Taking Responsibility

And why Jealousy is a Wasted Emotion

Guest Article by Coach Mike Mahler 

“If you are discontent but unwilling to give up what is holding you back, you will have to admit that it is you who has chosen to reject success and to abandon the dream of being all of the best you can be. If this is so, you can stop getting jealous whenever you see other people around you succeeding in the life you thought you wanted for yourself.”

– Chin-Ning Chu, from her book Do Less, Achieve More

Over the years, I’ve realized you can’t want success for others more than they want it for themselves. You can give someone the tools they need for success but if they don’t use those tools and follow through, success will always evade them.

You can send them opportunity after opportunity and introduce them to all the right people, yet success will always evade them. Why are some people not prepared to lay the groundwork for success? Who knows? As motivational speaker Jim Rohn says, “It’s one of the mysteries of the universe.”

The main reasons people fail to succeed?

Lack of self-responsibility and self-awareness.

You have to take charge of your life and take responsibility for your success. It’s not anyone else’s job but your own to be successful–as long as you rely on other people and relinquish responsibility, you won’t experience success. No matter what others do for you, if you don’t take responsibility for yourself, it’s all in vain.

I once had an online client who signed up for a three-month program. I put a program together for him and never heard back…until six months later when he emailed me complaining I’d let him fall off-course and that it was my fault he didn’t succeed.

In his world, it was my fault.

After all, he’d done his part in paying for the program, right? Wrong: you can’t buy success; success is earned through action. Yes, you can buy knowledge, which is critical to success–but certainly not everything, there are plenty of knowledgeable people out there in all manner of fields who aren’t successful, due to lack of right action.

Lets get back to the client.

The client didn’t follow the program designed for him and never sent me his training journal. I require all my clients to keep a training journal and to send me that journal every Friday for review. This keeps the client and I both engaged and committed; however, I clarify up front that if you neglect to email your journal I won’t be emailing you.

I’m not the type of trainer who’ll come to your house and wake you up in the morning or call everyday to motivate you–that’s not what “Aggressive Strength” is all about. I want to work with people who are ready to make a change and are self-motivated. These people require guidance, direction, and a personalized program to fit their lifestyle. That’s the service I provide–not coddling people and treating them like children.

The online client who didn’t follow through on his end chose to blame me for his lack of success, even though he chose to neither follow the program designed for him nor to send his journal for feedback. While he was motivated enough to pay for a training program, he wasn’t motivated enough to take the real-world action and responsibility necessary for his success.

Many people feel that if they’re paying someone for a service, that person is now responsible for their success. Well, it doesn’t work that way: no one else can do this work for you. You can’t drop the “success burden” upon others and expect positive results–such a mentality is for losers!

The best others can do for you is act as guides and consultants, supporting your getting on track and staying there. At the end of the day, you have to put in the work.

Next, lets talk about self-awareness: what do you know about yourself–and of what are you capable? What is it about yourself that holds you back? Plenty, probably, if you take an honest appraisal.

Yes, you have to take a ruthless look at yourself and address your weak points. Of course, this means actually accepting that you have weak points and then, more importantly, doing something about them. The former is often harder than the latter as it’s easy to wear blinders and blame circumstances or the world for your own lack of success–people do it every day.

One common trait holding back unsuccessful people is their jealousy of others’ successes.

The unsuccessful can’t stand to see people do what they themselves didn’t have the stones for. Whenever someone acquires success, the jealous people get angry. What they fail to realize is this: successful people are prepared to pay the price of success, thus any jealousy of that success is both petty and counterproductive.

Jealousy is a wasted emotion which misplaces your focus. Again, the focus needs to be not on others, but inward–on what you are prepared to do. Your own lack of success isn’t anyone else’s fault, and your wasted jealous energy won’t change this.

Rather than feeling jealousy around successful people, a better use of vital energy is feeling inspiration–realizing that what others can do, so can you. It boils down to that word no one wants to hear: sacrifice. What are you prepared to sacrifice for success? You can’t watch four hours of TV everyday, then waste four more hours surfing the Internet, then complain that you don’t have time for creating success.

When you take time to assess your situation and your daily habits, what becomes clear is what you’re not doing and thus, what needs to be done. The only question left is–what are you prepared to do now?

One thing is certain: days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. Before you know it, you’ve repeated the same year over and over again as a decade’s passed you by. But you always have this choice: if you’re content where you are, stay there and continue with your daily routine–or, choose a new direction for yourself and finish what you once started.

Live Life Aggressively!

Mike Mahler

Mike Mahler is one of the foremost authorities on strength training, kettlebell lifting, and hormone optimization. He presents the topics through many of his highly popular workshops worldwide and through his information products.  If you are an intermediate to advanced kettlebell lifter, make sure to check out his Kettlebell Training In The Age Of Quarrel

My deepest gratitude to Mike Mahler for his contribution to this humble blog. You rule Mike!

Coach Izzy

About The Author


Coach Izzy has been part of the Strength and Conditioning field for over 25 years. He speaks of the advantages of self-sufficiency and the drawbacks of relying on the liner approaches the health world seems fond of.