When are you a failure? The dangers of the blame game.

It’s funny how the simplest thing can come up out of the blue, which forces you stop and think.

Here’s a quote I came across recently…

“You fail all the time, but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming someone else.”

Like most of us, I see motivational quotes plastered across social media every single day. Some are good, some are bad, yet let’s face it most of them get forgotten pretty quickly.

But for some reason this one stuck with me, and I think it’s because it resonated with me on a couple of levels.

Firstly, I’ve fallen into the trap that many us have from time to time where, while often unconsciously, we start to slip into a victim’s mentality.

“Nothing is going right.” “This isn’t fair.” “Why does this always happen to me?” “There’s no point trying. They’ll just reject me again.”

You get the idea.

When we place our sense of success, purpose and belonging in the hands of others, we are inevitably going to be disappointed. Life isn’t fair. The cold hard reality is that nobody has any obligation to make you happy or successful – except you.

Every ‘failure’ in life can be turned into a positive learning experience – if we frame it right.  

The second part of this quote that got me thinking was the use of the word ‘blame’. To me, this word conjures up such feelings of negativity, and even guilt and anger.

While blaming someone else is obviously unhealthy, blaming yourself can quickly become what I’d describe as self-destructive.

Taking responsibility for your own actions is a whole other story. As is putting a plan of action in place that only you are in control of. What this does is put you back in the driver’s seat of your life, and with this control comes a sense of confidence, and what confidence does is build resilience against all of those external negative forces.

As I’ve discovered, the result from all this has been the removal of the words ‘failure’ and ‘blame’ from my vocabulary – and I feel so much better for it.

I was inspired to write this piece after I missed out on some work that I whole heartedly believed that I was the best person to deliver. I was so confident that I cleared my schedule in preparation for it.

Then, when it suddenly didn’t happen, I felt a bit gutted. So, I reflected on the above quote and made a decision.

Firstly, I knew I needed to do something to clear my head and help me focus. So, I got some exercise by going out for a run in the fresh morning air.

When I got back, I wrote this post, and next I’ll sit down and have a quiet debrief with myself to extract the positive learnings from this experience.

Then I’ll put it all to bed and move on. It’s the nature of my job after all.

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