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Playing the Blame Game: 6 Ways to Avoid Being an Unbearable Pain
It’s not my fault, it’s yours. Ever had thoughts to that effect? I don’t think there would be a person alive who hadn’t internally (or externally) declared that a problem they were experiencing was someone else’s fault. Sometimes it may be the case and we of course, cannot control other people’s actions or words.
But can you honestly grow as a person if you truly believe that your difficulties are the fault of those around you, and never your own? I’m not saying we should be going around punishing ourselves and living in a state of martyrdom. That wouldn’t be useful either. But recognising your own contribution to anything in life that doesn’t go smoothly is a clear opportunity to learn and develop your own behaviour and skill set.
I know a person who has spent their entire life manufacturing reasons why other people are at fault for their own misgivings. This person is not only a bore to be around, they are also entirely predictable (and not in a good way).
In every conversation, the main focus will be on the aspects of their life that they are unhappy with, and ultimately why they are the incontestable victim. Whether it’s their relationship woes (and oh my god, kill me now), or the ‘fact’ that they didn’t get a solid mark on a paper they submitted because the tutor was not doing their job properly, it all comes back to one thing. Being unwilling (or unable) to take ownership of the problem and work out a way to learn to do it differently next time.
In business, this theory is no different. Did you not make your sales target because the competitor product or service was nicer/better/more appealing? Did you not submit/win that tender because the other applicants had more money for resources throughout the process? Or did your business do an unsatisfactory job in some way because your staff weren’t dedicated enough to get it right? Spot the trend?
Here are six ways you can bring the focus back to your own contribution and take responsibility for the outcomes of your challenges:
- Stay away from people who regularly blame others for the areas in their life they’re not happy with. Negative people will only bring you down. If you can recognise it in others then you should be able to recognise it in yourself. And don’t think you’re immune.
- Try to think of one story you tell where you feel that something negative is someone else’s fault. Then turn it around to have an honest look at your own part in that story. Focus on what you could be doing differently to get a better outcome.
- Be understanding of the things you can control and the things you cannot. There is simply no point to investing energy in the things that are out of your control. So work on the things that you can change or improve.
- Think about the people in your life who have others flock to them. Who do you know that is loved by virtually everyone? Why do you think that person is able to achieve this kind of status in their peer group? One thing is for sure – it’s not because they are a miserable victim.
- Be self-aware. If you don’t think others can’t tell what you’re doing, you’re mistaken. It’s as obvious as your teenager telling you those cigarettes belong to someone else.
- Be willing to be stern with yourself. People in my life have said to me on occasions that I’ve been too hard on myself. I can honestly say that the times I have taken full responsibility for the elements of my life that were making me unhappy, are the times I have been able to gain deep insights into becoming a better/nicer person.
So treat your business (and personal) world to some honest analysis and be willing to see your own part in the things that don’t always make you happy. Instead of believing the average mark you got on that paper was a fault of the tutor, ask how you can make it better. Don’t get caught up in the blame game and you’ll be acting like the Dalai Lama in no time!
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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