We all have responsibilities but I don’t believe that everyone has the integrity to do what is right by those responsibilities when nobody is watching. Not that everybody always does what they are supposed to do when they are being supervised, but I do think supervision is a good hack for committing to obligations in the short term. However experience has taught me that the long term game of being held accountable for your responsibilities is more about self awareness than it is about being watched.
For some of us it would be enough to have a daily LIVE broadcast online called “Personal Fitness Webcam” to be motivated to stay physically fit. Others may need to download a productivity and gamification application like Habitica, with artificial rewards and penalties for organization and motivation. Meanwhile, some people only need to know how much their family and friends depend on them for support and inspiration. And even though all of these are examples of accountability through some form of supervision, one thing that they all have in common is a required amount of self awareness to determine which method is most effective.
Back when I had time to broadcast myself online playing games on Twitch.tv (and hopefully I will again in the near future), I decided to broadcast myself exercising before every show on a segment that I called #PreGaming. The short term benefit was for me to focus on my own health and fitness as the Internet watched. Knowing that anybody could be watching me at any given time during my workout, I was able to maintain higher levels of precision and intensity. Even if somebody were to stop by my broadcast for a few seconds to say hello, in my mind I wanted them to still be able to confirm my commitment and enthusiasm to the process of staying fit and healthy.
However, I am also self aware enough to not fully fear the wrath and criticism of the Internet if I fail to exercise or if I slack off during a workout. My long term motivation and inspiration will always come from my family and those who may be inspired by me to improve themselves and to enjoy life. This simply comes down to knowing what makes me happy, because I’m the only one who can truly audit how much my family means to me and how much of my legacy is committed to inspiring others. As the Greek philosopher Aristotle (d. 322 BCE) observed, “Happiness depends upon ourselves,” and “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
– Aristotle (d. 322 BCE)
So while a therapist may be a helpful tool for developing greater self awareness, I don’t believe that there is anyone else who can supervise me and my happiness better than myself. Now it may not be so easy for some to associate self awareness and happiness with accountability and responsibility, but I believe that understanding these connections has made it easier for me to distinguish between the impulsive pursuit of happiness and the conscious effort for me to evolve into an embodiment of my own happiness.
Becoming a stay-at-home father or trying to monetize a personal brand built online from scratch may never end up on the Forbes Top 10 career paths of 2016. Nevertheless, I am euphoric to finally have my personal and professional responsibilities align with taking care of my family and applying skills and practices that I truly love and enjoy. Holding myself accountable will be as natural as breathing, and sharing my continued growth and evolution with others is an additional incentive to clearly communicate my life’s legacy to my community. A community that may one day include my future descendants, and that is a responsibility worth being held accountable for.