I had a business encounter recently that made an impression on me. It had to do with one party in a business relationship being upset by something that was said by the other party in the relationship.
When I spoke to the first party to listen to their story, guess who was to blame? I know you see where this is going. Then, when I spoke to the second party to hear them out, guess who was to blame?
Right. Each of them told the story as if they had done absolutely nothing wrong – and each presented themselves as a completely innocent victim of the other person’s behavior. To top it all off, both seemed very honest and sincere about their version of the events.
How Can That Be?
Easy. When something bad happens to us, it is psychologically faster and easier for us to blame our misfortune on others instead of admitting that we did something to cause our own pain.
The truth of the matter is that in the vast majority of cases, when something bad happens to us…we cause it ourselves.
Sure, tornadoes randomly drop out of the sky and destroy houses. You can, through no fault of your own, contract a fatal disease. Absolutely – people commit random acts of violence. So sure. Sometimes you are a totally innocent victim.
But not most of the time. Not even close to most of the time.
It’s Way Too Easy To Pass Blame
You didn’t close an account at work? The home office must have jacked it up. You can’t find your sunglasses? Someone must have stolen them! You got fired? It must have been because the boss or the whole company was incompetent. Someone got mad at you? Well, they clearly are just overly sensitive!
The danger of this attitude is that it reinforces a lie in our own minds that we start to believe. The lie is that we are not responsible for what happens to us now and that we have no control over what happens to us in the future.
Ever wonder why there are so many lawsuits? In my opinion, a great deal of it comes from a growing number of people who have decided that they have no control over anything that has happened to them or will happen to them.
How bleak a life it would be if that were true!
Missing Out On An Opportunity
It’s an easy trap to fall into, and the sad part is that there are so many personal development lessons being completely missed when you don’t own up to your share of the blame. Each mistake and each setback is a valuable opportunity to improve yourself and your life.
Maybe the boss is a jerk, but realize that at some point you chose to take that job – and every day you decide to stay. Perhaps the person you argued with is a difficult person, but you chose to participate instead of walking away.
The next time something bad happens and you want to know who to blame, first consult the nearest mirror before blaming someone or something else. Look at yourself first.
Because you might be to blame for your own misfortune does not make you a bad person or a dumb person. This isn’t about beating yourself up. It’s a matter of self-improvement and growth.
If you are responsible for causing your own misfortune, does it not logically follow that you are also in control of causing your own fortune?
The truth is, you control much more of what happens to you than you realize. And that’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it?
How about you?
How do you use setbacks to critique yourself and your choices?