That sweet game

“What came over me? No. Seriously, something did come over me”.

“The problem with me is you.Really it is.”

“I didn’t know what I was doing.”

“It was the devil! No, God!”

“He gave me an F”


We are familiar with that part of us that relegates blame to some seen or unseen third party right? Perfect. I want to do a little talk on it. As some of my more assertive friends would say, ‘let us thrash this matter’, or at least, let us try to. There’s almost always no harm in trying out stuff (unless by trying out stuff, you mean trying out poisonous substances, or trying to see if a concentrated acid bath would do what it is said to do- in which case I cannot really assure you that there is no harm in trying- or other downright dangerous escapades)


The first time I actively discussed this particular topic was some years ago during my internship when my fellow intern (name withheld 🙂 ) proposed a theory. Which is not in any way new, I must add.

“We should all take responsibility for our actions and conditions. The world would be a better place if we learned to do this” He said. “Man is getting too used to blaming others for his misfortune. In his own eyes, he is absolutely blameless”. I was not overly impressed with my colleague’s speech, because I felt that, surely, I was not guilty of pushing the blame to other people. In fact, I saw myself as someone who actively tried not to put the blame on others. Or, was I?

My intern friend gave me an example of what he meant.

“When you are holding a book,” he said “and it falls down, what do you usually say has happened?”


“You say, ‘my book has fallen down’… Right?”

I nodded.

“That’s it!” He exclaimed “Now, with that statement, you are indirectly implying that your book, which is inanimate, suddenly acquired a life of its own, and left your hand of its own accord, then, fell down. All by itself. You are suggesting that it was the book’s own fault”

Not sure what to reply, I listened.

“The appropriate thing to say would be ‘I dropped my book’. See? …taking  responsibility!”

I saw the subtle blame shift and got more than a little interested in this matter. This sweet blame shift game we play as humans. We did not misplace our keys, rather, our keys got lost. We do not cook bad food; the food just turns out bad. The reason our car didn’t start this morning is the government. My primary school teacher is the reason I suck at music!



Still, one wonders what exactly would be the point of not making it a point of duty to assign blame on everyone else but ourselves.

I have a few ideas …

First, mentally, we become directly responsible for our acts. Imagine if we stopped blaming the education system for our personal shortcomings as  students and blamed instead our lack of adequate work? Imagine if we stopped blaming our genes for our obesity and instead blamed  junk consumption?

We become aware that the power is in our hands; and that is the one of the first steps towards change, I believe; knowing you can.

Imagine if we stopped blaming our past for our present mistakes, if we instead blamed our current ineptitudes on our present. What happens is we stop believing that they belong to a realm which we cannot control due to its being extinct and realize that we have the ability to influence them now!

The ‘energy’, time and intellectual resource used in apportioning blame (Even when we really feel/know the other person is rightly to be blamed) might do better things if directed at more constructive exploits. I think.

The Original post first appeared on my old blog. This is an edited version.

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How To Resolve A Problem

Identifying a problem is a compulsory preliminary step to resolution of the problem.

After identifying the problem, here’s how I think it should be resolved.

1. Do Not Avoid The Problem


This is clear enough but let’s just reiterate. The first  thing not to do when you have a problem to resolve is avoid it. You do not avoid thinking about it, you do not avoid talking about it, you do not avoid seeing it. You just don’t. You open your mind, eyes and head to the fact that the problem exists. 

2. Do not beat about the bush.


Depending on what your problem is, you might prefer to be subtle/indirect. You might also want to approach it circuitously. All of which you should/may not do. Thank you. Approach the problem as directly as possible. Just the way you would walk up to a person you’re very familiar with, like your friend.

3. Deal with facts.

Try to avoid bringing in things that have not been proven to be true in evaluating the problem. stick stick stick to facts.

4. Do not play the Victim.


It is absolutely necessary not to slide into a pity puddle when attempting to resolve a problem. Do not ever get into the “why is this happening to me?”/”why are you doing this to me”s. They suck and do nothing but distort the issue. As much as possible try to keep the emotions out. It does help to.

5. Focus on the solution


It is a problem and we want to resolve it by solving it. Not dwelling on it. Basically, the whole point of resolving a problem is the solution. Focusing on this makes it easy to not be distracted by pointing fingers or going over the details of the problem again and again.The latter might be necessary but only as a means, obviously not as an end.

6. Listen and be Open minded.


Especially if the problem involves other persons. Apart from the fact that people want to be heard, it is of paramount importance that communication takes place during problem resolution. Lack of bias is a very significant indicator of an ideal and progressive resolution process. Pretend for that moment that your opinions (even the ones you feel strongly about) do not make sense and listen to other parties before processing your opinions. You may be suprised at the outcome.