- Hold yourself accountable—you'll be happier
People tend to externalize when they encounter problems—to look beyond themselves and find fault with other when things go wrong. Society's mantra is "There's plenty of blame to go around!" You can hear it echo in the reactions to the election. But when we choose to hold ourselves accountable, we're more likely to be happier and successful in work and in our relationships.
Life is filled with traps that let people avoid personal accountability. It's easy to make excuses, play the victim, feel a sense of entitlement or procrastinate. Taking ownership for your actions and reactions lets you avoid anger, cynicism, envy and frustration and instead focus on positive emotions and healthy living. Our daily energy is finite, so why waste one iota on negative thinking that leads to unproductive behaviors?
Research has shown that when employees feel accountable for their work, they are more likely to contribute to solving problems and achieving organizational goals. Believing that if others would change, everything would be better—and then trying to force them to do so—drives people apart. The fastest way to enhance relationships is to remove the blame that breaks them down. Whether it's selling more products, building stronger connections or making political change, owning up and taking responsibility can help us move forward.
—John G. Miller in Time Magazine
I had learned that Yehuda got the melucha because he took responsibility twice: in the incident with Tamar, and by bearing the burden for the selling of Yosef. (Perhaps it was even three times, when he insisted on being used as a hostage instead of Binyomin.)
I have also been learning that by fessing up after messing up, whether accidentally or intentionally, is oddly freeing. There is no protracted argument with the transgressed party; what is there to say after accepting fault? Getting defensive or offsetting blame extends the hurt and damage, with no upside.
Today's role model is: Yehuda. Let's embrace "It's on me."