It is, in my view, human nature to look to blame others when things go wrong. A few years ago, I started to made a concerted effort to take a step back when issues or challenging situations presented themselves, trying to look at them objectively; It wasn’t a conscious decision, but hearing myself and others always pointing the finger and placing blame began to grate. It made me mindful of a comment I read in one of my rowing books which in essence said ‘You are never good enough at something to be pointing out faults in others’. I forget which book it was, but the message was clear: take a look at yourself before you start pointing the finger at those around you.
I would like to state up-front that despite my efforts to stop blaming others, I do still slip in to the bad habit. The irony of those situations now is that if I have done so, I often feel more anguish afterwards for rashly blaming someone else than if I had placed the blame on myself entirely! However, I still feel some success in being able to at least partially stop myself from doing it because there are so many people who seem to go through life believing themselves to be innocent, or victims of others.
I’m not implying that everything is always and entirely ‘your’ fault. Rather, every situation presents an opportunity to grow and improve. Take progression at work for example, I believe an individual is responsible for their own progression and to be clear about where they want to go, or ask for advice from those around them. Too many times I have heard people claim to ‘never be given the opportunity’ only to confess they had never asked for it when asked ‘Why?’. Similarly, with rowing, Olympic rowers are being critiqued through everyday of their training so I should always be learning and trying to improve – no amateur rower is ever faultless and this extends in to…well…everything. On the flip side, I also meet so many people who believe their ‘way’ of doing something to be flawless – but the same mindset applies as strongly to them. There is no such thing as perfect in my opinion.
Not everything can be changed, but the easiest things to influence are those completely under your own control. So looking for your own areas of improvement is a really great way to move forward quickly and keep smiling, which can only be a good thing!