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July 25th, 2018

The concept of responsibility has a feeling to it much like bitter medicine.  Something that’s probably good for us, but something that is perhaps not pleasant, a burden even.


But is a responsibility a burden?


Perhaps.  These two words might just be different ways of looking at the same thing.  Burden is simply listed as a heavy load.  For a body builder, this is perhaps ideal.  We do not get stronger without challenging ourselves with heavier loads.  But what about responsibility, what exactly is it?


It’s perhaps most interesting to define this word by rearranging it’s phonetic constituents.


We can say that responsibility is simply…


The ability to respond.



For the body builder, the heavy burden is exactly what they need.  The body builder has the ability to respond to a heavy load.


Perhaps something becomes a burden when the load is too heavy and our ability to respond to a load or task or obligation is too weak.


Or perhaps we are just feeling lazy.  But then again, when it comes to responsibility, is there much difference between being lazy and weak?


When something happens.  Do we freeze?  Do we remain idle and lazy?


Or do we respond?




Defining the word ‘responsibility’ with these two question puts a spin on it that makes responsibilities seem less like a burden and more like a challenge, a call to action, a time to rise, something to achieve.


And just like the body builder, we can constantly challenge our ability to respond and Level-Up.  If our ability to respond grows stronger than we can easily take on more responsibilities. 


The ability respond merely means that we are a person of agency.  That we can have an effect, that we can take action and achieve something.




When something happens - even something as simple and subtle as the beginning of a new day:



How do you respond?



this episode references Episode 42: Level-Up.  If you don’t fully understand the reference, I suggest checking out that episode next.


*-ility the suffix is strangely not etymologically related to the word ‘ability’ even though they mean practically the same exact thing and the spellings are suspiciously similar.  How this occurs is befuddlingly funny to think about.  The etymological dictionary used here claims there is no relations but says that they both come from the same latin root abilitas which is perfectly appropriate for the uses of this post.

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Podcast Ep. 101: Responsibility

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