Home Gratitude Taking Personal Responsibility

Taking Personal Responsibility

by Vidya Sury September 23, 2013 35 comments
Personal Responsibility Ride Vidya Sury

If there’s one thing my Mother always encouraged me to do, it was taking personal responsibility. Luckily, I absorbed the concept early on and was rewarded with being labeled dependable and trust-worthy both in my family and at work.  I have a decent track record of not letting people down.  I like it.

This also nicely blends with my inability to say No. I know, I know.  After realizing the consequences and gaining a little more wisdom, I am slowly getting better at it.  I am getting to a point where I manage my time better, spending more “me” time as they call it, even if my thoughts are on a roller-coaster ride, making lists and trying to fit everything in. No, I don’t always succeed. But I am smiling most of the time, and that helps. A great deal.

Thing is, after struggling with trying to check off everything on my to-do list over the past few days – I feel the need for some motivation, some affirmation. Sure I enjoyed doing whatever I did. I confess I enjoyed the distractions even more, what with feeding my soul and all, but it only resulted in late nights and being up very early in the morning.

I died of guilt for being absent from here for a week now.  It is funny how I used to blog whenever I liked, but now I have a sense of personal responsibility because of all you lovely people commenting. (Yes, I know I’ve delayed answering comments – but rest assured it is what keeps me going!) I’ve been actively blogging though at my other blogs Coffee With Mi writing haiku and responding to writing prompts. I also wrote a post at my health blog Your Medical Guide about why you are never to old to live healthy.

The rest of the time, I’ve been working, reading, trying to clean house and get things in order. A little tough because there’s dust every where – our building is undergoing repairs in prep to painting. What keeps me going is the thought of how nice everything will look when it is all done.

On the happy side, I am wearing a brand new pair of glasses, yay! Suddenly my world looks far brighter. Part of the reason could be the amazing clarity of my new glasses, versus the rather dusty, hastily wiped old beloved pair.

So I dusted out my favorite spur-me-into-action, kick-in-the-shapely-rear words. I am about to share this with you.

But first, let me tell you what inspired this post. When I found myself feeling challenged about time management, rushing in and out of my house, I ran into our local municipal worker who cleans the streets. As always she grinned at me, asked after my health and my “little boy” just as she has, for the past 13 years now. Yes, really!

This lady cleans the stretch of road that covers our building and has been doing so for more than 20 years now. Yet she smiles, jokes and goes about her day as if she’s got everything. Naturally, contemplating on her had me smiling as I gave myself a mental kick in the butt. She takes personal responsibility to keep our area clean and goes about her work contentedly. There is a lesson for me in it.

This got me thinking of all the people I interact with on a daily basis. They work in unusual work spaces. They do not live in comfort, but they are happy with what they have. They are kind. They always have a nice word for whoever cares to chat with them. That is what especially touches me. And motivates me to carry something for them every other day. How can I ever forget the joy of distributing juice! I am gratified they all remember me and greet me with a smile and some conversation. I value those moments I spend with them.

Here then  are “my people”. Click the photos in the gallery to see a slideshow – I’ve captioned each picture. To come back to reading the post, click anywhere on the screen.

The amazing thing about these people is, they:

  • are always smiling and cheerful
  • are always have time for a kind word
  • are reliable
  • take personal responsibility
  • take pride in their work

No matter what activity keeps you busy in life, taking personal responsibility and being accountable to self is critical. I am lucky I had a great mentor in my Mother, who insisted I develop certain attitudes if I was to survive through life’s exciting times with a smile. It can only get better, right? Here is something I try to live by:

I won’t wait for others to take the first step.
If it is to be, it’s up to me.
If not me, who? If not now, when?
Let me take a shot at it.
I will not pass the buck.
You can count on me.
It IS my job!
I will!

The most important word:

Life is good.

How we choose to feel is in our hands.

Happiness is a choice.

With love, Vidya

How has your week been?

Can you recall a moment when you found inspiration in an unexpected source? What did you learn?

Please do share in the comments! I can feel a collaborative post building up from the answers to that question. Are you in?

I am happy to link with UnknownMami’s Sundays In My City meme. It means traveling the world together.

Have a lovely week ahead!

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Rahul September 23, 2013 at 11:45 am

Taking responsibilities of one’s action is what is needed most and agree with you Vidya! The common people who do their regular jobs are any day more content than many others:)

Rachna September 23, 2013 at 11:53 am

Heartwarming especially the pictures and their captions. In the hustle bustle of our lives, we are almost blind to all these people who quietly do so many things for us. I hate the dust bit as well and painting too. I was sick with a terrible throat infection and have gotten better only after a week. It is hectic at my end too. And you are right, I too feel that I need to update my blog due to my fabulous readers. Looking forward to seeing your new glasses, Vidya, soon!
Rachna recently posted…The knight in shining armor — Part I

BLOGitse September 23, 2013 at 11:59 am

Great post again!
In Western world word ‘me’ means everything now for me, not giving.
But I’m sure people will get tired when they notice how empty their lives are even if they had it all.
Have a good week ahead Vidya!
BLOGitse recently posted…price on yellow

