Extreme ownership, a concept made popular by retired United States Navy SEAL Jocko Willink, is the idea that ‘leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.’ In my opinion, this is an ideal mindset not only for leaders but for everyone in general to incorporate into their everyday life because you should be able to feel as though you control your own destiny and that you are not at the mercy of the world around you.
There’s three main components about extreme ownership that I want to discuss and want you to take away from it.
Be able to admit your mistakes when you make them, and take complete ownership for them. It’s perfectly fine for you to take credit for success as long as you also take ownership of your failures. Instead of trying to place the blame on another person or an external force, take responsibility and think about what you could have done differently. Learn from your shortcoming and think about what you can do differently next time to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Here’s a TED Talk video of Jocko Willink talking about extreme ownership:
Stop making excuses. Excuses are lies, and they’re the centrepiece of failure. Some people see the goal that they’re chasing, and some people fixate on the obstacles in their way and why they ‘can’t’ achieve their goal. The majority of the time what’s truly going to prevent you from achieving your goals is a lack of optimism and the perception that you can’t overcome the obstacles that are in your way. There are plenty of people who were in worse predicaments and situations than yours and they still found ways to succeed. Instead of thinking of why you won’t be able to accomplish your goals, devise strategies to work your way around the obstacles to get to your destination. The route that you take to your destination isn’t as important as simply getting there.
I encourage you to keep the following in mind:
- Do not place blame elsewhere
- Own your mistakes
- Aim to continuously improve, because there is always room for improvement
- Success is your responsibility
- Do not complain, ruminate, or dwell because these are a waste of time Instead, take feedback from your predicaments and think about what you’ll do differently next time
- Do not spectate at your own life; actively engage in it
- Recognise that your decision and your habits have consequences
- Have a good attitude
- You’re more productive when you’re positive
- Your attitude sets the tone for your environment
Recognise and understand that your behaviour matters. Every decision that you make, and every habit of yours, dictates your destiny. Success comes from your habits, and you have the power to choose your habits. Every decision that you’ve ever made has guided you to where you are right now. Instead of being a spectator of your own life, decide to actively engage and take ownership of your life.
Matthew Buckley is an Organisational Psychologist. He received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the State University of New York at Brockport in 2010, and received his master’s degree in Organisational Psychology with a concentration in Conflict Management from the University of New Haven in 2015. His main areas of interest include career counselling, conflict management, emotional intelligence, employee retention, leadership and management, morale and motivation, personnel selection and recruitment, and self-promotion.
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