“If you get your ego in your way, you will only look to other people and circumstances to blame.” –Jocko Willink
Here’s a thought experiment…
Looking back over the past few weeks (or months, or years), how many times did you blame:
- some thing
- an injury
- a disability
- the weather
- the economy
- the government
- your boss
- your employee
- social media
- a company
- a bad memory
- anything but yourself?
No matter the subject, there are plenty of candidates for our blame…as long as we can aim it outward.
Our ego prefers blaming “the other” rather than accepting responsibility. Life’s easier that way.
Blame doesn’t just apply to things that happened in the past. Blame is most powerful (and crippling) when it prevents something from happening in the future:
- I won’t be able to make it out there tomorrow. The traffic is just too crazy at that time.
- I hate this job, but I don’t have time to learn a new trade.
- I’d love to help you move, but with my bad back, I wouldn’t be very helpful.
- There’s no way I’d ever start my own business in this economy. Besides, who needs all the government regulations and hassle?
- It’s way too cold out there to go for a walk today.
- I’d love to travel more, but there’s no way my boss would ever give me the time off.
How many times have you used blame to avoid doing something new, or something that could fail?
Blame is useful when it establishes a foundation for improvement. When it represents a first step toward identifying root causes that can be solved.
Beyond that, blame has very little value, except stroking our ego (and keeping us nice and warm in our cacoon of status quo).