Knowing Who to Blame Is Not Useful. Addressing the world with the mindset that you are responsible for everything that happens has some considerable advantages. For one thing, much time, effort and energy is wasted arguing about whom or what is responsible. The simple statement, “I am responsible” can completely defuse many highly charged situations and enable the people involved to move forward to the real issue, which is usually, “What can we do to fix or mitigate this situation?” Besides, if you do find someone to blame, they likely will not contribute to resolution of the issue. I have never heard of a burglar who after being apprehended volunteered to come back to the victim’s house and clean up the mess they made.

Just to be clear, saying you are responsible does not imply you are to blame. It simply means you are willing to take responsibility for the situation, and this act alone, focuses your attention directly on the resolution of the problem. For years, I ran customer service organizations that repaired computers on customer’s sites. Our local service engineers always told customers they were responsible for whatever problem the customer had. They did not blame sales, manufacturing, quality control or engineering. The simple statement, “I am responsible” went to great lengths to ameliorate customer’s anger. In over seven years running worldwide customer service, not once did a customer call an executive demanding their assistance because the local person was unresponsive. They didn’t have to; our local person was in charge.

Nothing will signify you are in charge of your own life more than being willing in all situations to say, “I am responsible.” That will say more than any braggadocio, excuse or accusation. It will cement in people’s mind that you are a person they can count on, and more importantly, it will cement in your own mind that you are in charge of your life. This is not a matter of appearing to be in charge; this is actually being in charge! Taking this position will improve your attitude, discipline and work habits. It is the simplest way possible to position yourself for success.


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