"Not Me"

Unfortunately, some of that growing up seems to mean that we blame our friendly ghost for bigger problems. Take for example politics. Whenever a change of political party in power takes place, the blame for everything that goes wrong goes immediately to "inherited problems" and "policies of the prior administration". It doesn't matter whether the new Administration is Democratic or Republican, "Not Me" is the "other party".

Take interpersonal relationships gone sour...how often do the people involved really look critically at themselves to sort out their own responsibility in the breakout?

Take organizations struggling to attract new members...their focus is normally on how to publicize better what they are doing rather than looking at what they are doing; meaning that "if people only knew what we are offering they would come". Looking critically at what the organization is doing rather than the techniques to get the information out is a rare thing.

Take failing organizations...very often they keep trying again and again to find ways to saddle somebody else with the responsibility for their own failure, and often refuse to take full responsibility for their own decisions by claiming "they were forced to do it" or "they didn't have a choice". While in fact many times organizations do reach a point at which they have few or no choices, those organizations still refuse to look at the road that took them there, prefering to emphasize the end of the road.

What would the world be like if we all took responsibility for our own actions and their consequences? Certainly a far more rational world...

Governments would look at their policies and figure out how they contributed to the current state of affairs rather than dumping the responsibility on someone else. This would be true on economic issues as well as foreign relations; in the US as well as in Israel or Europe. And by doing that they might even be tempted to change policies to avoid getting deeper into the problem; maybe they would even figure out a way out. But fear of loosing face prevents them from doing it.

Organizations would look at what they do and how it relates to the real expectations and needs of those they serve instead of blaming "them" for not getting enough support. Maybe then the leadership of those organizations would figure out a way to redesign the organization to better accomplish its mission in a changed environment. This would be true for the smallest of local organizations as well as the big National Elephants.

People would look at their own actions and words and become more sensitive about how they affect others, maybe leading to a time when the precept "don't judge your fellow human until you've been in his/her place" would actually be a golden rule, and people would relate to other people for who they are and not for who they would like them to be.

Our forefathers said that when we face the ultimate trial, we are all judged by what we did - or didn't do - in life. When we need to repent from a wrong doing we need to pay attention to three stages: recognition of the wrong doing, acceptance of responsibility by asking forgiveness, and changing the game by changing behavior so we don't make the same mistake. I believe it is sound advise.

Yes. I'm describing a Utopia, one that seems impossible in today's world but only because we are all deeply involved in making it impossible. I remember watching a movie with a simple premise "Pay it Forward", which was also its title. In the movie, a tenth grader who didn't know better decided that the way to get change started was by helping one person at a time and asking that person to "pay it forward" by helping somebody else...with a multiplying effect.

Taking full responsibility for one's actions and decisions can also have a multiplying effect, and it can restore in daily life the balance we often feel is missing. When people will see the results of this "old-new approach", the attitude could spread...and if it doesn't, it's time to go back to the drawing board.


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