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"Accountability" Needs A New Hype Man (Or Woman)


Instead of being the compass of our lives, accountability has become the yoke around our necks. It’s more cattle brand than north star.

Because, look at how we talk about accountability:

  • “You should be more accountable.”

  • “You have to take accountability.”

  • “Who’s accountable for this?” (crickets...crickets)

  • “I wouldn’t have done it if you didn’t…”

  • "It wasn't my fault..."

Accountability has become the thing we dodge, because if we’re slapped with the scarlet letter of ownership, then we can’t hide from the consequences. And now, more than ever, everyone’s looking (or so we tell ourselves), so we need an “out” if things don’t go as planned.

But why the negative spin to accountability? Why can’t we have it work for us, to liberate us? In the vein of last week’s post, I want to challenge us on how we use words.

A friend of mine, Dhru Purohit, has a really great podcast, like really great. On a recent trip to LA, I was chatting with him, admiring him for his work and he told me: “Your book, The Accountability Effect was a big part of my inspiration,” (I might be paraphrasing), “it taught me that accountability wasn’t something we have to do, it’s something we get to do.” (He 100% said this part like that.)

Instead of “accountability” feeling like a threat, maybe it should sound more like:

Lucky you, who has a say in their story.

Accountability should be less a yoke on our lives, and more the reigns to it.

No you don’t have to exercise more/eat healthier/be kinder/start that project, but lucky you who has all your faculties to do those things. How wonderful opportunity and choice can be.

We try so hard to not be in control, to lean on whatever forces, fortunes, powers or gods to be the reason something didn’t go our way, or to explain why we did something, when if we just stopped and took account for our ability we would know that it is we who decides how things ultimately play out, no matter the set back.

The opposite of accountability isn't innocence, it's surrender.

Never give up the say you have in your life.

Treat accountability less like a tax you have to pay, and more a dividend you get to spend.

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© Bassam Tarazi 2020