Accountability and Responsibility and More:
Accountability and Responsibility: Wade
This is a very long post, it started out as a response to a
comment from Aztlan in the preceding blog post from Nov 3, 06. It turned into a long essay and I figured it
might as well go in this blog as it’s own post.
I will figure out how to ‘trim out’ some of the body of this post so
that I can keep a couple of main paragraphs here on the main page, but hide
most of it behind a link that you can click to read it all unabridged, till
then your stuck with the whole 7 page non edited enchilada.
--- enjoy ---
The whole idea behind being held accountable is so closely
tied to being responsible for something that it is hard to really distinguish
between the two. Some people seek more
and more responsibilities in life; they enjoy being held accountable for the
results of something that they were responsible for. Often when things go well, there is great
glory involved for those that were responsible for making it happen.
Some would prefer not to have the normal acclaim and the
glory that being the responsible person can often bring about. At least some
might like to receive the reward of successfully completing a responsibility in
a different way than today’s western society rewards those who succeed. Public
honors and such just might not be what that individual really wants. It may be different in eastern, or other
societies I really don’t know.
If a person falls into the category, where they are not
motivated by the glory they might achieve from taking on a responsibility and
making it work, then that person would need to be motivated by something
else. Fear of failure would be one thing
that motivates. Fear of failure, is a
powerful motivator, though perhaps, it’s not one of the most desirable. That fear might make one seek instead to
avoid responsibility altogether so that they never face even the opportunity to
I certainly hope that fear of failure isn’t the main
motivating factor in my life. Since I’m
not really motivated by the glory and recognition of success, one would have to
start to wonder at least, if fear played at least some part in the motivation
behind my desire to avoid responsibility.
If fear of failure was the main motivation, it’s not doing that good of
a job motivating; as I don’t really fear ‘failure’ or at least, I don’t fear
others thinking that I have failed according to their view of what is
I imagine that my definition of success is not one that
would readily be accepted ‘in the main’. That being the case, how could I look
to the approval of others for my motivation?
I just could not do it. That is
Thus we come back to the point of this article, Self
Accountability. I’m in the process of
setting up a monitoring structure that is based on my own definition of what
success is. Feed back from that structure is what I’ll use to judge my
successes. The status report I mentioned in the original post.
will do much better than my gut feeling at keeping me up to date on where I am
really at in my quest to achieve success.
It is very important that a person knows whether he has won for the
day. If the current social support
network that surrounds a person does not have exactly the same idea of what success
should be, then a person should not look to that social network to monitor their
progress. Instead they should look to
themselves to know weather or not they have won for the day. I once read, though I can’t remember who
wrote it, that;
“Every day a man should know whether he has won or lost.”
I completely agree with that.
It is interesting that Aztlan brought up something that when
compared to a conversation I recently had with my father, illustrates this
point very clearly. Dennis, (my father,)
and I were driving along and I got to talking about games and my gaming habits.
You see, I like to game, and I like to game allot. I was explaining how many of the successes
that I have had in this life related directly to the relationships that I had
developed through my association with other gamers. I spoke of how one fellow who went by the
name of ‘Slick’ had sent me some training materials and encouraged me to follow
my desire at the time to get into Information Technology as a career. His interest and mentorship, directly
influenced my actions which landed me a job on a project doing Y2K remediation
for AT&T Wireless. That path
eventually led to me managing a branch for that contractor company, then, by
mutual decision to a nice corporate career type of job with AT&T Wireless.
While working and traveling I actually utilized my online
gaming friends as a sort of permanent social network that provided some
emotional stability that frequent projects and moves would have made difficult to
develop using traditional methods. In
one case, no, at least two cases, skilled people that I hired came from that
very group of online gamers. Their skill
and expertise were a benefit to me and the companies that received their
services. I mention all of this, (though
I don’t think I went in to quite so much detail in the conversation with my
father,) to illustrate the benefits that my gaming habits had brought to my
life. I didn’t even begin to touch on the
technical skill acquired through having to tweak a computer system to get it to
run the game, and play said game on line with other people. At the time, back in the long lost days of
Dos, console prompts, 640 k chunks of memory to work with, batch files,
Winsock, and processor speeds measured in megahertz instead of gigahertz, you
really had to learn some stuff if you wanted to play, and learn even more if
you wanted to play with friends online.
