It's always your fault

Rear-ended the car in front of you? Your fault.

Had an argument with your spouse? Your fault.

Overweight or unhealthy? Your fault.

Angry email from a customer? Your fault.

Rained on the way to work? Your fault.

Earthquake in Japan? Your fault.

Even when it’s not your fault it’s still your fault.

Far from being doom and gloom, this is a deceptively simple mental model you can apply improve the quality of your life.

Taking responsibility for a negative outcome means you did something wrong first time around. Which means that you can do something differently to affect a different outcome next time.

Assigning fault to something is the same thing as saying that thing was the cause of an outcome.

Cause = power to affect outcomes, good or bad

Take the following example for instance: “Mark misunderstood me.” Either Mark or the misunderstanding caused the negative outcome. Now that sentence might objectively be true - it could have been a simple misunderstanding, or Mark could be an asshole - but it’s a rather lazy way to approach a problem, and not a useful way to think. The problem is that whatever you assign blame to, you are also assigning power to, power to affect outcomes now and in the future.

Assigning blame to something external absolves you of the responsibility for bad things happening, but more importantly robs you of the power to affect future outcomes as well. **Mark could fail to understand you again. The trains might be delayed making you late for work. Only so many days in a row you can use that excuse before having a discussion with your boss about getting up earlier…

What is true or fair, is irrelevant. The point is to adopt a mental model that is valuable to you and to others.

Taking responsibility empowers you with the knowledge that you can affect future outcomes. People who know they can change the world are much more likely to try