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The Blame Game   Leave a comment

I mentioned a few posts back that I went on a trip to Bellingham, WA.  I live in Alabama so I had to fly to get there and back.  As I was proceeding to check in for the flight home, a guy came running into the airport and ran straight up to the counter.  He stated he was on a flight that was about to leave.  The woman at the counter asked which flight, and when he told her, she stated the flight was already closed and she couldn’t check him in now.  He stated that he had to get on that flight, he just had to.  She told him there was nothing she could do about it.  He complained that she was being unreasonable and she reminded him that he was supposed to arrive at the airport two hours early for his flight.

Frustrated, the guy tried to explain the situation to her.  His alarm didn’t go off that morning so he got a late start.  He drove to the border as fast as he could but the traffic was heavier than expected and moved at a snail’s pace.  When he got to the US/Canadian border, there was a back up because Customs was going so slow.  He had done everything he could to get there on time but life had just conspired against him.  He wasn’t to blame.  Couldn’t she just help him out?

We all play the blame game.  Nobody wants to admit that they’re at fault.  It’s an ego thing.  If we admit fault we are admitting there’s something wrong with us.  We erred. And that can’t be right.

So we assign the blame to others.  Or we assign it to situations completely beyond our control.  Like the guy at the airport.  He’d made a good faith effort to be there on time but a series of cascading delays befell him.  He can’t be held accountable for that, can he?

It is true that there are events over which you’ll have no control.  You might be smitten by someone, but you can’t make them return the feeling.  You can take perfect care of your vehicle and then a defective part can sideline it.  You say or do something with one intention, but can’t control how others will interpret it. I get that.

The problem with the blame game is it cedes control to factors outside of us.  If the problem exists outside of us there’s nothing we can do to change it.  And there’s always something we can do.  After all, you at least have control over how you react to a situation.

But it’s easier to blame circumstances beyond our control.  That way we can never be at fault.  You can’t blame me for the traffic or the border.  I don’t control those.  There’s a problem with nothing ever being your fault though.  It means you’re admitting ALL circumstances are beyond your control.

You’re a passenger in your life, not the captain.  You have no determination in the events in your life.  If every time something bad happens to you, you’re powerless to stop it then you have no control, period.

Now you’re probably saying to yourself “I still make decisions.  And all the great things I’ve accomplished were my doing.  I can take credit for them.”  Even if that’s true, when you’re powerless to stop the bad things from happening, at any moment something bad can take away all that good you did.  And by your own admission, it’s out of your control and you can’t stop it.

To be able to stop it you’d have to take ownership.  Admit that there were factors in your control.  Take the guy at the airport for example.  He could take ownership of the fact that he didn’t have a back up alarm, just in case.  Or he could take owernship of the fact that both average traffic wait times, and border wait times, are available for searching on the internet.  He could take ownership of the fact that if the flight was so important he could have decided to cross the border way earlier then he needed to.  It may have run the risk of making him wait way longer for the flight, but it would have lessened the risk of being late.  All of that was under his control

So I guess it’s up for you to decide what kind of life you want.  Do you want to be the person who is dragged through life by Fate?  No real say in how things will turn out.  No real hope because you know it’s all out of your control.  Or do you want to be the Captain of your ship?  Your hand firmly on the rudder of your life.  Focused on ownership and personal responsibility.  The true creator of the best version of yourself.  Make your choice, and accept the life that comes with it.  Have a great day.

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