Vail Daily column: Pointing fingers and placing blame
I am not sure if I can remember a time when finger pointing and blaming others has been more prevalent in all of society than it is right now. It seems easier to hide behind the mistakes of someone else or even create the mistakes of another person than it is to take ownership and to hold ourselves accountable for our own actions and words.
I am not the first one to share this next bit of advice when it comes to pointing fingers and placing blame, and I am sure I will not be the last one to share it with you either. But we have to remember that when we point the finger of blame at someone else, there are usually three fingers on our hand pointing directly back at us.
Obviously, it’s the media’s fault for corrupting the election for Donald Trump. There is no question it is the previous secretaries of state who should be blamed for recommending the use of personal email accounts for Hillary Clinton. It must be the other driver’s fault for beeping his or her horn when we swerved into that lane while reading a text. And it is clearly the umpire’s failure to call balls and strikes accurately that leaves a batter walking back to the dugout in contempt of a called third strike. And it is never the salesperson’s fault for losing an opportunity, it must have been the prospect or customer who screwed up the deal.
Even some of the elite athletes from around the globe, the world’s finest physical specimens were found pointing fingers of blame on weather conditions, the city of Rio de Janeiro, officials and other reasons they may have missed out on earning a medal. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying it’s everyone, it just seems to me that it is happening more and more and being accepted and even tolerated more and more as well.
There is nothing like a great victory speech. I love an inspiring business leader, athlete, coach or politician who can talk about the dedication and commitment that it took to win and do it with grace, confidence and conviction. But I think I enjoy seeing and hearing from people who lost and who handle the loss with grace and courage even more. The business leader who finds herself sharing why the stock of the company went down recognizes where the mistakes were made and doesn’t place blame anywhere else but squarely upon her shoulders. The coach who says we were just outplayed and lost to a great team. The athlete who congratulates the winner and commits to working harder and preparing better for the rematch. The salesperson who says they were simply outsold. The driver who recognizes that texting and driving is a really bad idea.
We love to accept the accolades for success, but for many of us, it is too hard to accept the ownership of our mistakes. Maybe we do it to save face, so that we look better in front of family, friends and coworkers. Maybe we can’t believe that we are actually capable of fault, living with the mentality of “It’s not me, it’s you.”
If there were a way to keep count, track records and give awards for making mistakes, that may be a contest that I could actually win. I sure have made my share along the way. How about you? Do you own up to your own errors and losses or are you someone who prefers to point the finger of blame at someone else? If you are, simply look down and you will see three fingers pointing right back at you.
I would love to hear your thoughts on finger pointing and placing blame at firstname.lastname@example.org. And when we take ownership and accountability for our own mistakes and losses, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach, and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.