How to Practice Extreme Ownership

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Everyone finds themselves at low points in life. A job they loathe, a relationship they feel trapped in and crushingly low self-esteem.

During these times, it’s easy to develop a victim mentality. Why does this happen to me? Nothing ever good happens in my life!

It’s this mentality, however, that keeps you locked in a negative “poor me” headspace and prevents you from moving forward in life. Lessons can be learned from the difficult periods and for this to happen you have to be prepared to take a good look at yourself. You have to practice taking extreme ownership.

If you’re thinking “that’s easy for you to say”, allow me to share with a personal story of mine…

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The Lowest Point of my Life

Between October 2015 to July 2018 I was at the lowest point in my life. I was depressed, unhealthy – mentality and physically – and struggling to find direction in my life. I was working a job that destroyed any confidence I had in myself. The relationship I was in was stressful and the person I was with, unfortunately, wasn’t the best either.

After three years of misery, I hit rock bottom. By the time July 2018 arrived, I had left my job and my relationship was over.

The hardest part of it all at that point was that I questioned how I allowed it all to happen. What did I feel and think about myself in order to continue to put myself in such a soul-destroying environment for so long? How could I hurt myself like that?

On paper, it was clear for all to see that I had a terrible employer and despite their good points, a terrible partner too. It would have been easy for me to play the blame game. “If it wasn’t for them I would be in a much better position in life”.

But with this approach, how would I learn? I needed to identify how and why this happened. To be able to do that I had to have a good long look in the mirror.

My Extreme Ownership

The answer to all this isn’t complicated. Whilst I had plenty of work to do on myself, identifying the problem was straight forward. Everything I had in my life during that time is everything I deserved. That’s the hard truth. I was getting out of life everything I put in to it – which wasn’t a lot.

So, as I arrived back to my childhood bedroom, unemployed, single and depressed, I knew it was time to make big changes.

Here are the aspects of life I needed to improve on.

Health

My diet was never the best and my attitude towards exercise was terrible. I was out of shape and unhealthy, because of this I was low in confidence.

So I made some big lifestyle changes.

I got myself a gym membership – and stuck to it – and put together a diet plan. Feeling good, looking good and eating good have done wonders for my mental health.

I feel so much stronger and my confidence is clear for all to see. It has improved my self-esteem 100% and I feel much more attractive.

Career

Aside from the attitudes of my previous employer, I needed to look at myself as an employee. I never worked very hard. That was largely due to the fact I was not invested in the work that I did. But, that was my job and I chose to be there, so with that, I should have applied myself more.

I knew that if I was going to improve myself then I had to go down a path I cared about. I had been writing as a side gig for a couple of years.

It’s where my heart was and whilst I had this clean slate it was a great opportunity to build on it. I refrained from getting any old job. I knew that would push me back into a mind-numbing cycle. 

Instead, I swallowed my pride and accepted the help from my parents and used the money I was earning from writing to keep me going.I kept pushing and pushing and started to build up a portfolio.

Nine months later I have my independence back and I’m writing full time. I feel focused, excited and that I’m set on something I truly want to build on.

Being a Partner

At the end of any relationship, it’s too easy to focus on everything the other person did wrong. Instead, I look at everything I did wrong, with the hope that I will not make the same mistakes again in my next relationship.

The reason I had a poor quality partner, quite simply, is because I was a poor quality partner. I was insecure, brought anxiety to the relationship, wasn’t assertive enough and didn’t create clear boundaries. Everything I reaped is everything I sowed.

Neither of us were bad people. But that relationship was an education in everything that was wrong with us. When it came to an end, I saw it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Using Negative Times as Positive Energy

I had two choices during that time of my life. I could continue with the miserable existence and go lower and lower. Or, I could use it as fuel to drive me into a more positive direction.

Clearly, I chose the latter. And, I’m actually grateful for that time. I had become lazy and complacent. Looking in the mirror of life and hating what I saw inspired me to take a new path.

Taking extreme ownership of everything that had happened taught me that I have full control of my experience in this world. I can become what I want to be, and if I don’t then it’s on me not anyone else.

Nine months on from that depressing existence my life has changed completely. I have a job I love. My relationships with my friends are deeper than they have ever been. I’m in great shape and enjoying a clean (and tasty) diet.

I have a “yes I can attitude” and feel almost anything is possible. More so, I’m currently traveling the world and writing about topics I’m passionate about – none of this would have been achieved by playing the victim and not taking extreme ownership of my situation.

If you’re struggling in life and unhappy with your situation, please take something from my story. You are the architect of your life. You have all the power when it comes to how much you get out of your time in this world.

Be bold, be brave and be willing to take responsibility. You’ll be much happier, trust me.

Additional Resources

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About the author

Dan Ginn
Dan Ginn is an experienced feature writer and content creator with a background in photography, health and wellbeing and cultural topics.

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