• Adam Tarnow

Blame City, USA

Blame City, USA. Sometimes I feel like this is where I live.


Why?


I'm a dad. I live with a twelve-year-old and a ten-year-old.


Deny, deny, deny. Growing up, that was was my go-to reaction when I got in trouble. "I didn't do it."


Blame, blame, blame. My son's go-to reaction when they get in trouble is, "It was his fault, not mine."


All of us are surrounded by blamers every day. You could even make an argument that 2020 will go down as "The Year of Blame."


Everyone's got a finger to point. Including me.


The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. My sons live with me (to be clear, they live with my wife too, but I'm writing about blame, so I can't include her in this piece).


My sons have learned to blame. If I want them to stop blaming and start taking responsibility, then I have to change first.


Here are some ideas to help. These are the ways I'm trying to grow as a person who takes responsibility and rejects blame.


(1) Actively fight the victim mindset. This is huge. I have to look at challenges I face as opportunities to get better, not further evidence that the world (or someone in the world) is out to get me.


(2) Humbly seek to learn from all situations. Instead of saying, "who's the blame for this?" I'm learning to say, "what can I learn from this?"


(3) Focus on inputs more than outputs. The more I ignore what I can't control, the happier I become, and the less I blame others. Obsessive focus on what I can control helps me become a more responsible person.


(4) Over-personalize, in a healthy way. In many ways, each of us is a little small business. We're all a personal brand. This helps me feel responsible and pursue excellence in my work. If something goes wrong, it's my brand that will suffer the consequences. Not someone else's brand.


I want fewer finger pointers in my life. To achieve that goal, it starts with me. The same is true for you. I hope these four ideas will help you (and others) move out of Blame City, USA.

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