When life isn’t going our way, it is easy to blame our challenges on anything and anyone but ourselves.
If we are to achieve our goals, we must accurately diagnose what is wrong and, more importantly, how we can do better rather than playing the blame game.
Don’t get me wrong, unless you are totally delusional the total blame won’t ever solely be yours. But there is a nuanced way to play the blame game which requires going beyond the obvious. The only way to diagnose your problems is to understand how hidden factors can affect your life.
My disability can feel like an anchor. Everything I do takes extra effort and energy. And while it would be easy to blame everything on my disability (even when my favorite sports’ team loses), this narrative doesn’t help me achieve my goals. Instead, I look for the things I can control like my routines, processes, habits or attitude – even if it is sometimes hard to remember to do this.
The reality is, many of your challenges are your fault. Perhaps you bought a new house outside your budget just because it had cute little pantry. Well, as the eye-watering loan repayments start to apply each month, you could complain that you don’t have enough money, or didn’t have the same life opportunities as others. Both are technically true. But deep down, you will know this self-induced stress could have been avoided by setting a more realistic budget.
The same thing can happen in relationships. How often have you blamed the character flaws of other people when something goes wrong? Just because it is easier than understanding your own flaws or finding new ways to improve your communication doesn’t make it right.
Learning how to maturely approach the blame game is especially important in business since with all the moving parts it can be tough to diagnose the challenges.
Consider the problem of a bad employee. It’s true, they could just be a lazy person. But it could also be true that you failed to clearly communicate expectations, which is why they are not meeting their deadlines. Instead of stressing out and blaming the employee, a better option would be to better outline your needs. If the job is still not resolved, then finding a new employee will be a much less stressful decision.
Author Mark Manson said often all that’s needed to improve our life is to incrementally recalibrate how we chase our goals, not make enormous changes.
Attending a personal development seminar might be exiting and our brains are wired to prefer the illusion that larger actions create greater results. But exercising thrice weekly and blocking Facebook are much more effective ways to increase your productivity than chasing a new “productivity hack.”
The first step to improving your life is knowing what you need to improve. If you want to save money you must know how it is being wasted. If you want to improve your business, you must locate the inefficiencies. All of this requires understanding the deficiencies in your own mindset and asking how much your own actions are contributing to your challenges.
Success is not about ignoring challenges or lumping all the blame on you. It’s about knowing the difference between justified blame and accurate diagnosis.