Avoid Stupid Arguments By Blaming Yourself More Often

Just like in a car accident, you're at least a little at fault for everything you do simply by going out into the world and interacting with it. It's easy to blame others and see yourself as the victim, but CDBaby founder Derek Sivers suggests that you'll be a lot happier if you take responsibility.

Photo by Willee Cole (Shutterstock).

Consider the advantages of realising that everything is your fault:

This is way better than forgiving. When you forgive, you're still playing the victim, and they're still wrong, but you're charitably pardoning their horrible deeds. But to decide it's your fault feels amazing! Now you weren't wronged. They were just playing their part in the situation you created. They're just delivering the punch-line to the joke you set up. What power! Now you're like a new super-hero, just discovering your strength. Now you're the powerful person that made things happen, made a mistake, and can learn from it. Now you're in control and there's nothing to complain about.

This isn't a strategy you can apply as a paradigm, of course. Considering everything that happens to you as your fault doesn't always work, but with extreme situations excepted, Sivers is correct: you have a lot to gain from taking responsibility for your actions. It gives you an opportunity to learn and see where others are coming from. It's easy to be right when you decide you were wronged, but you have far more happiness to gain when you take responsibility for what you say and do.

Everything is my fault [Derek Sivers]


    I disagree. For many people, it's too simple for this to generate into blaming the victim.

    I do think lots of people aren't quick enough to own their legitimate screw-ups... BUT... I don't see absolving the other person of their part in whatever-it-was, to be useful. It just gives them a license to abuse others again in a similar situation.

    I think it's those who are conscientious who are most apt to think this advice is for them -- and are the people who LEAST need it. It's the OTHER folks who need to be convinced to own their screw-ups.

    I don't play victim often. But when I do, once every few years, it's for real. Today, I found out I won't receive a document on time to make permanent residency in Australia. I'm literally missing my last chance. Why? Because I in a paperwork-overwhelmed state put the wrong express courier account number on a form, and the sender didn't check with me AT ALL when it failed, despite having email AND phone contact info for me -- they just auto-failed-back to standard post. It's my crappy fault, and it sucks to the point of unbelievable. It'd'a been nice if the sender had had some disaster-mitigation strategies in place, but they didn't. I've gotta own this, and will suffer the consequences in the remaining years of my life nearly every day.

    But.... other situations in which I've been terribly taken advantage of, I will NOT allow others to attempt to make me own with a "you DID let him do it", because in that sort of situation, the "letting" part isn't really as open for discussion as some people mistakenly believe it must always be.

    Yup, people's ability to have to save face causes immense waste. E.g having to meet multiple times to show more and more conclusive information, not cutting your loses and having to find another scape got. Admit your mistakes dammit so we can keep moving forward with you.

    And how does one go when they're incapable of taking the blame? If you / they are always the victim, and are mentally incapable of taking the blame?

    Are you taking the Understanding Arguments free course on coursera atm too?

    At the risk of turning this discussion into a storm of crazy, the first example of this that popped into my head is the radio DJ "prank call" debacle. I believe a lot of the key players in this scenario should be saying to themselves "I have some accountability for this happening, and I shouldn't be squirming away from this, or claiming it wasn't up to me, or claiming that i'm not responsible because I didn't expect the consequences".

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