There’s Nobody to Blame but Yourself

Finger pointing. Lying. Avoidance. Misdirection.

These are all nouns used by too many, including myself at times, when things don’t go as planned. As a kid growing up, I can remember always trying to avoid trouble. I would lie my butt off it saved me a spanking, grounding, or talking to. I did what I had to while in the trenches of childhood. It was dirty and I don’t like to admit it but similar to Fletcher Reede, I too was a liar liar.

As time passed on, I hardly got better at handling defeat. Whether I was outsmarted, out played, or out right caught doing something wrong, I never liked it. Growing up I used a pretty solid defense mechanism called deflection or misdirection to help direct people away from my flaws while pointing out another person’s shortcomings or mistakes. As I continued to age, there finally hit a time where I realized I had to stop denying what my mistakes and start taking credit for my actions.

This was tough at first as I am frequently wrong. Did you know that I do not know everything? Yeah, a real shocker to me too. But overtime things became easier and I learned to accept and almost be proud of my mistakes. I saw them as learning opportunities to grow in an area of defficiency. I have used these failures to move forward rather than step back to dodge them. However, all too frequently the people I interact with at work (customers- not coworkers) consistently point fingers and lie to avoid being help accountable for their actions. It’s astonishing to me. I realize the hypocrisy here as that used to be me. Then again, the people I work with range from mid 20's to mid 60's and are still unable to realize it is their actions that caused the outcome.

While working with these people who have dug themselves a hole, one of the more common responses I receive is, “well, I didn’t know” or “how did you expect me to know that?” quickly followed by, “it’s not my fault.” At this point I’m baffled. This might be something I would expect from a kid or even a young adult but with the frequency it occurs in “grown ups,” is amazing. It has made me realize that some people are simply lazy. They would rather rely on being able to skate around an issue than taking the problem straight on. In one of my previous jobs we would joke that people would work harder to avoid doing their actual task than if they were to do what is asked of them. The same can be applied to taking responsibilities for their actions. It’s quicker and easier to fess up, learn, grow and move on than it is to point fingers and back pedal. Not to mention, people respect you far more for it!

In conjunction with this is the common phrase of “how was I supposed to know?” Or “that’s what _______ told me.” To this I respond, “did you check for yourself?” I understand there are professionals who we trust blindly such as our dentist, family doctor, or boss (mostly) however this doesn’t mean we can’t look into anything we are told ourselves. I believe it was President Ronal Reagan who said, “trust but verify.” This simple quote hits the nail on the head. With today’s technologicical advances, it’s easier than ever to jump on the internet an perform preliminary research on nearly anything. Type your question into Google, click on a few articles, cross reference the sources, and bam you have a little better understanding of whatever it was you were seaking. I am not saying this must be done for every crossroad but you should definitely seek counsel on those larger life decisions. For me, ignorance is not an excuse. Either read the information or don’t, learn and grow or don’t, put in the work or don’t but in any case take the credit!

Overall, in the information age we live in it is hard for me to see how most anything cannot be traced back to you. The internet is available, your phone probably has hundred or thousands of contacts to call, and you can stalk people on social media for days which means you have the ability to find the answers you desire. You have the ability to learn and grow every single day. There is a quote that is fitting for my life that states, “without failure success is not possible.” I love this as it erases the idea that being wrong is bad. It helps me embraces my mistakes and use them as stepping stones. I do this to better myself and to become a more well rounded professional. This can be the same for you or any of the adults I interact with on a daily basis. It’s my intention that people understand and realize they too can be a trusted professional rather than having to rely on others for their answers.

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