Yesterday, I read a very interesting article at Money Crush that suggested that people should blame themselves first if things go wrong.
The central idea behind “blaming yourself” actually makes a great deal of sense. When you blame others for something that goes wrong in your life, that blame gives you a simple way to not have to do anything about it.
If someone else is to blame, you don’t have to examine your own life or your own actions in any way.
If someone else is to blame, you don’t have to question the way you’ve been doing things.
If someone else is to blame, you can stick with the path of least resistance that you’re already on.
If someone else is to blame, you can keep repeating all of the same mistakes.
Obviously, placing all of the blame on others when something goes wrong is a mistake. When something goes wrong, even if the primary fault lies elsewhere, something in your life either allowed this bad thing to happen or made this bad thing worse.
It is always worth your time to figure out what went wrong in your life. It is always worth your time to devise a better path forward.
The problem is that this kind of thinking can really easily lead to negative feelings about yourself.
Rather than seeing a failed situation as being “90% succes with a 10% problem I can figure out and fix,” it’s easy to see that situation as “100% failure,” and that’s an enormous mistake.
When you fail, you are not a failure. You are human. No one succeeds at everything they try. All of us, at some point, have to walk away with an outcome that we did not want.
The question in those situations is not who we blame. Blame doesn’t really do much at all.
The question is what mistakes we made during the process.
Did we not have the skills we needed? How did we assess the job incorrectly? What can we do to improve our assessment of such jobs in the future? How can we improve our skill set?
Did we trust the wrong people? Why did we trust them? What can we do to improve everyone’s accountability in the future?
Was our time management not up to the task? Our information management? Our personal skills? What can we do to sharpen those skills?
Were there personal attributes that made the desire outcome difficult? What can we do to improve those personal attributes?
These are positive questions. These are questions that are going to point you straight toward success in the future and straight away from the bad outcome you just had. These are the kind of questions you should always ask when you end up with an outcome that you didn’t desire. Yelling “I blame you!” or shouting “I am a failure!” through a pile of tears or a face full of anger are never going to help you have a better outcome in the future.
Don’t blame yourself. It’s worthwhile to find reasons for why things didn’t go as expected, and it’s very valuable to find ways to fix those reasons. Blame, on the other hand, means that you’re tossing the responsibility elsewhere and not expecting yourself to do anything ablut it. Blame – whether you’re blaming yourself or blaming someone else – does nothing more than ensure that you never get the results that you want.