Over the years, I’ve had numerous conversations with a variety of people who were successful, who were unsuccessful and some in between the two extremes.

The biggest difference between the successful and unsuccessful was centered around the word Responsibility.

Every person whom I’ve met who considered themselves to be successful also had plenty of unsuccessful moments in life.

And those who considered themselves unsuccessful really did have moments of success but have decided to ignore those moments instead of building on them.

Rarely have I seen someone be successful without taking a measure of responsibility for their success.

Often I have seen the unsuccessful play the blame game and remain stuck.

Put political opinion aside and no matter what you feel about President Obama, you have to admit that it is pretty amazing that someone from his background became the Chief Executive of our country. Son of a single woman, mixed racial heritage, just two of the items on a long list that could have prevented him from success.  With just those two factors it is a wonder that he graduated college instead of living a life of poverty.

The same can be said of his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.  He could have lived a life of a spoiled brat spending the family fortune and accomplishing nothing on his own.

Yet he took the hand that he was dealt and decided to take responsibility to carve his own way in this world.

Step away from politics.

A childhood friend of mine who was raised (along with his brother and 2 sisters), by a single Dad, several years ago started a company with his Dad in his garage that now produces income for dozens of families and has continued to grow years after his father passed away.  This should not have happened, but it did because of taking responsibility for his life.

Contrast this story with one I was told recently about a man who is in his early 60’s and literally living under a bridge in Fort Wayne. As he was pouring out his frustrations recently about having not a dime to his name, my thoughts wandered back a few years ago when he had thousands of dollars to his name, a place to call home that was paid for and yet he decided to let it all slip away, day by day, week after week until it was all gone.

Again I say the word Responsibility is key to all these stories.

In my own life, I’ve had plenty of unsuccessful moments.  I’ve even had times when I wanted to sit in that pool of self-pity.  Sometimes it took someone else to wake me up and encourage me to move forward again, which I have done, over and over again.

A few years ago, a pastor at our church made a comment about how many of us wait for God to open doors in our lives to move forward.  He challenged us to go and open our own doors.  And to change our prayer to, “God, lock the doors you don’t want me to walk through”.

It’s a lesson for all of us.

Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.