Neil Tambe

Husband, Father, Citizen, Professional.

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

The things I blame

This is a non-exhaustive list of people and things I've blamed - rightly or wrongly - for things like suffering, fear, anger, and failure:

  • My upbringing
  • "The system"
  • My boss or someone at work with a position in the hierarchy higher than me
  • The President of the United States
  • Other politicians
  • Bad luck
  • God (e.g., when my father passed)
  • The person on the other side (of the table, on the phone, of the cash register)
  • The referee
  • Myself
  • "The "economy"
  • The teacher
  • American culture
  • "Technology"
  • Circumstance
  • My DNA
  • Lack of sleep

I've realized because of a number of blogs / articles, but most recently this interview on the Knowledge Project podcast with poker player Annie Duke, that when I have a failure event I have a tendency to blame something. That was hard to admit.

What's worse, I've realized how cowardly I am if I blame others, even if that blame is accurate and deserved. Blame, regardless of whether it's placed rightly or wrongly, is a digression from taking responsibility to solve the problem or be better.

If our goal is to be better, rather than to be right, blame is a waste of time and a neglect of duty. What's interesting that this is true, even if we blame ourselves. Even if we are blaming ourselves, it is a diversion from taking responsibility.

I hope that by admitting that I do place blame - on myself and others - and naming those things specifically, that I'll stop doing it. I'd rather cut the bullshit and move straight to taking responsibility for making things better or being better myself.

Easier said than done, but it has to start somewhere. And to be honest, even writing this is a liberating moment because I'm feeling my deep-gutted "I'm the victim" muscle start to atrophy a little bit.