The Greatest Skill You Can Learn to Live a Better Life

epic mountain

Today, I’m going to teach you the greatest skill you can possess as a human being.

You are human, right?

It will make you more successful, improve your life in every aspect, help you lose weight, open the doors to whatever you want.

However, it can also be incredibly painful and will teach you a lesson that most don’t want to learn.  It might make you angry and might take some time before you accept it, but you’ll be a better person because of it.

This is the skill that all other changes and improvements stem from:

Personal responsibility.

What most people do…

sad dog

When something goes wrong, most people’s first instinct is to blame their bad luck, pass the blame on to others, or simply lament about their particular situation:  

  • If they’re overweight and unhealthy, they blame the fast food industry, the soda industry, the restaurant industry, their lack of time, or their genetics/parents.
  • If they’re late to work, they blame the cars in front of them for not going faster or waiting too long at stop signs.
  • If they’re in a job they hate that doesn’t pay them enough, they blame the economy or their boss for keeping them down.
  • If they get turned down for a date or dumped, they blame the other person for being an idiot and not recognizing the amazing person in front of them.

It’s much easier to pass the blame and responsibility onto somebody else, so there’s no guilt necessary when no action is taken!  

Accepting personal responsibility, on the other hand, can be far more painful. As Mark Manson points out in his awesome article:

You start by realizing “Nobody gives a sh**.” And that we’re all dealing with serious baggage:

Everybody has been screwed over.

Everybody has a crappy boss.

Everybody has bad genetics.

It requires us to stop looking outward and stop relinquishing responsibility for improvement – which isn’t easy.

Once we stop blaming outside forces for our misfortunes or predicaments, there’s only one place to look: the mirror!

Let me explain why the mirror is the absolute best place to look if you want to live a leveled up life.

Why personal responsibility rules


Notice I said “responsibility” and not “fault.”

Where you are RIGHT NOW in your life is a combination of decisions you’ve made, steps you’ve taken, and events that have occurred outside of your control.  Although everything might not be your fault (sh** happens), it’s time to look at everything as if it were your personal responsibility to fix.  Some people get to play this game of Life on easy, and others get stuck playing on legendary difficulty.

It’s not fair, but that’s life.

Here’s why personal responsibility is so great: once you start accepting responsibility for your situation, you’ll realize that you don’t have to wait for anybody’s permission to make changes – nothing to wait for, nobody to ask. You can just…start. Immediately. Like right now. 

And then doors start to open.

Because you are the reason that you are where you are, you ALSO get to be the reason that you move forward.

This is why I love Adam Carolla – horribly inappropriate at times, but also a huge champion for personal responsibility. Even if you disagree with his political beliefs, on this issue, he’s a guy to be listened to.  This particular video on personal responsibility had me nodding my head in approval throughout.

“We can change. It’s the greatest thing about being a human being, and people squander it.”

Adam Carolla – Change Your Life Video

So, once you accept the fact that everything is your responsibility to fix or improve (even if it’s not your own fault), there’s a tremendous opportunity for growth.  When we can stop lamenting other people’s good luck and our bad luck, we begin to realize that luck has nothing to do with it! This great article by my friend Gary Arndt spells it out perfectly: “Why I’m not a lucky bastard.”

This is what separates successful people (read: Nerd Fitness Rebels) from those who are content to sit back and complain about their bad luck:

  • They accept responsibility for being overweight and out of shape, and identify ways to start making changes to their daily habits that start to turn things around.
  • They accept responsibility for their part of a failed relationship or less-than stellar interactions with meeting new people, and they identify ways to improve their social skills, work harder to make a better first impression, and take the time to analyze the type of person they really want to be with.
  • They accept responsibility for being in a job they hate in which they don’t get paid enough, and they identify new skills they can learn or online courses they can take to make themselves more valuable. They’re okay with having that uncomfortable but necessary “I deserve a raise and here’s why” talk with their boss.

My struggles

traffic jam danbo

Now, just because I spend my time helping others live leveled up lives doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with this stuff too!  I’ve made it a personal project to address a number of the things about myself that I felt needed fixing, both physically and mentally, since moving here to Nashville:

I’m in the process of trying to level myself up in one particular way that has already helped tremendously:  

My tardiness! I noticed that I had an issue with getting upset whenever I was late for something.  I would angrily YELL at people in the cars in front of me for going too slow. I’d get mad at the light for not changing to green faster. I’d get mad at the elevator for not arriving faster.

Instead, I’ve had to internalize this as a learning experience – I’m getting angry because I’M LATE, not because other people are slow.  So, I’ve made it a focal point to be on time or early these days, and to only blame myself when I am late!

I already feel like less of an ass.

Accept responsibility

big smile

Starting today, I challenge you to complete an audit of your life and take responsibility for fixing it.

Take the time to recognize then analyze why you’re unhappy and what can be better…whether it’s with your appearance, relationships, job, or life.

Identify the things in your life that you’re unhappy with, then start taking steps, even teeny tiny ones, to start improving them.

Because we CAN change.

I see it every freaking day!

I get to watch people lose tremendous amounts of weight, find happiness and self confidence, and completely transform their lives. When people email me and say “your site changed my life,” I let them know that I’m just a nerd writing articles. THEY are the ones taking action; they are the ones who have changed their own lives, and need to thank themselves!

Nerd Fitness Rebels accept responsibility for the hole they’re in, because they then get to accept responsibility for the eventual success that comes from personal development.  And that success IS coming.  They will get to look in the mirror with pride and say “I am responsible for the good things that are happening to me. Nobody else. I did it.”

Like this kid will tell you in one of the more inspirational videos I’ve seen recently: “stop being boring, start being awesome.”

Pep talk from Kid President

Dig deep!

I challenge you today – leave a comment with one aspect of your life that you’ve been passing the blame on up until now, and one step you’re going to take today to start fixing it!

And if there’s an aspect of your life that’s jacked up,

Let me know how I can help!


Today’s Rebel Hero: @BekBoots – An Aussie currently living in Munich, Germany who posted maybe the most enthusiastic tweet ever about receiving her Nerd Fitness shirt! When you can have that kind of smile while exercising in the snow, you know you’re doing something right, Bek!


Have an awesome picture of you rocking your Nerd Fitness gear?  Send it in to us at so we can make you the next Rebel Hero!  


photo source: epic mountain topdanbo traffic jam, epic sunrise, sad dog, big smile

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