Heh, I sound like the old timer that ‘walked up hill in 6
feet of snow just to go to school… both ways!’ but the truth is that today it’s
the exact same situation, if you want to connect with others and play with the
latest toy’s you still have to learn how to use technology. Ok, so I made my
arguments about how beneficial and what a strong motivator my desire to play
games on line has been over time.
As a parent even though your kids grow older, and in my case
I’m 35, well into middle adulthood, (at least according purely to statistics,)
you still concern yourself with your children’s well being.
A strong dedication to gaming and computers is not something
that can really be fully understood by anyone who doesn’t share that same
passion. To Dennis, (and lets be honest,
many people would agree with him,) all that time could be spent in better
pursuits. While I’m sure that he is right, can’t that same argument be made
about almost anything that we do in life?
I really don’t think that most of us have attained that
level of, as maslow says ‘Self Actualization’ where our pursuits in life are
geared towards the betterment of society all of the time. So for the dedicated golfer, fisherman,
football watching Couch Coach, the same thing might be said. Computer gaming is new, and has yet to really
find it’s true niche in society as a whole as of yet. Or at least not with the
older gamers yet. So, it is totally
understandable that a father would be concerned and have an opinion on what
time spent on the computer could better be used for. That being the case, Dennis, In a playful
tone so as not to offend, said something like:
“Well wade, you can rationalize all you want to, but the
truth is you’re actually addicted.”
Here is where the point to all this reminiscing leads. However first, let me add that the short
conversation that I was having with my dad, didn’t really have all of the above
arguments in it, and I’m glad, because had they contained them all, Dennis may
not have made that comment about addiction, (though he would argue that he
would have, I’m sure,) and had he not made such a comment, I would not have all
of this material to Blog about.
Ok, and now to the point of it all; I tried to explain to my
Dad that in the gaming community, I was really a light weight. I don’t think
that he was buying into any of that, so that’s where Aztlan’s comments really
come in handy. You see for all of my
time spent and the perceived dedication to the craft of gaming, I’m really not
‘that’ dedicated. Well to gaming in
whole I am, but to the level that true respect in the gaming community is
gained, no way.
Light weight is the best I could be considered. While I doubt that any of my close online
gamer friends would argue against the fact that zWolf (my online alias,) loves
to play games, or even that he spends a lot of time playing. It really takes a special effort to make your
mark in a game. As for the gaming group
that Aztlan and I are a part of, we go back for years and years… I think when I
started planning to play, and then playing Ultima Online with Aztlan I was 25
or 26, and he was probably only 16. I’m
35 now so I’m sure that several years have passed, and that he too has
increased in age.
I have participated in the leadership of the group several
times, and been happy as a member. Some
times, as I think all of the members have done at one time or another,
participation has waned somewhat when life’s adventures take up the time that
was previously dedicated to gaming.
Here is the thing, and I know that I am not alone in
this. I’m sure that every one belongs to
a few if not several different social groups.
If one of those social groups borders or is fanatical about something,
then in the social groups that are not as passionate about that thing, conflict
Let us take my case as an example. I am heavily involved in one social group,
consisting of friends family neighbors and most of the people that I would meet
on the street near my home. In this social group the general perception of
success would be things like Marrying well, Home / Property ownership, A decent
vehicle would be nice, with an SUV or Pickup being a nice indication of success
in at least in that arena.
Other things that social group would consider being a
success, would be financial wealth of course. How good your children were.
Pretty much success is defined in my social network of which I write in the same
way that most anyone who watches T.V., reads the news or generally participates
in this civilization has come to define it.
