Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom
involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of
― Sigmund Freud
Long before self service became de rigueur in petrol stations I
subvented my drinking money as a student by filling petrol in
Dooley’s Esso station. It was the quintessential student job –
good money, great craic and bugger all responsibility. Or so I
My comrade in arms was a Connemara lad called Paddy Ridge.
One evening, the biggest Mercedes we’d ever seen pulled into
the forecourt and Paddy proceeded to fill it up. As he filled, the
driver chatted amiably to Paddy about business, student life and
his plans for a career.
All would have gone swimmingly had Amy Lally not chosen to
saunter through the forecourt en route to a Dramasoc rehearsal
at precisely that time. Any time Amy strutted her stuff on
University Road, the traffic would automatically stutter and
inevitably stop. It was said that Amy was the inspiration behind
the iconic lines in the Sawdoctors song ‘I useta love her’
‘I useta see her up the chapel when she went to Sunday Mass
And when she’d go to receive, I’d kneel down there
And watch her pass
The glory of her ass’
In any event, Paddy was momentarily distracted and
inadvertently spilled a dollop of diesel over the drivers
immaculate pinstripe suit. The scowl on the drivers face
had a lot in common with the smell and stain of diesel – it was
toxic and pungent and unlikely to disappear easily.
I’m always fascinated by the ways in which we react or respond
in a crisis. It occurred to me in that instant that Paddy had one
of three choices –
1. Mutter an excuse about the dodgy fuel line. It actually was leaking.
2. Blame the driver for standing too close to him.
3. Say nothing and hope nothing happened.
Paddy did none of the above.
Looking the driver calmly in the eye he said ‘I’m really sorry for
spilling that diesel on your fabulous suit. It was completely my
fault and shouldn’t have happened. Unfortunately it will smell
and you do need to get it dry cleaned immediately.’
Taking his wallet out of his pocket, he withdrew the only money
he had to his name, a carefully folded fiver and said to the
Mercedes owner. ‘There’s a great dry cleaners in Briar Hill
called Bee Green Dry Cleaners. They use completely natural
cleaning materials and your suit will be as good as new
afterwards. The owner is a man called Stevie Langan. He’s my
uncle. Tell him that Paddy Ridge sent you and to look after you.
If it’s not completely as good as new come back to me and I’ll
sort it out.’
That was the thing about Paddy. He took 100% responsibility
for the results in his life. His immediate response to every
circumstance in his life was:
I AM RESPONSIBLE.
When you live and die by the I AM RESPONSIBLE credo
there’s no room for excuses or blaming or complaining. As our
other great Smachter Stephen O’Brien would put it ‘It’s either
full duck or no dinner.’
These three simple words, if repeated regularly and lived with
gusto, guarantee to ensure you have your greatest year ever in
2014. That is, if you have the courage!
Emblazon those words in your mind now. Roar them out loud.
Roll them around your mouth as you would a fine wine perfectly
For these words are the panacea to all and every form of
procrastination and prevarication.
Imagine if you were to take 100% responsibility for every result
in your life right now – positive and negative! That would entail
never blaming circumstances, luck or people for any of the
outcomes in your life. Try it for the next 24 hours.
I AM RESPONSIBLE.
When you front up to life, and take full responsibility for it, you
eliminate much of the scope for excuses, blaming and
victimisation. Try it for the next 24 hours and let me know how
you get on.
Whilst many of the B. Comm class of ’83 aspired to getting a
good job, Paddy ended up owning an entire chain of garages.
Whilst half of UCG (the entire male half) dreamed of courting
Amy Lally, Paddy Ridge ended up marrying her. And whilst
many of us are still ducking and diving and making excuses
Paddy is a free man because he always believed and practiced
I AM RESPONSIBLE.
Responsibility, like routines, comes before results.
Speaking about saying I AM RESPONSIBLE,
please do check out www.smacht.com where you
will see details of our upcoming Smácht Bootcamp.
Alternatively check out these interviews with some
of the speakers as to what they’ll be covering:
Padraic O’Maille https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GojolAIHu_o
Owen O’Malley https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9C-c0kOkgvw
James Knight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhnmFnG2daY
Pat Divilly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45cgy59Oft4
It truly is a wonderful opportunity to network with
some of the finest performers, not just in Ireland,
but in the world. Remember that who you become,
and what you achieve are ultimately your
responsibility. This Bootcamp is guaranteed to help
you take responsibility for your life. See you there.