Needing Accountability Is Not Weakness

I used to think – and still feel sometimes – like wanting external accountability is a weakness. If I’m going to take action on something good, I should be fully self-motivated, right?

Yes, self-discipline is quite important. But I’m now not so sure that external accountability is a weird crutch. We were made for tribes. after all. We are wired to protect and serve our fellow humans, because often enough their flourishing is tied in with our flourishing.

Evolved behavior like that is damned strong. So to frame a self-improvement goal as a commitment to the group (as in some accountability setups) is to pull on a really powerful source of motivation. And to ignore that source of motivation is to do something really unnatural in the grand scheme of things (unsurprisingly, pure self-discipline often isn’t enough for most people).

It’s not strange or wrong to need accountability, then. It’s actually a little strange, or a little novel, to think that humans should try to do things in a social vacuum (AKA in complete self-motivated states).

Do whatever it takes to succeed in your personal development, and don’t feel strange for wanting to make promises to others who will hold you to them.

P.S. The fact that we need to ask people to be “accountability buddies” or “mastermind groups” is a sign of just how weak our relationships are these days. We need more tribes – real tribes and real communities.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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