This may be a little rambling, but it's something that's been percolating for a while, and some recent threads have pushed it back to the front of my mind. We've had a lot of discussions in the Study about the problems we see in "society" today. There are political, social, environmental issues and all of it matters, I think. It's all interesting, and it's all certainly part of the big puzzle. But the biggest problem I see every day is a lack of personal accountability. That's the one that troubles me the most. We see it all the time on these forums, in our martial arts schools, in our personal lives and at work. If you blame other people for your failures, then you can accept no credit for your successes. There are things that happen outside of our control, but I believe that most everything that happens is at some point influenced by us. Failures are mitigated by solid preparation. For example, we have earthquakes in my area. Some people don't have a simple kit in case of an emergency. We can't control the earthquake, but there are certainly things we can do to prepare for one. It seems to me that what this country needs more of is personal accountability. It's easy to be accountable for success. But, I don't see a lot of accountability for failure. At work, I'm sure we all know the guy who blames everyone else for his lack of success. It's because he's white, or because the boss "likes" the other guy better, or the common, "I don't know why, but the boss has it in for me." In BJJ, we see the "tough" guys quit after a month because it's easier to talk about how BJJ is gay than to train and get better. Or in competition, the guy who says, "I got a silver medal. I would have won Gold, but the ref screwed me, the other guy cheated, I cut too much weight, had gas and my ankle has been bugging me." How do you know? I don't know if anyone here watches the Office. There's a character in the Office played by Steve Carell. He's a terrible, incompetent boss who is completely un-self aware. The joke is, every office has a Michael Scott and if you can't immediately think of who that is, it's you. If you can't immediately think of the people in your life who lack accountability and consistently blame others for their failures, chances are it's you. We talk a lot about America being "free." But, if you aren't personally accountable, you aren't free. If you don't take responsibility for both the successes AND the failures in your life, you are a piece of driftwood floating down a river. Sure, you might run into calm water every once in a while, but that's got nothing to do with you. Just some rambling thoughts.