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Don’t Play The Blame Game!

Do you ever catch yourself thinking, ‘It’s all ‘his/her/their’ fault’?

Many people do this, and it is called ‘playing the blame game’. It’s really easy to play: just think of anything or anyone and just say ‘it’s their fault I’m not successful’! or ‘It’s Lady Luck’s fault that I didn’t win the lottery’, etc.

Most people who blame others or things are mainly being ‘at effect’ – that is they are not able to acknowledge that they have a role in the outcome, even if it is only incidental!

For instance, some time ago I had a car accident. In legal terms, it was the other party’s ‘fault.’

After all, he rear-ended my car when it was stationary! (see, it was all his fault!)

But looking deeper, did I really have a role in the accident?

Most certainly! After all, I was ‘there’ at the exact time of the accident, so in a way I did ‘contribute’ to it – if I hadn’t been there, it wouldn’t have happened! ?

So why do we play this game?

Well, there are a number of reasons:

  1. It is a defence mechanism – it helps us preserve our self dignity by not attributing outcomes to our own behaviour.
  2. It is an effective tool in conflict – blaming someone is an affront to their dignity and weakens them.
  3. We have trouble determining the cause of the other’s behaviour, or even our own behaviour, so it is a lazy way of attributing cause.
  4. It’s easier to shift responsibility away from ourselves than to acknowledge our own behaviour.
  5. We lie. Sometimes we are just too lazy to admit the truth of the matter.

Needless to say, no one can WIN the blame game, indeed, the more you play, the more you lose!

So what is the solution?

The first step is to catch yourself doing it!

Next you need to acknowledge that it doesn’t serve you to do it.

Finally, you need to ‘reframe it’ in a way that puts you ‘at cause’. If it is your actions that primarily led to the outcome, then being ‘at cause’ means acknowledging your role in the outcome, no matter how incidental it may be. But this is not to be blaming ourselves, necessarily.

However, you largely cannot control the actions of others. In this situation, you are only at cause if you ‘bought’ into the outcome. Many investors make this mistake!

Hope this little musing lights up your day!