The buck stops with you


“The buck stops here”

This phrase originated with poker to indicate whose turn it was to deal. If a person didn’t want to deal, he would pass the buck, a marker such as a knife with a buckhorn handle, to the next player.

Since President Truman, this phrase has come to mean accepting responsibility. As President, this meant accepting responsibility for everything within the Federal government.

One of my best traits has always been the ability to get things done. Regardless of the situation, whether it was at work or a personal matter, I knew that as long as I was in the right, by going up the management chain someone would listen, take responsibility, and then do the right thing.

Unfortunately, that is a thing of the past. Try going up the management chain today and see where that gets you.

The problem now is that almost everyone passes the buck. Corporate leaders, whose company is caught in a scandal, plead ignorance, passing the buck to subordinates. If profits aren’t high enough, they pass the buck to customers and workers.  Killers pass the buck to their parents. Criminals pass the buck to society. Adults pass the buck to their parents. Even Washington has joined the bandwagon. The president passes the buck to congress and to the other party. Congress passes the buck to the white house. All of them pass the buck to somebody else, when things are bad, yet take all of the credit for anything good which has happened.

The majority of people pass the buck when things go bad, but take it back when things improve. Many actually proclaim the ‘buck stops with them’, but make it impossible to find or reach them in order to give them the buck. One can send a letter to the White House or the corporate headquarters of many corporations addressed to the President, but the letter would be screened by so many people that the likelihood of the President actually seeing the letter are very slim. That is unless the letter was overflowing with praise.

As a result, there is no empathy from those around. There is no motivation for anyone to do what’s right, especially knowing they’ll get blamed if something bad happens, and that someone else will get the credit for anything good.

Many of us are exactly the same way. We continually pass the buck. When things go bad, we think to ourselves “It was David’s fault I got laid off.” “It was Susan’s fault Jim left me.” “It’s my partner’s fault that I’m not happy, or broke, or depressed.”

If we want others to take us seriously, to have empathy for what happens to us, we have to begin accepting responsibility for our lives. If we want to be happy and not worry what others are thinking, we have to take responsibility not just for ourselves, but for what happens to us.

If you want to be able to live with yourself, you have to take complete responsibility for your life. This also means that you have to be reachable, that someone can reach your heart and your mind.  It means that you don’t ‘yes’ people, but actually listen to what they’re saying.

We don’t hesitate to take credit when something good happens. When things don’t go our way, we have to take responsibility for it. By taking responsibility, we’re acknowledging that it’s within our power to make it right.

Always remember, no matter what everyone else is saying or doing, when it comes to you and your life, the buck stops with you! Don’t just say it, but live it!

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