The root of accountability comes from an Old French word acontable, which means “answerable” or literally, “liable to be called to account.” Acontaphobia is not a word, but it should be: the fear of accountability. Hypengiaphobia is the fear of responsibility, which is close enough.
Of all the fears we know, the fear of accountability is rarely discussed, but seems to be right up there on the leaderboard with Death and Public Speaking. Even more interesting is that people with a fear of accountability also tend to fear people who actively practice accountability. They spend a great deal of time and energy trying to irrationally rationalize their own resistance to accountability instead of working towards being more accountable. They often do so by referring to people that hold them accountable as being inflexible or worse intimidating. As lopsided as it may be, make no mistake – no amount of bullshit or lies will ever amount to a truth.
Life is not lived on a Pass/Fail grading scale. However, many of us feel the need to end each day with such extreme weighted grades. The day was either success or failure. That’s absolute thinking and life is far more relative than absolute. That’s why the grading scale goes from A+ all the way down to F. Both success and failure have wiggle room. We also don’t often allow ourselves the luxury of marking periods; a duration of time to reflect back on a periods in our lives to gather up enough data to make informed decisions about how we are doing. Moreover, we often overlook the beauty of getting a C.
The slogan “Life is Good” really means to appreciate the notion that balance is what we need. Life’s grading scale: C is good, B is better, A is best, A+ is stellar, D is not great, E is worse, F is rock bottom. In reality, are our days either “stellar” or “rock bottom?” Likely not, yet we likely know people who devote their energy to such extremes. How draining it must be to live only knowing extreme highs and lows. There’s no balance. Life teeters! Teetering gives us perspective to know the difference between what we want to push ourselves towards, and what we want to move away from. That’s balance! When life is good, we have the energy to push for excellence. Energy comes from knowing the value of balance.
What do we have to do today? Live and be where we are. That’s it! Everything else we experience is put upon us by our expectations and desires for outcomes to situations we cannot control. That informs how we feel about what’s happening. As we know, when how we feel is at the mercy of either what’s happened or what happens next, that doesn’t bode well for feeling good.
To be means to exist. It doesn’t mean thinking about how or why we exist. There is no suffering to existence, because there is no feeling. To feel is to be aware of our existence. Suffering comes from our devotion to how we feel about what’s already happened or fearing the worst about what hasn’t happened yet.
Anger is neither armor nor umbrella. If it were, it would be armor made of bubble wrap or an umbrella made of sponge. Ineffective. Anger can only be used effectively as a weapon against us. But that too is ineffective if we already know that using anger to combat anger is fruitless. Self-control is impenetrable. Our self-control may anger others, but that’s outside our sphere of influence and not worth our time.
The next time you are on the receiving end of an unexpected behavior by another person, be it a co-worker, neighbor, stranger, or even some family members, may you remember this: They have been them longer than they have known you.
Then ask yourself: Was their behavior a reaction to something I did or said? Was my unexpected behavior the initiate?
The real problem with perfection is not the pursuit of excellence, but rather the ignoring of those whom are already the “best” in the areas in which we aim to exceed. Perfection is a batting a thousand. Baseball legend, Ty Cobb, retired in 1928 and managed to have a career batting average of .367 over the course of 24 seasons. To have a 63% failure rate and be considered one of the best or “the best” holds some interesting data.
Those aiming to be better than “the best” are shooting for a 62% failure rate. It hasn’t been achieved in 90 years in terms of baseball, and yet there are Hall of Famers and future Hall of Famers that are incredible ball players. None of them are striving to bat a thousand. Why? Because a 62% failure rate would make them legendary. We can all learn from those statistics to inform how we approach and define success. Success is stepping up to the plate having learned something from our previous at bats. Perhaps instead of striving to “Keep it 100,” if we aim to “Get it 62,” we will all be legendary.