“A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.” –John C. Maxwell
Why are people so quick to blame others or circumstances for their problems? Often I see people who are quick to point the finger and it rarely points back at them. Choices are made each day, and these choices have consequences. When the results come in less than favorable, somehow it is easier to push the blame toward someone or something else. This is especially true with finances. One example: Most Americans used to be able to rely on three income sources for retirement– the company pension, Social Security, and personal savings. As the futures of company pensions and Social Security hang in the balance, the pressure builds for you to save on your own for retirement.
If you do not have enough income when you retire, whom will you blame: your employer, the government, or will you accept responsibility? The natural inclination of many people is to pass the blame. You know you are not accepting personal responsibility if you blame other people for your financial problems. I see many people pass the blame whenever they are faced with difficulties. It wasn’t the credit card company’s fault you maxed the card out. It wasn’t the bank’s fault you defaulted on your mortgage. It wasn’t your employer’s fault you didn’t save enough for retirement. These life situations, hardships, character flaws, or whatever else you want to call them begin with you. Rather than agreeing that the common denominator in all your problems is you, will you continue to blame others?
Do any of the following excuses sound familiar?
* I was late because of traffic.
* I have been so busy that I haven’t been eating right or exercising so that is why I put on a few pounds.
* My company isn’t paying me enough, so I cannot save for retirement.
By taking responsibility, you admit your part in creating the problem. You could have been on time if you left earlier. You could have maintained or lost weight if you reprioritized your schedule. You could have saved for retirement if you cut back on spending. There is always a cause-and-effect relationship.
When you consistently point fingers at others, you look at yourself as a victim. Have you ever seen a rich victim? They are not very common. I have seen many poor victims. These are people who are poor and blame others. They blame their lack of financial success on circumstances and people around them.
Many people get into financial trouble because of greed, laziness, or lack of commitment. Quit blaming others. Admit you are the problem. You can always work toward improving your own bad habits, but it is very difficult to change the circumstances and the things around you. So if you concentrate on yourself and what you could do differently, you can begin to create new opportunities. Blaming the world limits your choices. You can either take responsibility or continue playing the blame game.
Harboring negative emotions and anger about your financial situation diminishes financial progress. Your financial problems can begin to eat away at you little by little. Financial stress can become overwhelming and lead to withdrawal, depression, and other dangerous behaviors.
In order to make financial progress, you also need to have an open mind and look to others for guidance. Begin to identify areas in your financial life that you would like to change and commit to finding solutions.
Take smart, calculated risks, and realize that you are responsible for the outcomes. Begin to recognize any areas in which you need financial advice and seek a professional who is able to help you begin to identify solutions you never considered. You can make progress, but you first have to claim responsibility for your actions.