I was sitting on the train en route back to New York City after spending the weekend at my parent’s house when I noticed that my phone was on low battery. In a panic, I frantically rummaged through my purse to look for my portable phone charger. To my misfortune, my portable charger had too run out of battery.
I had purchased my train ticket on my iPhone, so I felt an immediate wave of anxiety that my phone would die before the train ticket collector could receive my ticket. I then started getting gradually more frustrated at the fact that he was taking so long to get to my seat.
In my head, I thought, “Well he’s the one who was taking so long to get to me — It’s not my fault that my phone was on low battery.” I removed myself from any shred of responsibility of the fact that I could have (and really should have) just charged my phone prior to boarding the train.
As a last resort, I put my phone on airplane mode in hopes that it would salvage the little battery life that I had left. And fortunately, it did. The ticket collector arrived before my phone died and I was rid of my anxiety and frustration.
Then, I got to thinking about how often we put blame on others for such minuscule situations that could have easily avoided if only we were more prepared or more proactive in our actions rather than reactive. I know that I myself have often been very defensive for many things in the past that were completely within my control. But, as humans, putting the blame on others tends to be our default scapegoat.
For some reason, taking responsibility for our actions (or lack thereof) is such a difficult concept for us to grasp. We don’t want to admit that we were the ones who put ourselves in a situation that we didn’t want to be in. We don’t want to admit that we didn’t do something that we likely knew that we should have done. And sometimes, we don’t want to admit that we simply just forgot to do something or maybe we didn’t even want to in the first place.
If my phone had in fact died before the ticket collector was able to view my mobile ticket, it would have been completely childish of me to put the blame on him. It would have been ridiculous for me to say that it wasn’t my fault; that I was really the one who just forgot to charge my phone beforehand — A very simple solution to a very simple and rather trivial situation
If we all took more accountability in the things that are completely within our control, then we would ultimately get into a lot less quarrels with our peers. We would be a lot less miserable in crappy situations and we would give ourselves the chance to learn a lesson from the situation and be able to change our behavior for next time. We would instead be a little more prepared, a little more understanding, a little more compassionate towards others, and a little less frustrated at life.
We need to stop blaming others for the things that are legitimately within our control.
We need to acknowledge the fact that we can positively affect change in our lives which in turn can affect change in the lives of others and the entire world. Let’s stop turning to our neighbor to point the finger at them for our problems and start looking inward on the things that we can control. It would be a much better world to live in if we did.
So, do your part and take responsibility, take action, and try to improve life’s trying situations for the better.