In this activity, you will experiment with the Creator role. By choosing to take responsibility for your life, you will immediately gain an increased power to achieve your greatest potential.
1. Write and complete each of the five sentence stems that follow. For example, someone might complete the first sentence stem as follows: If I take personal responsibility for my education, I will focus on really learning and not just getting good grades.
If I take personal responsibility for my education . . .
If I take personal responsibility for my career . . .
If I take personal responsibility for my relationships . . .
If I take personal responsibility for my health . . .
If I take personal responsibility for all that happens to me . . .
2. Make a choice—write about one of the following:
A. What have you learned or relearned in this journal about personal responsibility, and how you will use this knowledge to improve your outcomes and experiences in college . . . and beyond? If you are aware that accepting personal responsibility conflicts with your own cultural or personal beliefs, explore how you will deal with that difference. You might begin, By reading and writing about personal responsibility, I have learned . . .
B. Share the details of a personal experience in which you did or did not take personal responsibility and explain the effects of this choice on your life.
3. In this activity, you will practice the language of personal responsibility. By learning to translate Victim statements into Creator statements, you will master the language of successful people.
First, review the list of 10 Victim statements that follow. Then, in the space provided, translate each of the Victim statements into the words of a Creator. The two keys to Creator language are taking ownership of a problem and taking positive actions to solve it. Ownership and a plan. When you respond as if you are responsible for a bad situation, then you are empowered to do something about it (unlike Victims, who must wait for someone else to solve their problems). Use the translations earlier in this section as models.
1. If they'd do something about the parking on campus, I wouldn't be late so often.
2. I'm failing my online class because the site is impossible to navigate.
3. I'm too shy to ask questions in class even when I'm confused.
4. She's a lousy instructor. That's why I failed the first test.
5. I hate group projects because people are lazy and I always end up doing most of the work.
6. I wish I could write better, but I just can't.
7. My friend got me so angry that I can't even study for the exam.
8. I'll try to do my best this semester.
9. The financial aid form is too complicated to fill out.
10. I work nights so I didn't have time to do the assignment.
4. Write what you have learned or relearned about how you use language: Is it your habit to speak as a Victim or as a Creator? Do you find yourself more inclined to blame yourself, blame others, or seek solutions? Be sure to give examples. What is your goal for language usage from now on? How, specifically, will you accomplish this goal? Your paragraph might begin, While reading about and practicing Creator language, I learned that I . . . Remember to DIVE DEEP!
5. In this activity, you will apply the Wise Choice Process to improve a difficult situation in your life. Think about a current problem, one that you're comfortable sharing with your classmates and teacher. As a result of this problem, you may be angry, sad, frustrated, depressed, overwhelmed, or afraid. Perhaps this situation has to do with a grade you received, a teacher's comment, or a classmate's action. Maybe the problem relates to a job, a relationship, or money. The Wise Choice Process can help you make an empowering choice in any part of your life.
Write the six questions of the Wise Choice Process and answer each one as it relates to your situation. As a reminder, The Wise Choice Process is:
What's my present situation? (Describe the problem objectively and completely.)
How would I like my situation to be? (What is your ideal future outcome?)
What are my possible choices? (Create a long list of specific choices that might create your preferred outcome.)
What's the likely outcome of each possible choice? (If you can't predict the likely outcome of an option, stop and gather more information.)
Which choice(s) will I commit to doing? (Pick from your list of choices in Step 3.)
When and how will I evaluate my plan? (Identify the specific date and criteria by which you will determine the success of your plan.)
6. Write what you learned or relearned by doing the Wise Choice Process. Be sure to Dive Deep. You might begin: By doing the Wise Choice Process, I learned that I . . . Remember, you can enliven your journal by adding pictures you found, drawings of your own, or quotations or song lyrics that appeal to you.
7. In this activity, you will practice disputing the judgments of your Inner Critic and your Inner Defender. As you become more skilled at seeing yourself, other people, and the world more objectively and without distracting judgments, your self-esteem will thrive. Write a sentence expressing a recent problem or event that upset you. Think of something troubling that happened in school, at work, or in your personal life. For example, I got a 62 on my math test.
8. 2. Write a list of three or more criticisms your Inner Critic (IC) might level against you as a result of this situation. Have your Inner Guide (IG) dispute each one immediately. Review the four methods of disputing described in the section Disputing Irrational Beliefs. You only need to use one of them for each criticism. For example,
IC: You failed that math test because you're terrible in math.
IG: It's true I failed the math test, but I'll study harder next time and do better. This was only the first test, and I now know what to expect next time.
9. Write a list of three or more criticisms your Inner Defender (ID) might level against someone else or life as a result of this situation. Have your Inner Guide (IG) dispute each one immediately. Again use one of the four methods for disputing. For example,
ID: You failed that math test because you've got the worst math instructor on campus.
IG: I have trouble understanding my math instructor, so I'm going to make an appointment to talk with him in private. John really liked him last semester, so I bet I'll like him, too, if I give him a chance.
10. Make a choice—write about one of the following:
A. Write what you have learned or relearned about changing your inner conversation. Your journal entry might begin: In reading and writing about my inner conversations, I have discovered that . . . . Wherever possible, offer personal experiences or examples to explain what you learned.
B. One instructor said about this journal entry: "While I understand the importance of having students change their inner conversations, I don't think they ever actually apply what they write in their journals to the challenging situations in their lives. In other words, there's a big gap between what they learn and what they do." Write a reply to this instructor expressing your opinion about her concern.
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