‘With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility’

But does it really Uncle Ben?

Let’s consider the following…

We have all been through some tough shit in our lives.

But you know who also went through some pretty tough times?

William James.

(Let’s call him William for the sake of his story)

Many of you may have heard of William before. If you ever came across some pioneers in psychology or philosophy, you may know what’s about to come.

William was a pretty big failure throughout a large part of his life. At least, his parents, relatives, and friends thought he was (he probably didn’t have any friends in the first place).

Anyway, William was the eldest of three children from one of New England’s most renowned Businessman. The James’s weren’t only good looking and rich, but they were known, at that time, by pretty much everyone. And as you can imagine, they were all smart and daddy made sure his kids would get the best possible education the times back then had to offer.

Yet this education didn’t really seem to pay off for William. His school grades were horrendous, teachers didn’t want him in class, and on top of that, William couldn’t care less.

After his younger brother, Henry James became a highly sought-after novelist and his sister Alice was earning a decent living from writing, William knew he was the family’s black sheep.

Luckily though, his father used his business contacts to get William into Harvard Medical School. Which William quite after some weeks, simply because he felt rather alienated by the people at Harvard.

Williams dropout from Harvard was followed by a trip to South America, the Amazon rainforest, with a group of adventurers who kindly took him with them. Unfortunately, though, William started to fall ill. He had the fever, was stung by mosquitos, vomiting all over blah blah blah. Back then, traveling long distances was rather difficult and incredibly time-consuming and it would take the team 3 months to get William back to New England. His life was on the verge of being over.

But he survived. Somehow.

Back in New England, he hadn’t changed that much at all. Apart from being a little older, he was still unemployed, had no degree, failed at everything he ever attempted and wasn’t going to get any better anytime soon…

By the way, at that time, he was about to turn 30.

As you can probably imagine, he fell into a deep depression and soon started making his suicide plans. After all, his life was miserable. So what’s the point of staying around any way he thought.

Until one night, William picked up a philosophy book. Inspired by the work of previous philosophers, William decided to start his own first experiment ever! And it would be very simple…

He told himself that for one entire year, he would take on a mindset in which he was responsible for 100% of things that occurred in his life. This would change his life forever.

The punchline is that William became one of the times greatest and prominent philosophers and psychologist who had laid the groundwork to much of modern day philosophy and psychology. He would not go on to study at Harvard, but go on to teach philosophy at Harvard. What a turnaround!

The point is that all of us have our very own problems in life. They may be mental, physical, financial, emotional or of any other sort. Everyone has problems, and yet it lies in our responsibility to deal with them in the best possible way. That is the ultimate drug to changing our life for the good.

By taking 100% responsibility over our lives, we are in control of our own destiny (by the way, deciding to ignore a problem is also a way to respond to it) and are given the ability to shape it however we want to.

Uncle Ben’s quote certainly has some element of truth to it. No doubt. But for the sake of the message of this article, let’s turn it around… ‘With great responsibility, comes great power’. That is worth repeating…

‘With great responsibility, comes great power’.

Thanks for reading,


Are you taking 100% responsibility for the things occurring in your life? Do you occasionally catch yourself blaming others? What has been the greatest challenge you have ever had to overcome?

12 thoughts on “‘With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility’

  1. What an amazing post! I try to be 100% responsible for everything that happens in my life, but sometimes I do catch myself blaming others. When this happens, I try to find the reasons how I influenced that outcome. Finding those reasons give me a sense of control (and responsibility) over my life and this is a liberating feeling. I believe that power and responsibility influence each other and we can use it to pursue whatever we want in life!

  2. I completely agree with this line of thinking I have always said that destiny is not a plan or a sure thing. You make your own destiny by choices you make in life. I took control of my life earlier this year and feel better about myself. I feel like a more effective parent and woman .

  3. I do take responsibility for my situations, the ones I have control over. The ones I don’t have control over, I take responsibility for my reactions and how I deal with them. I think the most difficult thing I’ve had to overcome was leaving a domestic violence situation after 13 years, escaping with my two small daughters, and all the resulting roadblocks that were thrown at me along the way.

  4. I am working on taking 100% responsibility and not blaming others. It is a work in progress but I know what I need to work on. I’ve had problems being honest in the past and thought I was there, but I know I have a long way to go.

  5. I’ve heard William’s story before and every time I hear it, it never ceases to amaze me! I’ve been working on accepting 100% responsibility for everything that happens in my life. It’s very difficult to avoid blaming others. I just have to remember something that Ralph Smart said, “Life is not happening to you. Life is responding to you.” Here’s the link to his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Kemetprince1

  6. Yes. I know my responsibilities. I do get angry at being reminded of the many responsibilities I have, and have also unfortunately had to let go of because I am finite in body. And it makes me so sad. And so angry. Like.. what even is the point of all this? What’s the point of knowing stuff but I don’t get to share it? And that’s what I’m doing, I’m “airing out my crap” online… But there’s no point on wasting my breath because it’s all been said before. And it’s still being said now. And I feel embarrassed and frustrated for wasting my energy on having my say… And it’s so confusing. And annoying.

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