What is Responsibility?

May 2nd, 2007 by

If we take those two words, response and ability, and turn them around, we get the “ability to respond”.” Now we can define the word responsibility as the ability to respond to a situation. Every day we are faced with situations, we decide in each and every situation how we are going to respond, often this happens subconsciously in accordance to our ingrained beliefs.

When something happens and we perceive the outcome to be negative, our ability to decide how we want to respond to that outcome is vitally important. A negative reaction will increase the negativity that surrounds us, whereas a positive reaction will increase the positive energy that we seek to create. This is very true in teaching as well. It is not what situations we encounter but the grace we handle the situations with that determines the outcome.

It is sometimes difficult to respond positively to a negative situation, but a simple adjustment in perception and therefore attitude can change the situation from an issue to an opportunity.

For instance, it can be extremely frustrating if a student continually refuses to practice. Based on our new definition of “Responsibility” we have an immediate responsibility and can create a positive outcome or stir up negative energy. Choosing to be angered by the ill prepared student, will only attract more negative energy and to add insult to injury the student will probably not want to practice at all now. In short they have conditioned themselves to the fact that the consequence for not practicing is enduring a brief lecture.

Choosing to take a deep breath and realize that people do not do things to us but for themselves will take the personal sting out of the situation and alleviate the need to waste any time being upset. This is true because we will not be focused on ourselves and the idea that someone “did this to me” when the reality is the student that didn’t practice was in a hurry to do something else and or was not enjoying the music and we never even crossed their mind.

Changing our perspective will stop us from engaging in creating, storing or sharing negative energy. Be mindful that in order to make effective decisions and respond with a positive attitude you must be in a state of logic. High Emotion is equal to Low Intelligence.

Sometimes what we need is to change our response, perception or attitude. If we are continuing to encounter “negative” situations or results, we may “need” to listen to the responses and interactions we receive as they can redirect our thinking in order to receive a positive outcome. So next time a student doesn’t practice, don’t get mad, ask quesions, stay calm and change your perspective. It might just change the whole dynamic.

Posted in Teaching Tips

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