Sunday Snippet: Theodore Roosevelt

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”

You might remember a few years ago when I wrote about locus of control. If you have an internal locus of control, it means that you believe your personal outcomes are the result of your own actions. You got that promotion, because you worked hard. You failed the test, because you didn’t study.

If you have an external locus of control, on the other hand, it means that your personal outcomes are caused by outside sources. You got that promotion, because no one else applied. You failed the test, because the test was unfairly difficult.

What You See Isn’t What You Get

While it is certainly true that outside circumstances can have a dramatic impact on what happens in your life, it is also true that your life is what you make of it. Two people can be faced with exactly the same situation, but interpret it in entirely different ways and thus react to it in entirely different ways.

We all have to learn that the world owes you nothing, so you just have to make do with what you have. You have to find your own opportunities and capitalize on them. It’s not enough to dream, to hope and to wait for things to happen. If you want something, then you have to do something about it.

Kicking Down the Door

Yes, someone may open a door for you, but it’s still up to you to step through it. Even if no one opens the door for you, the onus still falls on you to figure out which door you want, how to open it, and whether or not you want to step through it. Outside forces can make this more difficult, to be sure, but it is only through a sense of personal responsibility that you’re going to get anything accomplished. People of lesser circumstance than you have achieved a lot more.

Through the Looking Glass

Known more casually as “Teddy” Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States, holding the post from September 1901 to March 1909. He also served as Vice-President under William McKinley from March 1901 to September 1901. Theodore Roosevelt is the youngest president ever (sworn in at the age of 42), best known for his broad range of interests and achievements.

In the quote above, he reminds us that the real person to blame for most of your trouble is you. Even if the world hands you lemons, you just have to make the best of what you get. After all, lemonade is extra tasty when you know that you’re the one who made it.