Rainbow Hues September 23, 2013 at 12:10 pm

I find inspiration in a lot of people everyday from my maid, the guard in my building, the peon in my office and of course my bhaji wala who is such a delight. Thanks for this post , Vidya. Responsibility starts with me!
Rainbow Hues recently posted…One Lovely Blog Award

Meena Menon September 23, 2013 at 12:14 pm

This post filled me with such warmth Vidya. So true that ou daily happiness depends so much on our frame of mind.. if we choose to be unhappy we wil definetely find something eveytime to complain about and well vice-versa!
Meena Menon recently posted…If only you were here…

Shilpa Garg September 23, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Agree with the thoughts on taking responsibility. Better by far to be good and courageous and bold and to make difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you… and when we do that we make a better world around us!! Enjoy looking at the lovely world around you with your new glasses 🙂
Shilpa Garg recently posted…If Only You Were Here

Proactive Indian September 23, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I have no choice but to agree that one must take personal responsibility and be proactive! 😉

A question: why haven’t you added the names of the persons in the photographs?

I’ve been impressed by:
1. The punctuality of our maid, Lakshmi. She enters our apartment complex between 7.20 and 7.30 every morning.
2. The permanent smile on the face of our hardworking ‘raddiwalla’.
3. All Gujaratis. Ask ‘Kem chho?’ (How are you?), they reply ‘Majaa ma!’ (Having a good time!)even if they are going through a big crisis.
Proactive Indian recently posted…If only you were here!

Proactive Indian September 23, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Sorry, I forgot the raddiwalla’s name: Anand
Proactive Indian recently posted…If only you were here!

Hannah September 23, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Lovely post Vidya!

It’s funny you mentioned the issues around saying no, as one of the biggest lessons in self-responsibility for me has been just that. I don’t think it’s possible to be truly self-responsible without taking care of our own needs first. That way, we’re in a much better position to show up for other people when they need us.

richmiraclefiles September 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Hi Vidya
Your caricature of every day life brings everything home so vividly that, even being in a different part of the country, i can almost feel I’m there with you.
great post as usual I personally subscribe to the sense of accountability you have highlighted through the live example of your “backstage heroes”.
How do you manage to write so much Vidya?Seriously i’m impressed and inspired!
richmiraclefiles recently posted…Enjoy Conjuring Up A Bright Future Instead Of Worrying About It

Elle September 23, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Your ‘people’ are inspirations for us all Vidya. I read recently that having a smile on your face actually impacts the cells in our body, which rewards us with a healthier physical environment. Talk about win/win. Your smile encourages others and your own body at the same time. Isn’t the universe fabulous.

Thanks for the ‘shoutout’ share of my latest post Vidya…always honoured to be in the same place as you my dear friend.
Elle recently posted…Is Your Life Driving You Crazy?

Leovi September 23, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Wonderful photos, lovely street market, beautiful colors …!

Carolyn Hughes September 23, 2013 at 9:32 pm

What a cheery yet insightful post Vidya. A lovely reminder that our happiness, sense of achievement and value come from within.
Carolyn Hughes recently posted…Who cares?

Fran Sorin September 23, 2013 at 11:55 pm

Vidya –

Lovely post-
It is interesting that you mentioned the woman who cleans your building ~ I think of you as an individual who notices the people with whom you interact throughout the day ~ and appreciates them.

One of my ‘peeps’ is a fellow who cleans up the trash on the bike path along the river. Every morning when I either walk the dogs or go rowing, we see each other and immediately smile and say (in Hebrew) – Good day- how are you?’ Then we either bow or send a kiss to each other – Vidya, he looks like he’s homeless- not showered, etc- but his smile and warmth lights up my day. Inspirational, indeed – I receive it from his everyday! xxoo-Fran
Fran Sorin recently posted…5 Strategies For Feeling The Rapture Of Being Alive

Robyn Engel September 24, 2013 at 12:29 am

It’s always good to have a new, more clear perspective. You give us this with your photos. Thanks, Vidya.

Have a great week.
Robyn Engel recently posted…Woman on The Verge of The Monster Bus, A Combination Post

Mary Stephenson September 24, 2013 at 4:28 am

Hi Vidya

Now that I am retired (as far as a paycheck is concerned). I am in a position to see a lot of people going about their jobs and realize they have a special purpose for all of us to enjoy. I do appreciate their hard work and so much better if they smile. Without their personal responsibility we would not have such a good life.
Thanks for the post.
Mary Stephenson recently posted…The End of a Season

Julie Barrett September 24, 2013 at 4:58 am

So Vidya, no WalMart in your neck of the woods! It just looks so lovely, to have a life where fruit and such is available on the street, and you see the same (smiling!) people day after day. We just don’t live like that here, and that is a sad thing for us!
Julie Barrett recently posted…How To Access and Trust Your Intuition

Cathy Taughinbaugh September 24, 2013 at 7:26 am

Love your pics and how nice that you know the vendors in your area. It all looks delicious and wonderful that they inspire you. Thanks for sharing.
Cathy Taughinbaugh recently posted…Positively Simple Tips to Inner Peace

Betsy/Zen Mama September 24, 2013 at 9:12 am

Beautiful pictures Vidya. I, too, love the idea of personal responsibility. What has inspired me this week? I am inspired by the vegetables I planted, harvested and ate over the weekend… beautiful beets, carrots and tomatoes plus a big pumpkin that I will make into a soup. Just lovely!
Betsy/Zen Mama recently posted…Give Your Child The Gift of Roots and Wings by Letting Go

Margaret September 24, 2013 at 10:37 am

Love this post, I love your open market area. The pic are awesome. It is so true that we can not wait for other to do what it is that we are suppose to do. We need to be action ppl. I too am so inspired by ppl. I care for ill children that may never walk or talk or even see life as we do. If I can put a smile on their face I feel so good…for them not for me.

