All of us know at least one or two people who have had to rent climate controlled storage space because they no longer have any room in their home for all the alibis, self-justifications, denials, delusions, and other emotional crutches they need to avoid taking any personal responsibility and accountability for whatever dissatisfaction their decisions and behavior have caused them.
In their latest book, The Wisdom of Oz: Using Personal Accountability to Succeed in Everything You Do, Roger Connors and Tom Smith observe that, over the years, they have “boiled down the many victim-cycle and blame-game excuses into six major categories. It’s important that you become familiar with each so that you can recognize when you or those close to you get caught up in it.”
Here they are:
1. Ignore/deny: If you ignore a toothache, pretend a leaking pipe will fix itself, or deny there are weeds in your yard, what happens? Right: A root canal, a flooded basement, and the prettiest dandelion farm in three counties.
2. It’s Not My Job: There is a pervasive lack of ownership out there, a widespread lack of personal integrity; the buck is passed from one person to another to another. No one owns a problem or failure…everyone owns a solution or success.
3. Finger-pointing: There are so many candidates: parents, siblings, teachers, coaches, and politicians as well as race, gender, age, genetics, and astrological sign. Pogo the possum acknowledged, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
4. Confusion/Tell Me What to Do: A lot of people think that confusion lets them off the hook. It is the great defender of the status quo. Nothing and no one will ever change when lost in the swamp of confusion and “tell me what to do.”
5. Cover Your Tail: We all do it. No one wants something bad to be their fault, and every one has a story about why it’s not. The phenomenon is everywhere.
6. Wait and See: When faced with a natural disaster such as a tsunami, “Do something even if it’s wrong.” Action, any action, produces more and better results than paralysis ever will.
They discuss all these in much greater detail as well as “Rules of the Blame Game” in The Wisdom of Oz. In fact, I highly recommend all of their books. To learn more about Roger and Tom, please click here.