Falsely blaming others is toxic enough, self-deluding away personal accountability is corrosive and dangerous.

Once failure becomes the enemy it only grows more powerful

Success may be the goal but failure is not the enemy, it is merely an obstacle along the way. If we allow failures and mistakes to become the enemy then our focus shifts from achieving success to avoiding failure. Instead of motivating us to push harder it demotivates us away from trying at all unless we can be guaranteed success. Failure feels lousy but accepting, coping, and learning from it are crucial skills for achieving genuine success in life. If we never fail then we never develop the ‘muscles’ needed to deal with it which only makes failure seem all the more terrifying a monster. Shifting the responsibility for it to someone else is a false reprieve as it spawns the fear of it coming back or worse, being discovered.

The only way to conquer the failure monster is to accept that failing is simply a part of living, a part of learning, and remembering we are not merely the sum of our successes and failures. They are only aspects of our journey. What truly demonstrates our quality is how well we handle both.

Deceptions come with constant cost

Always deflecting and diverting fault and blame to others can be described as a misdirection, but misdirection is a form of deception.

Accepting our own responsibilities enables us to focus our energies on growing, learning, and living. It frees us from the constant exhausting fears of being discovered.

Hair-trigger blaming habits erode trust

Being known for always placing fault and blame on others quietly places a stamp of expendability onto all of our relationships. If the fault always lays with someone else then all relationships and interactions someone might have with us come with the implication that at any moment they could be potentially the next one to go under the bus. Thus people are never fully able to trust us. Not only does that lack of trust eat away at our relationships but it seeps back into ourselves as well. The sense of defensive mistrust serves to fuel our paranoia further heightening the perceived consequences of failure or discovery exacerbating the entire cycle.

Being willing and able to accept responsibility for our failures and mistakes engenders trust and loyalty. Not only because it demonstrates our capacity to cope when things go wrong but also that we won’t lash out at those around us when they do.

Shifting blame also strips us of the power for genuine action

If the fault for things is never ours then neither is the power to actually do anything about them. Assigning the blame to others also gives them credit for, and thus the power for, all relevant action. If we ‘didn’t do anything’ that gives us less power and involvement not more, less responsibility also means less power to be part of the solution. It might seem like it could set us up to then swoop in like a hero solving a problem someone else has caused but that ends up only putting more pressure on our actions, not less. The scrutiny and expectations heap higher on our heroic effort because if it fails we look worse than our previous scapegoat. Thus the fear is increased not decreased.

Failure and mistakes are part of living and learning. If we want to learn and grow from them we must first claim them rightly as our own. It may initially feel crappy but it is the only way to give ourselves the genuine power of choice, growth, and productive action.

Written by

A professional dancer, choreographer, theatre creator, and featured TEDx speaker with an honours degree in psychology, two black belts, and a lap-top.

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