute to others so deeply that self-care has a reason.

  1. Turn your focus outward. The next time you feel sorry for yourself, get out of yourself.
  2. Think more about giving than receiving.
  3. Stop using disappointment with others as an excuse for self-pity. Self-centered people justify irresponsibility.

#2. Accept a difficult and meaningful assignment:

You rise to the height of your responsibilities.

#3. Have an unfinished work:

“A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward … an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the “why” for his existence and will be able to bear almost any “how”.” Viktor Frankl

What are the core responsibilities of leadership?

How might leaders develop responsibility in others?