Do you ever blame traffic, existent or fabricated, when you are late to a meeting, to work, or to dinner with your family? Sure. It doesn’t hurt anyone to transfer the fault of your delayed arrival to someone or something else. No harm. No foul. No repercussions.
I hate this mentality. Unfortunately, I occasionally subscribe to this notion because it prevents me from upsetting my wife, my co-workers, and my friends with the reality that, yes, I stayed to work late, met with someone else first, or simply took the long way home to clear my head. Is that so bad? No. It isn’t. The failure is my inability to admit and take responsibility for my actions.
It has become a codified practice to blame our shortcomings, failures, and mistakes on someone or something else before personally accepting responsibility. What is most disgusting is that this practice has infiltrated all levels of our existence. Politicians blame our nation’s teachers for the dismal performance of our schools but are simultaneously unwilling to allocate more money to education out of fears over jeopardizing their kickbacks or their likelihood of reelection. Instead of taking responsibility for such actions they blame their Congressional opponents or utilize the ultimate scapegoat, and silencer, national security. But we need national security… and now the crisis of accepting responsibility has been averted because the tax-paying constituents are on to a new subject.
Office gossip is another example. “Did you hear Meg slept with James? No? Well…you didn’t hear it from me but here are all the details I know…” When Meg confronts you later about your willingness to share her intimacies, how will you respond? Obviously the safest option is to act surprised by the accusations and suggest that perhaps someone else, *cough* James, is sharing their indiscretions. Congratulations on avoiding the workplace drama that would likely ensue…but what kind of person can’t accept the repercussions of their actions? Most people. It is a pathetic reality that I am sick of both being a part of and witnessing.
Daily, we make decisions through our actions and communications that affect one another. We hold an immeasurable amount of power that, like Superheroes, can either be used for good or evil. Regardless of what end of the spectrum you find yourself on, own up to the things you did, said, or failed to. Are people going to be upset by your candor? Possibly, but perhaps that is a good thing. If you cringe at the thought of accepting the consequences of your less than impressive behavior, holding yourself accountable may help you think twice before you speak or act.
Cowboy up, people. It is about time.