The Responsibility of Tomorrow

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today…”

— Abraham Lincoln

Procrastination is one of the most insidious habits anyone could ever allow to take a foothold in their life. And, even though many of us do not let it become a habit, we still permit it to trip us up once in a while. It is most unfortunate for those who do allow it to become a way of life as this leads to one becoming a sluggard, such as was spoken of by Solomon. The sluggard always had plans on doing it, but it was always going to be done tomorrow. The sluggard was a master procrastinator as the work, the goal, or task was never accomplished.

From the quote above, by Abraham Lincoln, it is quite obvious Lincoln recognized the consequences of putting off till tomorrow what should be done today. Likewise, Thomas Jefferson is also noted for a saying about putting things off; “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” It appears by this statement that President Jefferson knew the adverse effects procrastination could have on one’s life. On the other hand President Lincoln is pointing out more than an issue of putting off till tomorrow. He is pointing to a much deeper issue, a character flaw if you will, for he is speaking of one who shirks responsibility; in the same manner many have done all down through the ages and are still doing today.

Before we get into a breakdown of President Lincoln’s statement, let’s take a deeper look at the statement by President Jefferson. It was not the intention of his statement to imply that one work twenty four hours a day, but it was simply meant to show how important it is ‘not to procrastinate.’ This is why it is so significant to set and follow your goals, for in doing so one can and will not only accomplish their goals, but reach their dreams. When you put off until tomorrow what should be done today, you are in essence allowing the weeds of doubt to get a foothold in your heart. The result being the weeds will choke out the ability of your heart to fulfill your dreams. In order to keep this from happening, something must be done toward your goal each and every day; if not, the weeds will grow and the ability of the heart to bring forth the dream will be weakened or stopped altogether.

President Lincoln on the other hand saw a little differently why people put things off for he saw they were shirking responsibility. It was as if these people thought by not doing it today they would not have to be responsible. Josiah Charles Stamp said, “It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.” Alfred A Montapert said, “Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.” As stated above, when you put off what should be done today you are allowing weeds to take root and soon these weeds will overtake the good plants you once hoped would produce a harvest.

Both of these incredible presidents were doing their best to say, “YOU ALONE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT HAPPENS TOMORROW.” There is no one else to blame for how your tomorrows turn out other than the one who is reflected back at you in the mirror each and every morning. Tomorrow holds its own responsibilities for tomorrow is the culmination of what was planted today. If you arise tomorrow to find there is nothing to eat, more than likely this is a consequence of the fact you didn’t plant the previous day. Albert Einstein said, “Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility.” This must be done in the same manner as when a child begins to crawl, to stand up or start to walk. What is happening is the child accepts and acts on the responsibility to crawl, stand up or walk by exercising the will to start trying. Even though the child can hardly hold itself up with its arms or legs, the child begins. Famous German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.” The child wasn’t taking the time to think about it, the child was simply ready to take on the responsibility of walking and thus began.

There are those who hold the notion their childhood has caused them to be what they are and where they are therefore, they make the excuse of not having the proper chances or opportunities. Ken Keyes, Jr., said, “You are not responsible for the programming you picked up in childhood, but you are one hundred percent responsible for fixing it.” Napoleon Hill said, “No alibi will save you from accepting the responsibility.” Both are in essence saying the same as Abraham Lincoln that you cannot escape responsibility by evading it. Regardless, the responsibility is still yours and so are the consequences. Do not blame your parents, your siblings, your friends or the government. The responsibility is yours alone. Like it or not, your tomorrows are a telling sign of how well you accept as well as how you deal with responsibilities. This is especially true when it comes to your own life and how it turns out.

One final word, I find it interesting Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and many other great leaders told those they were leading at the time to take on their own responsibilities and especially to not leave it to the government. Churchill said, “Responsibility is the price of greatness.” Those who depend on the government are not responsible for themselves for they have abdicated their responsibilities by putting them on the government.

It is time to stop blaming others. If we want to be great then the only way is to take on the responsibility for our own life. If we want to be a great nation, we need not depend on the government to fend for us, but rather for us to fend for ourselves. George Pataki said, “When the government accepts the responsibility for the people, then the people no longer take the responsibility for themselves.” This is where America is headed if we do not begin, as individuals, to take the responsibility for our own futures. The best way to do this is by not leaving this responsibility in the hands of an entity or an individual. It all starts with the individual, which means it all starts with YOU. Take the responsibility for your own life and make sure you start today. Even if, in the past, you have been fairly responsible, the challenge is to get better. If you will do this, you will enjoy greater rewards in all your tomorrows rather than living with the regret of not taking the responsibility of how your tomorrows turn out.

Best of LUCK as you
Labor Under Correct Knowledge…


Rick Cox