We’ve all done it. We’ve all screwed up, and made the decision to put all the blame on the person standing next to us.
Blaming others is a habit we developed in grade school. When someone was too loud in class, and the teacher asks who it was, the trouble-maker would always shut up and point to the nearest victim.
The same thing went down at home. When we broke something and we knew we were in for it with Dad, the first thing we would think to do is hide in our room and if anyone asked we’d say our little brother did it. That seemed like the right thing at the time!
The problem is that most of us never get out of the habit of blaming others. We experience the ease of getting off the hook when we blame others, and we’re instantly hooked.
But what real value does blaming others actually provide??
Other than getting you off the hook for a minor blunder, are there any actual, long-term benefits from blaming your screw ups on someone else?
If you can’t think of any, that’s because there aren’t many. But let me share a few consequences of blaming others:
1. Guilty Conscience- Most of us feel horrible and lose sleep at night knowing someone else took the punishment for our mistake.
2. Damaged Relationships- When we blame others, the people whom take the blame are naturally going to despise us from then on.
3. Loss of Respect & Self-Respect- People will notice all the blame you put on others and lose all respect for you; and you will lose respect for yourself causing severely damaged confidence.
But when we screw up, what else are we to do?? We hate being punished and we would so much rather cover up the mistake, hide, and act like it never happened.
Since this is the natural tendency, we all need to commit to fighting the urge to do this, because it is only hurting us in the long run…
Instead, we should take some alternative approaches when we make a mistake or fail.
Here are 5 alternatives to blaming your mistakes on other people:
1. Admit You Were Wrong
I know, I know. This does not sound like a viable option. But it’s necessary when we make a fatal, personal mistake.
By admitting to yourself and to others that you were wrong, and you can confidently say it, it is going to immediately throw everyone else off guard. People do not hear the words, “I was wrong” very often. In fact, it’s been said they are the hardest three words to say!
The fact that you are able to openly admit failure, will earn you instant respect from those around you. People may bash out on the surface for the stupid mistake you made, but deep down, they’ll be thinking, “Man, I wish I had the courage to admit when I was wrong”.
The mistake will blow over much faster if you avoid covering up the mistake and just admit you screwed up in the first place.
It’s not the end of the world. Things will blow over and you will most likely have the opportunity to redeem yourself. But every time you fail to take responsibility and admit failure, you are post-poning your future opportunities…
2. Accept The Consequences
When you make a mistake, there will always be some form of consequences. Whether it’s loss of money, or loss of time because you had to spend longer fixing the blunder, there will be some sort of consequence.
The good news is that the consequences are never as bad as they seem. And the longer we wait to accept the consequences and take them on, the more severe they will get. And when we are finally forced into accepting the consequences, it may be more than we can handle.
Next time you make a mistake, accept the immediate consequences and live with it. Complaining or putting it off won’t do any good. You screwed up, and now you must pay a small price for what you have done.
The key word here is small price. Chances are, it will not be anyting severe so just take care of it as soon as possible and put it behind you.
3. Ask For a Second Chance, and Promise You Will Do Whatever It Takes
You will probably have the opportunity to redeem yourself when you make a mistake. But don’t wait for someone to offer you a second chance, ask for it.
People are often time scared to ask for a second chance when they mess up. They think it was there one chance to make it work, and they blew it. And asking for a second chance is highly inappropriate…
In reality this is not true, and people are a lot more reasonable and willing to work with you when you admit you were wrong.
Don’t assume that everything is over and your chances are ruined. Politely ask if you can have the opportunity to fix the problem. Promise that you will work even harder and be more careful this time.
You’d be surprised at how understanding people can be when you show them the desire to fix your mistakes. You are going to have plenty of second chance opportunities, but sometimes you have to let people know you want a second chance.
4. Stay Calm and Avoid Talking Too Much
When we screw up, talking tends to breed excuses. Anything we say is most likely going to sound like an excuse to other people.
The reason for this is because people are so conditioned to hearing excuses after they see a person make a mistake, that they naturally associate any words they speak with an excuse.
Not only that, but the more we talk, the more we are going to be tempted to try to defend ourselves and actually spit out unnecessary excuses.
The best way to overcome this is to speak as little as possible. Talking is not what solves problems; action is. So instead of sitting around trying to explain yourself, go to work on fixing the problem and taking advantage of that second chance you were given.
When you are forced to explain yourself or someone asks you about it, simply admit “I was wrong”, and avoid going into details.
Bite your tongue, because talking will do you no good in a tough situation of screw ups.
5. Take It As a Learning Experience
Most important, take the experience as a learning experience.
Evaluate the situation heavily and try to figure what went wrong, when it went wrong, and why it went wrong. Discover the details and make note of it.
Then, take note of all the information you discovered and evaluated, and use it to make sure you avoid doing the same thing over again.
The mistake and failure only made you stronger and smarter because you were smart enough to look into it more deeply and figure out what happened. Now you know how to avoid that blunder in the future.
Stuff happens, people make mistakes. What’s important is how you react to those mistakes and what you do to handle it.
You can react to mistakes any way you’d like. You can mope about it and blame others for the problems, or you can take it as a learning experience and move on to succeeding. Take Thomas Edison’s words:
“I didn’t fail. I simply discovered 999 way not to make a light bulb, and on the 1,000th…I found the right way”
Become a better listener than a talker. Just as talking can get you into more trouble after you make an excuse, it doesn’t provide nearly as much value to you as when you are listening.
“The man who is doing the listening is doing the learning”
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