Start Chasing Responsibility

By | July 25, 2022

[July 25, 2022]  I hear folks I know always say the best time of their lives was when they were raising their kids.  That’s right, the most challenging time of their lives is the best time of their lives.  Psychological studies on people are consistent, reporting that couples with young kids are the least happy.  The question is, “How can these two things exist simultaneously?”

I witnessed a very similar oddity, if you will, in the career paths of Army Officers.  Senior officers tell me they remember the fondest time when they were a Captain (O-3), in charge of a company of Soldiers.  Company Command is one of the most difficult jobs in the military.  Yet, not unlike a couple with kids, their tour of command is remembered as the best of their career.

Happiness is not their goal; it is not what they say to me that is essential in their lives.  So, if we were to measure a person’s life and what defines it as successful, happiness would not be it; certainly not one of the important measures anyway.  The lesson is obvious, stop chasing happiness.  It won’t work.  If you could find happiness by some chance, it would be fleeting, and once it left you, you would have nothing.

What is it that makes you who you are?  What is it that you can use to measure yourself and come away pleased with the results?  Bearing the weight of responsibility is the answer.  Maximizing individual responsibility brings forth the greatest accomplishments for us.  When we are overwhelmed, distraught over what will come next, or cannot see how the day will end due to our burdens, those times are the best for us.

Humans are not designed to sit around, drink beer, eat potato chips, or watch football on television (although some of my friends would debate that).  Other than the obvious health issue, humans are built to be challenged.  They are best when going uphill, carrying a big load on their shoulders.  For example, I’ve said in the past that the best men and women I’ve ever known had their most important moments in their lives in combat.  That’s right!  In combat, the life and death struggle with an enemy of America (I only spoke with Americans).  Speaking with firefighters, police, lifeguards, EMTs, and hospital emergency room workers, they all tell me the same thing.  They say that their most significant rewards come from their most difficult days.

There is an adventure in that.  An adventure that compels us forward.  It is what drove the pioneers westward across America.  It drives our desire to create better rockets to travel to the planets in our solar system.  We are enthralled by the deep-ocean-going submarines that look for life on the ocean floor.  Adventure is having a baby and figuring out how to raise it properly while juggling a job, marriage, friends, and leisure time.

Seek responsibility, and you have found the secret to having a good life.

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Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

24 thoughts on “Start Chasing Responsibility

  1. Liz at Home

    This is what so many of my generation want to avoid. They don’t want to put effort into work today, that will pay off tomorrow. They want their Mercedes sedan today without cost or sacrifice. That is why we are called the hedonistic generation.

    Reply
  2. Melo in Chicgo

    Thanks Gen. Satterfield for a great article on “chasing responsibility.” Let me complete the sentence, “don’t chase happiness or free gifts.” There is no such thing as a free gift, if you are an adult.

    Reply
    1. Pink Cloud

      Got that right, Melo. But our society is teaching the opposite.

      Reply
  3. Jeff Blackwater

    Excellent article, Gen. Satterfield, thanks! I’ve found the same thing. Now, when you are in the middle of that responsibility, sometimes it hard to look beyond it and say ‘wow, I’m doing good.’ But, let’s be clear, it works. Don’t chase happiness, chase responsibility.

    Reply
  4. Gil Johnson

    Happiness is not their goal; it is not what they say to me that is essential in their lives. So, if we were to measure a person’s life and what defines it as successful, happiness would not be it; certainly not one of the important measures anyway. The lesson is obvious, stop chasing happiness. It won’t work. If you could find happiness by some chance, it would be fleeting, and once it left you, you would have nothing. – Gen. Satterfield, this says it all.

    Reply
    1. mainer

      Got that right Gil. And yet our government, schools, colleges, and corporations have a different message. They say “demand your rights” and “protest if you don’t get your handout.” The results? High crime, high suicide, high mental problems, … you get the picture.

      Reply
  5. Max Foster

    Gen. Satterfield observes, ” They say that their most significant rewards come from their most difficult days.” He is right. Look back over your lifetime and tell us what your greatest and most rewarding time of your life was. It was when you took on the greatest responsibility and got thru it, followed the rules, and were a good person. That “good” person of yourself is what sustained you.

    Reply
    1. Dead Pool Guy

      Right Max. If you are someone who is looking for a handout, don’t expect any good things to come of it.

      Reply
        1. Tom Bushmaster

          This is why searching Gen. Satterfield’s blog is a good idea. Look what USA Patriot II found.

          Reply
    2. Frank Graham

      Max, you nailed it. If we want an experiment on whether this idea works, then look at the countries of sub Sahara Africa and tell me how well or not they are doing. They are getting handouts all the time, yet they continue to get WORSE. Handouts don’t work.

      Reply
  6. Silly Man

    No need, just be a black politician and you don’t need no responsibility, just reparations.

    Reply
    1. Desert Cactus

      Some may take your comment as a bit of sarcasm but I am more likely to take it as reality. There does appear to be a huge double standard of criminal action based on one’s race. In America where the justice system is run by a dementia patient, if you’re black, you are never a perpetrator but always a victim.

      Reply
      1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

        Yep, pow, you guys nailed it. And, if you say so, then the feds will be after you. I hope Gen. Satterfield as some security on his website to prevent them from tracking down you guys for speaking the truth.

        Reply
        1. Purse 5

          Yeah that worries me too. With Biden in the WhiteHouse, we are becoming more like the old USSR every day.

          Reply

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