What happens when responsibility is avoided? What does life look like for someone who does not follow a purpose or take responsibility? Many of us have witnessed people living in this state. A state of wasted potential. Living stagnant without direction or motivation. Avoiding the future and letting opportunity slip by.
The most concerning factor of a person living in the state of wasted potential is they usually are aware of the changes they need to make, yet they continue to justify their current behavior. They assign blame and reason to external factors which justify their failing to live up to their potential. But these external causes provide false justification and cause the person and those around them to suffer while they ignore personal responsibility.
The last post explored the idea of positive motivation behind being responsible. That which is most valuable is discovered when we live a purposeful and responsible life. This post will explore the negative consequences of avoiding responsibility and how that avoidance creates a downward spiral of mental suffering associated with wasted potential.
A search of ancient wisdom provides countless stories which explore this topic. One of the most common and oldest of these stories is Jonah and The Whale.
While there are many versions of this story, the common theme is pretty consistent. Jonah is a timid guy who tries to live a good life by God. The neighboring society is corrupt and destroying itself. God speaks to Jonah telling him to warn the people within the corrupt society to change their ways before it destroys them. Jonah half-heartedly attempts to convey this warning to the people but he is ridiculed for his efforts.
God continues to tell Jonah to take on the responsibility in front of him and warn the corrupt people of their need to change. Jonah avoids his responsibility and runs away. He attempts to flee on a boat and work among the crew, avoiding his responsibility but God sends a terrible storm upon the boat and Jonah determines his presence is putting the crew in danger so he offers to leave the boat and float off into the ocean, drawing the storm away from the crew.
Jonah departs from the crew and finds himself alone in chaos avoiding his God given responsibility. Floating aimless over the unknown abyss, Jonah is then swallowed by a monsterous whale which comes up from the abyss.
After three days in the belly of the whale, Jonah finally excepts responsibility and begins taking steps toward living up to his potential. Jonah is quickly cast out of the depths of dispair and onto dry land, where he picks up his burden and carries it back home, taking responsibility for his task.
As we followed Jonah, he observed a problem which if left unattended would have catastrophic effects. Jonah made a feeble attempt at addressing the problem, and when it proved to be a difficult task, he ran away further and further into loneliness and chaos until he found himself completely swallowed up by darkness and dispair.
The take away from this ancient archityple story is that when a person runs away from responsibility, there is a tendency for all aspects of life to be dragged down a spiral into despair. Respectfully accept responsibility and remain tough when carrying that burden becomes difficult. This is the groundwork for the Lombard Rangers core values.