“Your life is the fruit of your own doing. You have no one to blame but yourself.” – Joseph Campbell
Imagine the following scenarios and a fairly common reaction to how they play out:
- You or someone you know just got finished taking a test. You come out feeling fairly confident. You feel as though you did an adequate amount of studying. You come back to class to receive your graded test only to find you received a much lower grade than expected…
- You are playing an important game. You have practiced hard and have a solid game plan. The game is competitive where the lead has changed hands back and forth. As the end of the game approaches, your rivals gets some calls, takes advantage, and begins to pull away. Afterward, a couple of friends and family ask you about the game and what happened…
- You are a sales rep. The end of the month is near and goals need to be met. You have perfected your sales pitch and delivered it time and time again. You cross the threshold of your goals only to realize on the last day that a previous customer returns the product you sold them earlier in the month and purchases another through a different rep, who did nothing to save your business. With no other opportunities to hit your goal, your manager calls you into his office to speak with you about not hitting your monthly goals…
“I blame him (my teacher/the refs/the other sales rep). It is not my fault. If they would do their job better, then I would not have failed/lost/missed my quota.”
The truth is that I have been in all of these scenarios, and I have reacted the same way. I blamed a teacher for a bad grade, a ref for a loss, and a co-worker for a missed sale. And, in each instance, I was right. There was someone that needed to be blamed…ME.
We often get caught pointing the finger at someone else when things go wrong. It is our gut reaction. We do it almost without even thinking. It is easy to shift the blame and protect ourselves.
The harder, but more respected, approach is to turn the finger on ourselves, admit that we could have done more (studied more, played better defense, or learned more about the client the first time to sell the correct product), and accept responsibility.
Sometimes you can do everything correctly and still come up short. However, we should not just blame life for dealing us a bad hand. We should instead seek to learn why we came up short, how we can do better next time, and get to work on making that happen. Perhaps we need more training, better timing, or more patience.
When we are quick to place blame on someone else, we are deflecting responsibility and accountability. With those things come the opportunity to learn and grow from our experiences. By having an I did nothing wrong mentality, we continue to encounter experiences where we get to shift the blame. We no longer create an incentive for fixing the problem, mainly because we do not recognize it as our problem, but someone else’s.
It is time to start accepting responsibility for our actions. It is time to recognize that we have no one to blame, but ourselves. It is time to start using our experiences to learn and grow. We are in control of our reactions, our behaviors, and our emotions.
Because of this, turn the finger toward you. Then, get better.
Bring your best today!