An Interview with Dr. Andy McCabe: Personal Responsibility

Dec 8, 2011 by

Michael Shaughnessy
Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico

1) First of all, let me apologize for not getting these questions to you sooner. I have been swamped. Do I have too much on my plate or are too many things expected of me? (he asked getting straight to the heart of the matter)?Or am I avoiding responsibility?

These are questions only you can answer: however, let me answer    your question with some questions. Do you procrastinate? Do you have difficulty saying “No” to those requests that are not integral to your job or interests? Do you feel taken advantage of? If you answered “Yes” to any or all of the questions, it may help to talk to a third party who can help you understand what’s going on.

2.  Dr. Mc Cabe, I am going to suggest a new Diagnostic category to the American Psychiatric Association for DSM-V- I call it CRAP- Chronic Responsibility Avoidance Personality (and I am sure there is a profile somewhere ) What do you think ?

I think there is already a diagnostic category.

Any of the following will fit: lazy, unreliable, spoiled, entitled, shiftless and also…Congress!

3) One of my grad students once wrote a paper entitled “Excuses, Excuses” bemoaning the lack of personal responsibility. How do excuses figure into your work?

In regard to excuses fitting into my work, I think that most of our political leaders have taken courses in excuses and many of them were valedictorian of their Excuse Class. In the world of business, sports or horse racing, excuses don’t get the man or woman as far as they might get in politics, unless they’re related to the boss or stable owner. For me personally, I only make excuses when I feel it is necessary to do so!

4) I cannot accept the blame for it raining, but I can accept the blame for not being prepared for the rain. Am I off on your thinking?

In answer to your question about not being prepared for the rain,

What does being prepared for the rain mean? Do we have to strengthen the dike, carry an umbrella, or mend the roof? In some cultures when it starts to rain, you better have a boat ready because it doesn’t stop for months. You’ll have to be more specific!

5) Blame seems to be the name of the game- teachers blame the parents, parents blame the teachers, the administration blames the culture, and everyone blames the weather. How and when did all this blaming get started?

Actually, all the blame stuff started with Adam and Eve. When God asked Adam why he ate the apple, he blamed Eve. When Eve was asked, she said, “The Devil made me do it; he pulled a gun! All kidding aside, we all make excuses to get out of trouble. It just seems that now we need our leaders to take responsibility and they generally don’t because many of their handlers are lawyers.  As recognized about many lawyers: If their lips are moving… they’re lying.

6) I may be wrong, but is not blaming one of the Freudian defense mechanisms? How did it get so out of control?

In regard to your question about Freudian defense mechanisms and blaming, some of the following may fit: avoidance, projection, denial and rationalization. However, what difference does an excuse make if  the job doesn’t get done or the problem solved? Giving it a name only means we went to school to learn the name of the excuse but not the answer.

7) I once heard someone say, before trying to change other people, first try changing yourself-any insights?

In regard to changing ourselves before we try to change others, the Bible has something to say about this: It talks about a splinter in your neighbor’s eye and a plank in your own!

8) Can, and should we BLAME the government for things?

You’ve got to be kidding! The government is the central cause of so many of our problems. It gets us into wars we should not be in… like Viet Nam and Iraq. In Iraq, Where were the weapons of mass destruction? Also, did anyone ask you if it was ok to put our children in trillions of dollars of debt? Why is our government helping to outsource jobs to foreign countries when our unemployment rate is so high? Don’t get me started, or I’ll have to get a glass of wine to calm myself down! What makes me really angry is I believed Obama and voted for him! Ouch! And I don’t care if you agree with me or not!

9) Listen, I often accept TOO MUCH responsibility and end up doing TOO MUCH of the work. Should I take responsibility for delegating to others who are unreliable and undependable?

In regard to this question Mike, if you have to ask this question whatever job you’re doing is too much for you. Ask for a demotion!

10) We got some real problems—the world of 2011 is not the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s or even the 1990’s. When are people going to get this message?

I think the message has been delivered and it reads: You’re on your own! Do not trust politicians, the Catholic Church (I’m Catholic), the      police, your broker, your car salesman, the stock market, your boss and company, your IRA fund and your husband or wife (About 50% of marriages end in divorce!).

11) Let’s talk about lack of fulfillment- people feel that they cannot make a difference- how did this come about?

In regard to this question , my answer is: Too many people sold their spirit for money and dislike what they do but feel trapped. The folks who didn’t buy into the “System” and developed, or worked at, jobs they liked… are happier!

12) Tell us about your book and The Gifted One and City Bear.

The Gifted One: The Journey Begins is designed to awaken folks to see what is right in front of them but invisible to most. It’s a book about personal transformation for the purpose of helping folks to help themselves and then, their making our world a better place for their family, friends and children, as well for our country and our world neighbors.

13) I have traveled to Europe where things are quite pleasant–Less stress, less aggravation etc. What are they doing right and what are we doing wrong?

In regard to this question about your traveling in Europe…They have : a)    fewer lawyers… and b) more beer, wine, singing and dancing! However, we do have the Hokey Pokey!

14) What do we need to re-evaluate and why?

In regard to what we need to re-evaluate, I’d start with the following: The Tax Code, the war on drugs, our attitude toward college being       mandatory, the US Border Policy, Trade and Cap, the de-regulation of  savings and loan companies, climate control, charter schools, health care and Big Pharma.

15) What have I neglected to ask?

What you neglected to ask is: Why did you write The Gifted One? The answer: First, to change myself and then, to help others, who recognize the need, to change themselves.

I hope you have found the above helpful!

My best wishes!

Dr. Andy McCabe

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