Playing the Blame Game?
Are you playing the blame game? Trying to find someone to blame for the problems that you have no control over. Believe me, there are a lot of problems in the world that neither you nor I have any control over.
Whether it is other people’s behavior, government or company mandates, or inflation, you have little control or influence on fixing these problems.
We live in incredibly uncertain times and it is easy to lash out wanting to blame for the situations we all face.
I recently made the mistake of getting on Facebook and got into a very brief interaction about inflation. Almost immediately the various participants wanted to pin the blame on someone or some organization.
The fact is we love to play the blame game when we are not in control and are struggling. I learned a long time ago that I am not in control of a lot of things. I learned not to focus on what I cannot control and focus on what I can.
Let’s discuss where you are not in control.
Other People’s Behavior
My wife and I just returned from a brief trip to the Dallas/Fort Worth area to get our booster shots. We live in Ajijic Mexico, just outside of Guadalajara. COVID-19 vaccines are not readily available in Mexico like they are in the United States. My wife and I decided a year ago to return to the U.S. to get vaccinated and not to deprive a Mexican citizen of even a single dose of the life-saving vaccine. (Mexicans have been dying at a far higher rate due to COVID-19 than in the U.S. and other developed nations.)
First, we needed to get a negative COVID-19 test that was done the previous day to departure. There was a little pop-up lab that opened just a block from our home and it was very inexpensive (350 Mexican pesos or about $17.50 US). We were tested around 9 AM and I returned an hour later only to find that we both tested positive. YIKES!
My gut said this just did not feel right. It was the lab technician’s first day on the job, he was all by himself and he seemed quite unsure of his actions. I quickly decided that we would drive a few miles to the major lab we have been using and pay double to get tested again. The tests came back negative.
I could have easily played the blame game. I did not. As it turns out, I am not the only person who had problems with the lab but that is a whole different story.
In general, in the state of Jalisco people wear masks inside of businesses. I wrote about the process used in the post Watching the Response to the Pandemic from Mexico.
If anything compliance with health ordinances has gotten better over time. It is second nature for most to put a mask on whenever you are in a crowd or are going indoors.
Note: I had not been on a plane since May of 2019 and my wife had not been on a plane since February 2020.
We arrive at GDL (Guadalajara Airport) for our direct flight to DFW (Dallas/Fort Worth Airport) and compliance with the masking ordinance was nearly complete. We get on a fairly full flight to Dallas and the compliance on the plane was very good. My wife and I wore our KN-95 masks the entire time.
I decided not to rent a car but to use Lyft to get around. I had heard horror stories of getting rental cars.
The first few Lyft drivers all wore masks. They were not the best of masks nor did they wear them properly. A few did not wear a mask nor did they have one visibly available.
I decided I cannot control their behavior. What can I control? I can wear a mask that properly fits on my face.
I did not play the blame game but focused on what I can control.
As I previously stated I made the mistake of getting on Facebook and engaged very briefly in a discussion around inflation. Similarly, I had a phone conversation with a friend and the topic of inflation came up. In both cases, the individuals wanted to pin the blame on either the current administration or some specific action being taken.
I had to explain that the inflation we are experiencing is worldwide. I live in the state of Jalisco in Mexico, just outside of 2nd largest metropolitan area in Mexico, Guadalajara. Most of the food my wife and I consume is grown within 100 miles of where we live. We are experiencing just as much inflation here as you are probably experiencing where you live.
The problem of inflation is really complex and there are no simple solutions. Therefore, what good does it do to play the blame game? It just creates stress.
I have worked hard not to place blame but focus instead on my spending habits and my investments. By investments, I mean financial, health, and my personal well-being.
Focus on What You Can Control
What you can control are your own behaviors.
After I had Eliz Green on the podcast in the episode, Dealing with Stress and Uncertainty with Eliz Greene, I only consume news from printed sources. This was pretty easy because we do not have any television services in our home.
Eliz told me to consume your news by reading. Specifically, the cable news services dole out the news in a way so that you will keep watching.
Pay attention to the language you use. I will have Darcy Eikenberg, author of Red Cape Rescue: Save Your Career Without Leaving Your Job, on the podcast in February of 2022. She devotes an entire section of her book called Revise What You Say to this topic.
You can rewrite your story by reframing it. I will be writing several posts on this topic in the future.
Stay off social media as much as possible. I have removed Facebook from my iPhone. Social media notifications have been turned off on all of my devices. I manage the amount of time I spend on LinkedIn and Twitter. You can control the amount of time you spend on social media.
“It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over” – Yogi Berra
As John Tarnoff and I discussed in our podcast episode, 2022 Career Reality Check-In for the 50+ Crowd with John Tarnoff, 2022 will likely be as unpredictable as 2021. You need to focus on what is in front of you and quit trying to find blame.
Playing the blame game is not good for your mental health.
As Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s over”.
We have a long road ahead of us.
Be kind to yourself and others.Marc Miller