April 19

Fear: Resisting responsibility

       “I hate being blamed for something I didn’t do – especially by the person I feel is at fault.  Of course, I’m never at fault because, you see, I’m almost perfect.  I work very hard at my perfection, and as a result I’m always pointing out the faults of others.  When things go wrong in my life I have a thousand excuses why I’m not to blame.” 

       I know there’s a problem with this picture; and I think it’s because I confuse blame with responsibility.  I can’t be blamed for anything!  If I’m to blame that would mean I am responsible!  And for this reason I have always run from responsibility because I am afraid of being wrong.  My ego hates to be wrong, so it’s very important that I am right all the time.  However, I have learned that fleeing responsibility comes with a great price tag.

       You can’t escape personal responsibility; it’s impossible.  If you try it will cost you.  You can pay now, or you can pay later.  At some point you have to make a decision.  Even ‘not making a decision’ is a decision made.  The problem is I don’t want to be held responsible for the outcome if I make a bad decision.  I want to be able to hand over my responsibility to someone else so I can blame them when things get messed up.

       For some reason, we think, “if I’m responsible it means that I am to blame.”  Bad things happen in organizations; people mess up.  And a mature leader accepts the responsibility for that which they are not to blame.  Blame has nothing to do with it.  Good leaders know that decision-making is part and parcel of being responsible.

       Resisting responsibility leads to indecision; and indecision leads to procrastination.  We want the privilege without the responsibility.  As fate would have it, many are given the privilege of winning or inheriting huge sums of money.  But nearly as many of these individuals are not prepared to accept the responsibility for the proper handling of these funds.  Quite often, a fool and his money are soon parted.  Resisting responsibility will cost you.

       The same principle applies to all of us, rich or poor.  You may find yourself situated in a bad marriage, a lousy job or confined to a wheel-chair.  God hasn’t been fair; you’ve been dealt a lousy hand in the great poker game of life.  Your anger and resentment have increased over the years until you are bent over beneath the weight of the world resting on your shoulders.  Others are to blame for your misfortune.  The ones who are enjoying success are “just plain lucky.”  You have not had the ‘breaks’ that others have had.  And so you carry your anger and resentment around with you.

       Blame is not the answer.  It keeps you stuck.  And resisting responsibility will cost you.  This is precisely the kind of suffering that is not necessary.

 Tomorrow’s topic – Fear:  The Illusion of Loss