Accountability vs Infallibility; And The Reason You Will Never Change
(Or Your Spouse/Boss/Boyfriend/Girlfriend/Snooty Neighbor Will Never Change if That Entices You to Read the Article)
― Thomas Paine
The title and message of this article is something I admittedly struggle with on a daily basis, as I assume most if not
all people do. It is not a claim to be “holier than thou”. So if you read it and the thought crosses your mind, “man this guy’s a jackass, who is he to question my actions or intentions”, that’s about the same time you should
grab a mirror, look deep into the eyes of the person staring back at you and ask, “when was the last time you questioned my actions or intentions?” And if you’re the person that reads it and says “this is a cute article, but most certainly not directed at me”, then you’re the bigger part of the problem.
Don’t worry, it’s not a post about sports, or politics, or your spouse…it’s a post about you. But allow me to briefly share where all of this started in my mind. A week ago the Cardinals beat the Braves in a playoff baseball game, a controversial call by an umpire went the Cardinals way and Braves fans spent 20 minutes throwing beer bottles onto the field, at the umpires and Cardinals players. When questioned about the appropriateness of their actions, Braves fans in attendance responded with “Yeah it was wrong to do BUT, what were we supposed to do? What would you have done? It was a huge call in the biggest game of the year?”
Well when you put it that way…good move.
Fast forward to a football game in Kansas City on Sunday when the quarterback was knocked out by a hit and laid on the field unconscious, and the Kansas City fans cheered the injury because their team is having a bad year and maybe a different quarterback will solve all their problems. When it was stated that this was a man’s life and health and maybe, just maybe, it’s wrong to cheer for pain and suffering, a Kansas City fan in attendance responded “I make no apology for cheering the injury. I pay money to see these sporting events. I pay to see MMA fighters get their face kicked in, I pay to see cars flip and crash at a NASCAR race, and I pay to see the big hit in football.”
Sound reasoning if we were in the Early Middle Ages…or in the movie Running Man.
Justification and validation for our wrongs has become a tenet of modern day America.
We’ve lost the desire, skill, and often times even the ability to hold ourselves accountable for anything. “I’m sorry”,“I was wrong”, “I should’ve handled that differently”, “That was my fault”, and“I’m a hypocrite”,
among others, are blasphemous phrases in our No-One-Is-Perfect-But-I’m-Never-The-One-To-Take-All-The-Blame society. Oh people still say those phrases, as long as the same breath allows them to utter the caveats.
I’m sorry but (insert what someone else did, or the stress you were under, or the drugs you were on, or the change in weather) is the apology of current generations. I’m sorry you felt that way. I’m sorry you were offended.
As a side note, in the event you read this and it turns out that you are in fact that infallible person, please call me immediately at (901) 848-2549, I’d like to buy you dinner. Or you can e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Or stop by (155 N. Main St. Ste. 101A, Collierville, TN 38017).
Again, if you’re still reading, you’re not exempt. If you stopped reading because you were the one who called me a jackass in the opening paragraph, best of luck to you…and your children…relationships…job.
This is not a racial problem, a generational problem, a gender problem. This is a societal problem.
Jump off your political bandwagon for a second and think about it. Every time our President is questioned
on any failed agenda, the response is “This is what I inherited from someone else.” A husband cheats on his
wife, and husband’s mother asks wife, “What did you do to drive him to this?”
Our agendas fail, our attempts fail, our relationships fail, and all we ever say to the next person who will listen is, “Can you believe what someone else did to me? The spot they put me in?” We have an amazing ability as a society to take the exact same situation, the first time happening to us and the second time us being the cause, and never be in the wrong.
Because we’re fragile. Our self-images are fragile. Our self-confidence is fragile. Our legacy is fragile. Our outward image is incredibly fragile. And we certainly can’t lose our competitive edge, or the upper hand, or our now perfected role as the victim.
So what? Right? What’s wrong with protecting our egos, making ourselves look better to others at all costs, not letting ourselves feel bad for our actions? It’s in the past right, shouldn’t we just move on? Who the hell in their right mind would ever want to be accountable for anything?
Because you’ll never change. You’ll never grow. Your past will repeat itself. You’ll never be anything more than you are right now.
Sounds harsh doesn’t it?
It’s an old principle from Anthony Robbins, that if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve gotten.
It’s painful to be wrong. It’s painful to admit that you’re the cause of a problem. But the human body (and its emotions) is an amazing specimen. We get scars and the skin grows back tougher, stronger. Our hearts break and it comes back larger, we stand taller. We catch a cold and we develop an immunity. The same holds true with accountability. It hurts for a minute. Our confidence is shaken. We (heaven forbid) feel bad about ourselves.
And then it regrows. It rebuilds. We come back more confident. Less fragile. Wiser. Stronger. More empathetic. And that ever so important public image, that daily captivity of how everyone else is going to view you…shrinks. Its
grip is not as tight.
Imagine the liberation of walking into that next function that you don’t really want to be at and there are people there that you don’t really want to be around but you go anyway because your boss/spouse/job/social status
require you to, with the feeling that “I’m imperfect and have the brass to admit it, do you?”
Our ability to grow as individuals starts with individual accountability. Our ability to grow as a family starts with the individuals in that family. And our ability to grow as a society starts with the individuals in that society. So the next time you wonder “Why do people keep doing this to me?”, go straight to that mirror you pulled out at the
beginning of the article. But if you expect something to change because“it wasn’t really my fault, it’ll be
better the next go around by doing exactly what I’ve always done”, don’t be surprised when you end up exactly where you’ve always been.
“Every excuse I ever heard made perfect sense to the person who made it. ”
― Dr. Daniel T. Drubin
Yep. All that from a baseball game.