Be the Change You Want

How many times have you complained about your boss?  Bemoaned the circumstances that are holding you back?  Attributed your setbacks to others or external forces?

The problem with finger-pointing is that it’s completely unproductive.  We all have a finite amount of time, energy, and resources at our disposal.  Every ounce that you deploy blaming others takes away from your ability to create positive change.

In my hometown of Detroit, many people get caught up in the blame-game.  They channel anger about their circumstances at the mayor, city council, business leaders, the governor, unions, and each other.  At the very suggestion of self-determination, some people clam up and tell you about all the outside forces holding them back.

Hogwash!  It’s easy to sit back in victim-land and find all the reasons things can’t be done.  But while the weak are busy blaming, the successful get on with the hard work of architecting their own future.  We’ve seen time and time again how grit and determination overcome just about any obstacle.

In the words of author Robin Sharma, “You can’t afford the luxury of a negative thought.” Our world is challenging and competitive.  Drowning yourself in pity, doubt, and fault-finding only leads to grumpy cynicism.  Simply put, it’s time to stop blaming and start doing.

I spoke to an attorney recently who told me all the reasons her practice wasn’t growing.  Tough economy.  Competitive landscape.  Changes in regulation.  She had an excuse for every setback, taking no personal responsibility whatsoever.  Unwilling to double down on her efforts or try a fresh approach, her practice will continue to languish since she’s so busy playing the victim.

Contrast this to those who pull themselves up from their bootstraps.  Those whose resilience and determination give them the fire they need to keep fighting when others give up.   One common trait I see among the most successful people: they take full personal responsibility for their own outcomes, having the scrappiness to figure out how to get things done no matter what external circumstances they encounter.

If you had a gun pointed at your head and you had to achieve or die, you’d immediately leap into action conquer your objective.  Don’t we all really have that gun pointed at us, just in a more subtle fashion?

The bitch-and-moan club already has too big a membership.  It’s time to erase the negativity and blame and replace them with a relentless focus on your own success.  If each of us just did that, think how incredible the world would be.  Mahatma Ghandi had it right when he challenged us all to “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

And c’mon.  You can’t argue with Ghandi.