You Are Responsible
“You are Responsible.”
It was the photo on the front page of Saturday’s Financial Times that caught Reillys’ attention. He was still fit, handsome, and exuded that persona of responsibility.
The caption read ‘Irish Motor Tycoons Payout Exceeds £1 Billion.’
Long before self-service ever became de rigour in petrol stations Reilly subvented his drinking money as a student by filling petrol in Dooley’s Esso Station across from the University. It was the ubiquitous student job – good money, great craic, and bugger all responsibility. Or so Reilly thought.
His comrade in arms was a lad from Dunmore called Paddy Gleeson.
One evening, the biggest Mercedes they’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 Grace Kennedy not chosen that precise moment to saunter through the forecourt en route to a Dramasoc rehearsal. Any time Grace strutted her stuff on
University Road, the traffic would immediately stutter and inexorably come to a complete stop. Everyone knew that it was Grace who inspired the immortal lines in the Saw Doctors 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 driver’s immaculate pinstripe suit. The scowl on the driver’s face had a lot in common with the smell and stain of diesel – it was toxic and pungent and unlikely to disappear easily.
As happens so often in these vignettes from ‘The Life O’Reilly’ there was the distinct whiff of sangfroid in the air. In fact, there was a strong feeling that there might be a lot of spilled sang as a result of Gleeson’s indiscretion. Reilly was ever the inquisitive mind and always fascinated by the ways in which people react or respond in a crisis.
It occurred to him in that instant that Gleeson 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.
Gleeson 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 cleaner in Briar Hill called Bee Green Dry Cleaners. They use completely natural cleaning materials and your suit will be as good as new afterward. The owner is a man called Stevie Langan. He’s my uncle. Tell him that Paddy Gleeson sent you 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 Gleeson. 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 Reillys’ great buddy Stephen O’Brien would put it ‘it’s either full duck or no dinner.’
These three simple words, I AM RESPONSIBLE, if repeated regularly and lived with gusto, guarantee to ensure you have your greatest year ever in 2020 irrespective of the circumstances. That is if you have the courage!
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 victimization. Whilst many of that years B. Comm class aspired to get a good job, Paddy had a clear vision to build an empire and retire when he was still young enough to enjoy it.
Whilst half of UCG (at least the entire male half) dreamed of courting Grace Kennedy, Gleeson ended up marrying her. And whilst some of us are still ducking and diving and making excuses
Paddy is a free man because he always believed and practiced the credo:
I AM RESPONSIBLE.
Responsibility, like routines, comes before results.
‘Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.’
What exactly will you take responsibility for?
(Thanks to my great buddy, Dr. Pat Harrold, who is doing such great work on the front line in the midst of this pandemic. It was ‘Harry’ who first dragged me kicking and screaming to Smokie Joes to listen to some crowd from Tuam called the Saw Doctors whom he claimed would be the next guys on the block. How right he was!)