As a young adult looking for the perfect job, I wanted to blame others for why my life wasn’t spectacularly successful.
It was always someone else’s fault—not recognizing my potential, not giving me a chance, not giving me a second (or third) chance.
I became an FBI agent at the age of 25 but I still balked at taking full responsibility for my actions, whined when things didn’t go my way and pointed fingers at someone else when things went south.
This attitude was challenged the first day of my training at the FBI Academy. I was there to learn lessons. And once I learned a lesson I moved on the next one. The pieces shifted into place when I realized that if I failed to learn a lesson, I needed to keep finding opportunities to learn it again and again until it stuck.
For entrepreneurs and business owners, it means having the mental toughness you need to get through the failures and hard times, without giving up or blaming others for your situation.
Here are 5 reasons why successful people never blame others:
REASON #1: When You Don’t Blame Others You Become Resilient
The FBI Academy and my first couple of years as a field agent quickly knocked these negative traits out of my system because to be successful, agents need to be resilient.
To be resilient is to recognize that if you are dissatisfied with certain aspects of your life, then it is your responsibility to take the initiative and do something about it.
TIP: Take responsibility for your actions—stop whining, blaming others, and pointing fingers if you don’t get what you want.
REASON #2: When You Don’t Blame Others You Become More Confident
Lack of confidence in ourselves and our abilities is a major reason we blame others when something goes wrong.
Instead of being open or curious about learning more, a part of us shuts down. Sometimes we blame ourselves as much as blaming others. Focusing on why we failed at something does nothing more than chip away at our confidence; instead, dig down and uncover what we can learn from the experience.
TIP: Consciously and deliberately move into an exploratory frame of mind that is more curious about learning than shameful of making mistakes.
REASON #3: When You Don’t Blame Others You Stop Making Excuses For Yourself
Blaming others for our own actions is nothing more than making excuses for ourselves. In the process, we will have learned nothing from what has transpired and so the lesson inevitably will have to be learned again…and on it goes.
Stop blaming others for what you have or don’t have, or for what you feel or don’t feel. When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility and perpetuate the problem. Blaming is just another sorry excuse, and making excuses is the first step towards failure; you and only you are responsible for your life choices and decisions.
When we blame others, we give away our power.
Often, our thinking is caught up in blame and dealing with the pain of our thoughts and what it all means rather than simply and quickly doing what we need to do.
TIP: Start to question your thoughts and probe deeper into why you default to “blaming others.” Ask yourself, “Is this really true?” Often you will find the basis of those thought are just plain silly! The key is to question your thinking because once you do, you often discover that what you think you believe really isn’t true at all.
REASON #4: When You Don’t Blame Others You Allow Space For Personal Growth
Too many of us spend so much of our time on going through the motions of living—getting married, buying homes, climbing the corporate ladder—that we don’t focus on personal growth. We do not allocate enough time just for ourselves.
Instead of concentrating on what others did wrong, focus on what you want to go right in your life. And then do it.
Grit up. Be. Fiercely. Awesome!
If you don’t, you will wake up some day and realize that you are no closer to being the person you want to be than you were years ago. You will find that you’ve aged, but never grown into your potential.
TIP: Realize that the next step in living a life full of value and meaning for you will not reveal itself in the future—it is to be taken now.
REASON #5: When You Blame Others You Become The Victor, Not the Victim
When you feel the victim, you gain power over the situation by blaming other people for your situation.
Loss of control over one’s life is always associated with feelings of helplessness. There is a very clear link between mental toughness and the way we approach our helplessness.
If we believe a situation is permanent, we’ll remain helpless—we think about our lack of talent, ability, etc—and believe nothing we can do will change it.
But if we believe the cause is temporary, we can act to change it. We feel more in control if we believe we have a possible solution at hand.
TIP: With each problem you face, you can learn a new skill or new fact.
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