Total responsibility is to say, “I am responsible for everything that happens to me.” Standard responsibility says “those things within my control” but in reality everything is within your control; hence you are responsible for every single thing that happens to you—at some level, you will it to happen (even the bad things). This thought is too terrible for most people to consider, since it means that at some level you despise yourself so much you want to suffer and fail—yet the real cause is not that you despise yourself but that you are not prepared to take total responsibility. Instead, you pretend you are not responsible when you are.
There’s a Jungian angle here, one that says that what you repress or deny will come back to sabotage you and so in that sense anything not brought to consciousness will guide your life without your knowledge—so you must bring it to light to be responsible. However, I mean more in the sense that every event is your responsibility—not just that, for example, you refuse to acknowledge a dream where you fall off a tall mountain and then on your next expedition do exactly that (somehow unconsciously willing it). No, I mean that if a taxi broadsides your car out of nowhere then you are responsible for that—even a Jungian would say that is outside your responsibility, as are the laws of physics.
Total responsibility is the magical will. Responsibility at that level frightens because it opens the possibility that people might actively punish themselves—they do so because they cannot be responsible, rather than step up to the task they prefer self-punishment; it’s almost as though people secretly hate themselves; and, indeed, perhaps they do. If you take responsibility at this level, there are no excuses—absolutely everything that ever happens to you was what you truly wanted; and so it is vital to excavate what your true “wants” are, if you are to be truly responsible.