ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

Learn More >>

Constantly Guilt Yourself Over Doing “The Responsible Thing?” Maybe You Shouldn’t.

In: Finding Your Voice

There’s a lot of bullshit around the word “responsible.”

We let this tiny word guilt us to the grave.

Do the responsible thing. Act responsibly. Be a responsible adult. Don’t be so irresponsible.

I don’t know if we should blame this asshole voice in our heads on our parents or not, but you might want to consider it. (Hi, mom!)

There are a lot of things that are, by default, “responsible”—taking the kids to soccer, suffering through another Jillian Michaels video, religiously categorizing our business expenses in Quickbooks, slogging through our inbox on a Friday.

And, you know, we do those things. We do ‘em because we’re adults, and we do ‘em because we know that the consequences of not doing those things will be far worse. (I can’t think of a worse day than having your children kidnapped after realizing you’ve gained 10 pounds after getting a call from your accountant that you SUCK, after slogging through 100 emails from people who all need something from you.)

But nothing in life is cut and dry—unless we’re talking about Aged English Cheddar, of course. (Can we please talk about Aged English Cheddar sometime? I’m @TMFproject on Twitter.) And sometimes in life, when things are jagged and entirely soaking wet, you’re going to have to make these things called DECISIONS. And when that happens, usually you’ll go running and crying into the lap of our friend Roger the Responsible and ask: What’s the responsible thing to do here, Rog?

Which, I suppose, is better than making a decision based on “What’s more sociopathic?” but nevertheless, making decisions based on which one is the more “responsible” decision to make is problematic. Why?

Because sometimes bad decisions parade themselves around as responsible ones.

Example:

  • A big, new dream client shows up in your inbox, which would normally be great except for one thing: You’ve promised yourself you were going to take this month to start writing your book. So you run to Roger the Responsible and ask, “What’s the responsible thing to do here, Rog?” And Rog proceeds to remind you of all your outstanding student loans, that new car you splurged on, the money you still owe your web designer. And so you take the client, because not taking the client would be irresponsible, right?
  • Or maybe you’ve been seeing everybody and their mother starting a podcast, and doing webinars, and giving away fancy eBooks, and so you figure that you should start doing these things, too, because not keeping up with the latest and greatest feels irresponsible and lazy—even if it means doing less painting or speaking or whatever it it that you love to do.
  • Or maybe you’ve been dying to try something new—to start writing like you really talk, or only offer ONE service instead of five. But then Roger the Responsible kicks in and reminds you that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and what if you lose everything you’ve worked so hard to create?

We make a lot of “responsible” decisions that are actually bad ones, because we’re more focused on doing what’s responsible in the short-term, instead of doing what’s responsible in the long-term. And guess what?

Sometimes the most responsible thing we could be doing is going to feel irresponsible now.

Sometimes the most responsible thing…is saying no.
Sometimes the most responsible thing…is being selfish.
Sometimes the most responsible thing…is rejecting the money.
Sometimes the most responsible thing…is having a controversial opinion.
Sometimes the most responsible thing…is going with your gut.

Because sometimes the most responsible thing?

Is not cut and dry.

But when you know what you really want, it doesn’t have to be.

h/t Meg Worden, who inspired the fuck out of this blog post after our conversation yesterday.

Oct 29

2015

“I don’t feel confident in my work.”

Are you squinting your eyes at the screen trying to decide if this describes you or not? (Of course you are, you’re probably reading this on an iPhone the size of my elbow.) It’s kind of an ugly characterization—nobody wants to admit to feeling less than confident in what you’re doing. And yet, I’ve got […]

In: Finding Your Voice

READ MORE >>

Dec 28

2012

Forget Your Manners.

It’s polite to: …fulfill your obligations. …answer them back right away. …nod in agreement. …go with the flow. …do as you’re asked. …drink because they are. …take their call. …give your undivided attention. …fill the silence. …and always be there when they need you. Then again, no one’s ever done anything remarkable by always being […]

In: Finding Your Voice

READ MORE >>

Apr 5

2012

Fuck Plan B. You’re on the A Team.

His name is Oskar. He’s Rastafarian. I met him when I first came to Costa Rica in 2004 and watched him trying to sell his paintings day after day on the beach, sweating, struggling to speak English to the tourists who passed by, working from dusk until the wee hours of the night to make […]

In: Finding Your Voice

READ MORE >>

Sep 15

2015

Plan On Being Nervous, Brilliantly

Being nervous sucks. Your pulse races. Your brain blanks. Your hands shake like little assholes. You tell yourself to take deep breaths, but the minute you do, you then worry that the entire room can see the fact that your heart is, in fact, doing the electric slide up and down your rib cage. (God […]

In: Finding Your Voice

READ MORE >>

Dec 31

2010

Resolutions Are For Chumps. I Choose Revolution.

All the things you think you need this year, you don’t. You do not need more determination.  You do not need more discipline.  And you certainly do not need more diligence. Are you kidding me? You are a Westerner–you’ve got plenty of that.  Why else have you gotten up every single day and begrudgingly gone […]

In: Finding Your Voice

READ MORE >>

May 27

2017

The Anti-Trump Bar: The Way You Stand Out is By Standing UP

There’s an AWESOME new creative cocktail lounge in New York City called Coup. All of the profits are being donated to organizations being threatened or defunded by the current administration. Tips are donated, too. Guest bartenders are flying in from all over the world, no charge, to donate their services. And guess what? There are lines […]

In: Finding Your Voice

READ MORE >>

Feb 10

2016

Nice Brands Finish Last

[x_blockquote type=”center”]I take it as an insult when somebody calls me The N Word: Nice.[/x_blockquote] Out of 100,000 adjectives in the English language, if the best you can come up with is nice, then I’m doing something wrong. It’s like spending Thanksgiving Day ripping out gizzards and mashing actual potatoes, only to be told that […]

In: Finding Your Voice

READ MORE >>

Exclusive VIP Access

Join The Middle Finger Project mafia—over 75,000+ disobedient humans strong—and as a welcome gift (which I promise won’t be a thug named Vinny), I’ll send you a top secret discount code for our best-selling courses, kits and workshops. Because #SOLIDARITY.

It’s free, and you’ll also get new posts every week, plus at least one GIF of Betty White for the win.

Privacy Policy Info Here