Though added to the mix would be quite a big dash of
religious adherence. Since even if
someone reached the panicles of all
other points of success, but had failed in his religious duty, true success, in
the eye’s of this society which I belong to, would definitely not have been
Since I typed it, I’ll leave it in, but after typing the
whole paragraph I realized, this is just an area that I’m hyper sensitive too
heh, thus the additional remarks regarding marriage:
In the society in which I belong to marrying well would mean
finding some one who was of the same faith, who had a good work ethic, had an
attitude of helpfulness to their neighbors, was pleasant in bearing and to the
eye, having money wouldn’t hurt, but isn’t really as important as being in
love, but… they would probably need to be a Republican, Conservative Independent
or at least a democrat who seemed to be conservative and didn’t really talk
about that shameful character flaw much.
Ok, now contrast this to the online gaming community, where
respect is gained when can play a game exceptionally well, how much time you
dedicated to playing that game, how fast your computer processor is, what
graphics card you were using, what phat lewts you had in game, how much you
helped your online guild, the amount that you participated with the out of game
community irc chat’s, forum board participation, and your technical skills
which are valued for helping others in the community get their rig’s running,
and online, as well has helping with advice on what to get for your machine or
what not to.
There are many things that add to the definition of success,
the point is they are very different things than marriage, house owner ship,
what kind of car that you drive, or how cute / nice your girlfriend / wife is.
One thing holds true though, those that are perceived as the most successful
are those that on a regular basis, can spend their time online with the other
members of the community associating or playing the game. It’s not like the person that spends the most
time is the most successful though, there are many additional factors and
nuances that help to raise or lower your position in the perceived but never
discussed higher arch of gamers.
Over all success is measured by your dedication to the games
that your community is playing at the time.
if the group is between games, then your success as a member is measured
by your participation in the community through chat rooms, forum boards,
helping out, sharing jokes, tech info, goodies ill gotten or obtained through
legal means etc.
The key here is that while in social network #1, for some
one to tell you that they feel that you are addicted to a game, it would be
considered a negative statement to your character.
The opposite is true of Social Network #2.
I absolutely love to play games where I can tell that many
of the players that I associate are “addicted” to the game. The term addicted definitely has positive
over tones though perhaps it is used in a playfully derogatory manner amongst
friends; it’s unspoken that by me saying you’re ‘addicted to the game,’ that I’m
giving you props. It is most definitely
So, and here is where it all ties together, in order for an
individual to attain success, that person must first define success for
If I based my measure of success on getting, doing, or
achieving the things that I thought
would win me respect in the eyes of the
various social networks that I associate with.
If I belonged to
several of these social networks and based my perception of my own personal
success on what I perceived the members of that social network judged success
to be, then it could become very messy, trying to attain success in the various
groups, especially if the objectives of those groups varied. Even if at the end of the day I did have the
respect and honor and glory from the various groups, have I really
succeeded? I imagine that the only way
that answer could be yes would be that if my own personal definition of success
was to please the various social networks that I was a part of.
back over that last sentence seems almost obvious that one wouldn’t define
personal success based on pleasing some one else. At first glance that sounds like a rather
frivolous and shallow goal. A long time
ago, I gave that very topic quite a bit of consideration. I really thought about it, and really took a
good honest look at how much of my time, and whether or not any of my life’s
goals were there in hopes of getting approval from others in the social
networks that I belonged to.
That is an interesting exercise to say the least. How many things do you do each day to get
others to like you, to respect you or to love you?
The question that follows that one then is; Is it wrong to
do things do each day to get others to like you, to respect you or to love you?
I’m going to have to say no, personally I came to the
conclusion that no it’s not wrong. I also decided that to think that is not
wrong didn’t make me an all together shallow person either. What it DID do for me is be very careful who
I selected to be in that group of people from whom I seek approval, love, and
respect. It also made me very aware of
how much freedom that I have in choosing how to succeed.
