Apr 25, 2012 / by Alisa Hafen / No Comments

If we lived in a time when personal accountability and responsibility were held in high regard, it would be suffice to say that successful people are not victims.  Unfortunately, these are not the times we live in.

For some, perpetual victim hood, of one kind or another actually seems an attractive option.

I believe that there is one trait that all successful people do have in common – and that is simply that they are not victims.  Victims do not inspire confidence, they inspire pity.

There is another reason successful people don’t become victims; they know if they don’t take responsibility when things go wrong, then they lose the right to take credit when things go right.

Perpetual victims usually have a negative attitude; they don’t expect anything to ever go right, so there is no down side to being a victim.

A successful person is able to read positive signs in a very bleak situation; hence, they can act on what they see in a creative, constructive way.

Victims, by contrast, look at the same “bleak” situation and see only opportunities for further martyrdom.  Obviously, there are people for whom a lifelong posture of victim hood is not a choice, but I believe there are many for whom it is a conscious decision.

By wallowing in the powerlessness of the victim, one becomes blind to all opportunities and outlooks that do not conform to their passive posture.  At that point, it becomes voluntary.  Every person has the power to make moral choices.

The truth is that we choose our own moral standards; more importantly, we choose the action taken because of those moral standards.

Think how easy it would have been for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to think of himself as a victim while he was being beaten up by his ignorant opponents.

How much simpler it would have been for him, or any of his followers, to strike back in a fit of self-righteous victim rage.

But he didn’t, and consequently, he won the good fight.  He won because he refused to think of himself as a victim.  I believe we owe a debt of gratitude for the behavior he modeled and the result he achieved.  He chose to not be a victim.

“Let no man pull you low enough to hate him.”

Martin Luther King Jr.