Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wasting Blame

"I suffer: someone must be to blame." Friedrich Nietzsche.

Every single day something will probably go wrong. You sprain an ankle in your exercise class. You get a run in your stocking. Your purse is stolen. You forget your lunch. Life is full of problems and issues.  It is very common to try to find a person to blame for it.

Just because something happened does not mean someone has to be blamed.

If someone steals your purse, yes, you can point to a particular person and event and lay blame. That is easy and obvious.  What about tripping on a curb? Some people shake their heads at their own clumsiness and pick themselves back up. Others try to sue the city for not painting the curb fluorescent orange so they would be sure to see it even though they were texting.

When a tree blows over in a hurricane, some people go next door and demand that their neighbor pay to have the tree removed because the roots are on the neighbor's land. Is the neighbor to blame because the tree fell?  Probably not unless they blatantly left a rotted out tree standing but it's hard to collect money from the wind that was to blame. So we blame our neighbors for having let the tree grow at all and expect them to handle it for us. (By the way, if you have home owner's insurance, you probably have coverage there if the tree hits a building.)

I'm not saying people are always blameless. I am just saying not to assume that someone is to blame just because something happened. Accidents happen. Mistakes happen. Unless there was a mistake that was grievous, it may not be anyone's fault that something happened. 

The same is true of yourself. Do not assume that every bad thing that happens to you is your fault. Do not drive yourself crazy blaming yourself for not being quicker or smarter or better. Sometimes it's not your fault; it's just your turn.

Save the time you would have spent looking for someone to blame and go straight to using that time to think about how to fix the situation. It's a lot more productive.

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