Kaylen September 24, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I love your moms words of wisdom. I wish I could go back in time and enforce that to my son, who now deals with negative thoughts impeding on his otherwise high-potential life.

I get inspiration from learning about others and different lifestyles and cultures. It motivates me to be more accepting of others and more accepting of my own self.
Kaylen recently posted…On The Road Again – My Return to Malaysia

Jodi @ Heal Now September 24, 2013 at 4:48 pm

I have found inspiration from losses that I have endured. Recently I changed up my whole business plan. And I think it is all for the better!
Jodi @ Heal Now recently posted…Why did you become a therapist?

Nita September 25, 2013 at 12:40 am

Beautiful post! Beautiful photos! Love your inspiration. Personal responsibility is so important and yet there are so many that lack it.
Nita recently posted…FF: OH NO!!!!

Terri Sonoda September 25, 2013 at 2:35 am

This post filled up my senses and put a huge smile on my face. I have been very lucky to have found inspiration in a couple places this week, but your blog has inspired me to new heights. You are a joy, my friend. I adored the pictures. Thank you so much for sharing. XOXOs
Terri Sonoda recently posted…Monday Listicles – Ten things on which I crush

Balroop Singh September 25, 2013 at 4:10 am

Hi Vidya…I could immediately feel the connection with all the names and pictures! Having spent most of my life in India, I know how inspiring these persons can be! You have given a great tribute to the services they render! and always with a smile!!

gita September 25, 2013 at 5:29 pm

It is touching indeed I went back in time when I used to walk to the bus stand ,I had friends everywhere ,I had my fruitwala,my dhania wala coconut guy the beggar at the temple who would also ask how I was that day .the bus driver would stop for me as I turned the street corner they were all so good I really miss those days some where along I left behind these precious connections .I think I need to go back thank you made me realise what I was missing out yes even where & how I am it is touching to see a sick child waiting for the candy after she has given her blood sample.
tons of love to you.

Rekha September 26, 2013 at 10:57 am

Loved the pictures and the smiles. 🙂 Especially that flower-selling lady and the municipal worker. 🙂 Indeed taking responsibility solves half the troubles for us as well as for others.
Rekha recently posted…Salt and Pepper

Vishnu September 26, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Vidya – you have your own tribe:) They are filled with joy! and the photos are filled with so much color. Thanks for the reminder to notice all the people we have tiny interactions with each day who add so much more to our lives. They are easily forgotten and sometimes blend into the background but our local vendors, merchants should be acknowledged, valued and thanked!
Vishnu recently posted…Controlling Manipulative Relationships: The End of An Era

Kalpana Solsi September 26, 2013 at 2:57 pm

The pics are lovely and lovelier are the smiles of the simple people who eke out a living. They may not have the luxuries but are content(from their smiles) and happy and that’s what matters a lot. A nice post of simple but important souls.

Unknown Mami September 30, 2013 at 4:38 am

Very beautiful post. Through you I have come to know your mother and she has taught me some great lessons. Thank you for sharing her with me.
Unknown Mami recently posted…How Could I Not Love New York? (Sundays In My City)

Vidya Sury September 30, 2013 at 8:47 am

Thank you, Claudya.Hugs!

Shoba Shrinivasan October 4, 2013 at 4:49 am


Its been some time since I visited your blog and commented…I love the way you have written out your thougts on personal responsibility.If only more could feel the same way!!!!
Loved the local vegetable wala pics and the pics of the regualr vendors you shop with. I never ever shop in air conditioned stores in chennai. I always go to the shops by the road and pick them fresh off!!!


Corinne Rodrigues October 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm

There so much we can learn about responsibility and faithfulness from the so-called poor and simple people, isn’t there? For example, at present the painters in our home are a marvel with their attention to detail, pride in their work and thoughtfulness in cleaning up the place every evening. Thanks for sharing ‘your’ lovely gang with us.
Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…Hers Is The Face I Can’t Forget

Paul October 6, 2013 at 8:38 am

Dear Vidya Madam,
This is my first visit to your site.
Here I can say I got the same from my mother-“taking personal responsibility”. What I learned from my life about this is a vast meaning. Unluckily we always forget it.
Thanks for sharing. Hope I shall visit you again.
Paul recently posted…Password protect folders or files in any Window – Know how to hide and lock

Vidya Sury October 6, 2013 at 11:43 am

Welcome, Paul. So rightly said. Luckily, most of us remember when we’re in a spot. 🙂


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