If I choose carefully who’s approval, love and understanding
that I seek, and work hard at not seeking the approval and understanding of
every one, then first of all I spend allot less time trying to convince people
that ‘my way’ is the right way. Lets be
honest, in most cases, it really doesn’t matter does it? Is there really any reason to spend pages and
pages of text on an internet chat forum dedicated to fans of the play station or
Nintendo gaming console, that the X-box is a better rig? Why am trying to convince some total stranger
named “THUNDARCAT386” of that anyway? Do
I really need him to agree with me? Do I
even want his approval, love or respect? If so, why? Just some natural need that is in all
humankind to seek social acceptance?
Heh, I can better dedicate that time and energy in seeking those things
from the short list of people that I really do care about.
I have become quite good at deciding if I am doing something
to please some one else, to get their approval, or if my actions are actually
more in line with what I really want, and what will help me to achieve the
success that I have defined personally for me.
The truth is because of how I was raised, and how I developed my own
perceptions of right and wrong etc. often times the action that will garner the
respect of some one in the social network that who I want to approve of me, are
right in line with the things that will help me achieve my own success.
The freedom to pick and choose, to do, or not do something
purely to seek approval from members of one social network group or the other,
have some side affects. Which include
not always doing the thing that would gain you the most respect of that person.
In the gaming community that I belong to, the side effect is
that I don’t put in quite as much time as a person would on the particular game
that we are playing. Or I’ll go great guns full bore ahead, spending as much
time as the most dedicated “addicted” player of our group for a few weeks, then
quickly just drift away, or adopt a style of play that is not as helpful to the
group over all.
Lucky for me, there are plenty of areas that I can continue
to shine in, to garner the respect of my gaming community. The relationships stay strong, and every one
is just happy when I come back for another gaming session with the group. I’m known more for my diversity in gaming,
and ability to develop good friendships quickly with the other members of the
group and both of those things come in handy to the group, which garner the
respect, approval, and love that I’d like to have there.
In the other group, the family, friends, and neighbors
group, the side effect of my choices to selectively pick when I do things for
approval purposes that are not really my own desires at the time, are that I
might not attend church as regularly as I ought, though my faith is still
strong, or I may miss more social get-togethers than perhaps one might were he
trying to maintain the highest approval rating in his peer group.
The net effect of this approach is very very good
though. You see, what ends up happening
is that when I DO something it is for the right reasons, it is because I really
want to do it. If I’m in a game socializing with my guild, I’m
in it because I really want to be there, not just because the game designer has
fashioned a devious program that forces a social system on the players if they
want to be super successful in the game, all because they know that those
social structures keep members coming back to pay another months subscription
fee’s long after a solo player would have gotten bored and moved on to
Anyway this is a lot of writing just to make the point which
the Greek’s and those that continue their discussions, have been chit chatting about for Eons.
“Temet Nosce!” And no less important, “Sui Juis”
(“Know Thyself” and “One’s Own Master”)
Ok all that being said, I have a whole different thread that
I’d like to write about sometime has to do with justifying this almost
‘selfish’ sounding approach to living life with the ‘selfless’ approach that is
taught in the holy words written by profits.
For a jumping off point for the next round of writing, I’ll
just say that to truly find happiness and attain success of an eternal nature;
every person should develop his relationship with God to the point that that
through prayer a partnership can be forged. It is my belief that there are many
things that we think are so very important that when we let God in as a partner
we find that they really are not really that important after all.
With a partnership formed and a clear understanding of what
God’s will is, you can pay attention to those few things that really are
important and attain eternal happiness. I guess the thing to keep in mind is
that even if you don’t pay attention, and you really don’t take care of those
few things that are really important, God is still there, arms out stretched,
and beckoning for you. So develop that personal relationship with him, and know
that even though you sure may not feel worthy of any help, he will still help
you in your pursuits. ( I wrote ‘you’ but obviously I’m writing to myself
here.. in my blog.)
29:4 in the book of Mormon has a great principle to teach:
“…for I know that he granteth unto men according to their
desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he allotteth
unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to
their wills, whether they by unto salvation or unto destruction.”
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