It's All My Fault
It’s all my fault. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s all my fault. You're not in the shape you want to be; it's my fault. Are you not succeeding in your position at work? Are you having problems in your intimate relationship, friendships, or with family? That’s all my fault. Were you late to our lunch? Did you lie to me? Did you cheat on me? Did you say something in bad taste about me when I wasn't around? Did you steal, hurt, or stab me in the back? That's all my fault too. You may think that I am completely insane, and you might be right. Maybe I'm not explaining this well enough? And yup- that's my fault too! So hear me out before you draw your conclusions and go back to your normal paradigm.
Let me ask you one simple question….
Whether you are right or wrong, where has blaming anyone ever gotten you? Yes, it feels good to be right, and it releases you from responsibility. But does it get you any closer to your goal? All of the situations described in the above paragraph hold the same simple truth: that I cannot stop myself from being a victim. However, I can stop myself from feeling like a victim. I can keep myself from having a victim's mentality, no matter how insane it seems. I can turn any failure or speed bump into an opportunity to learn, grow, and adapt. Why? Because growth is happiness and happiness is everything. The meaning of life is to get better. Every. Single. Day.
When you fail, you have two choices. You can either blame others and become bitter or blame yourself and become better. If you blame yourself and accept failure, something special can happen. You can identify how you failed. This, in turn, leads to acquiring the right skill-sets or mindsets that you need to get you closer to achieving your goal. You’ll either get closer, further away, or achieve it completely, but all of these are progress. You either learned a way to do it better, or learned another way not to do it. As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”
Let's take an example.
A few months ago, I was heading to the gym.The goal was simple: To drive from my house to the gym. Halfway there I was rear-ended. What effect did this have on my goal? Failure. I failed to get to the gym. 99% of the population would think, “how could this person rear-end me?”, probably followed by several expletives. But where does this get that person? It was obviously the other driver's fault, their insurance will pay the damages for both parties, and off they’ll go. Statistically, this person will get rear-ended several times in their life time going forward. Each time it will be the other person's fault.
So, what was my mentality? I thought, “Dang, I just let myself get rear-ended.” Fast forward through police reports & insurance claims...
My mind-paradigm shifting question - If I KNEW that I was going to get rear-ended every time I went to the gym, what could I do to protect myself? Several things:
I could buy a steel bumper that wouldn't need replacing
I could NOT go to the gym
I could ride in an Uber
I could find a gym within walking distance from my house
I could look in the rearview mirror when I brake to see if there is someone behind me, and pull to the side of the road if necessary to give more space
Two months later-
Five cars, including mine, (all friends) were driving to go camping. The first car slammed on its brakes. I reacted by hitting my brakes and checking the rearview mirror. I could see the driver in the third car behind me was not paying attention, so I pointed my car in the direction to veer off the road to allow for more space. Luckily, the driver behind me noticed at the last second, and slammed on their brakes before they hit the car that had been in front of me. Where they stopped was about three feet past where my car had been. Had I not acquired a skill set to look in the mirror and to pull over off the road, we would have had a three car accident and the camping trip would have been cancelled. Failure.
This may seem like a silly example, but it poses an important thought: If I can take that sort of ownership over getting rear-ended, imagine the type of ownership I could exercise in all aspects of my life. In the time that most people would be arguing over who was at fault, I’ve already shouldered the blame, and am acquiring skills to find a solution for it to never happen again.
Read the book Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Its powerful. Life-changingly powerful. “Discipline is Freedom”