Responsibility, Opportunity, Autonomy


I was reading, well actually listening (I listen to a downloadable books biking to work) to Phil Jackson’s book, Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success. Phil Jackson was a player for the Knicks and a successful coach for both the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. Throughout the book he talks a lot about growth and leadership and what he believes has helped him win 11 championship rings.

In Chapter 6 he was discussing Lakota Indian Tribal customs and culture he tried to adopt for coaching. He explains, “One of the things that intrigued me about the Lakota culture  was its view of the self. Lakota warriors had far more autonomy than their white counterparts, but their freedom came with a high degree of responsibility.” I also talk about responsibility in relation to health but attribute that more to the pathogenic or disease avoidance paradigm. To me health is an OPPORTUNITY and I consider this associated with health origins salutogenic approach. To me we do not  have a responsibility, but an opportunity to have a better life. Being told we must do something generally causes resistance while an opportunity creates desire.

You can see here (and posted below) how I describe pathogenic with responsibility and salutogenic as an opportunity approach. To understand the universality of this application, Umair Haque, in his wonderful book, Betterness, explains the existing paradigm as pathogenic and recommends we adopt the new Betterness paradigm he proposes in his book because of the benefits to everyone and everything.

From my reading, I understand Phil Jackson discussed responsibility with autonomy because he believe autonomy was earned by those who had taken the responsibility to learn and develop the necessary skills and knowledge. Also because he explained how the outcome was about the tribe more so than the individual, it required the development of skill and knowledge to be able to contribute to the greater good of the tribe.

To me, this means if we hope to have the opportunity to be able to autonomously  self direct and create the life we want, we must take the opportunity to grow by doing the work necessary to gain the skills, abilities and relationships that can help. We can’t know what is needed before so we must seek to grow as much as we can by building and developing. Of course doing this helps create the life we want more likely now and int he future. The point he was making with his team was how they were not individuals but a team and for them to win, they had to think about how they could function independently in such a way so that it contributed to the whole or the team’s outcome. This is how nature works also, each cell is autonomous and functions on its own – but in a way that contributes to the whole system. It seems if we also think about how to function so that we can contribute to improving the whole, it would benefit all because we will be creating interactions so everyone and everything benefits.

Be Well’r,

Craig Becker

3 thoughts on “Responsibility, Opportunity, Autonomy

  1. Seems to me that unless Phil Jackson earned one or more of the eleven rings as a player, then he did not win any of the rings. The rings he received as a coach were won for him by his players.

    It also seems to me that if we want everyone to embrace the concept of salutogenesis, then we need to put it forth in such a manner that folks can understand creating health as easily as they understand the concept of reducing their health risks.


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