“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
If you want to make any relatively long-lasting, positive, important changes to the world you live in, you will have to accept two costs.
First, you will have to accept responsibility – the truth that you have the capacity to respond to any situation to change it for the better.
Secondly, you will have to accept the consequences when other people shirk from responsibility.
The first is trying, but rewarding. There’s usually a clear, honest, 1:1 ratio between your willingness to “pay the price” reality demands of you for a given goal. If that’s building a profitable company, that price may consist of many years of long nights at the office. If that price is raising a healthy child, that price will include plenty of tantrums and dirty diapers.
Yet as hard as shouldering your own responsibility is, it’s still the cheaper of the two tolls.
It’s the consequences of others’ refusal to accept responsibility that can break the best people. Those consequences – especially if you are a responsible person – will show up in the form of unearned blame.
If you are willing to be responsible for your own actions, it’s likely because you recognize that if you want something done, somebody has to do it. And you’re the kind of person who has come to realize that the someone is you or no one.
The problem is that you’re not the only person who realizes that. Many of us who default on our responsibility will now see someone who can shoulder our burden for us – and who will. We’ll blame you for our failures to act and our failures to think. You could have done something. After all, you are the responsible one.
It’s a tremendously unfair bargain you’re stuck with. But there is a bargain here.
Those of us who default on responsibility ultimately don’t escape the consequences of our (in)actions. They come around one way or another.
You, in accepting our blame, are also inheriting the spheres of control and efficacy that we gave up. In giving you our blame, we give you our power to create change. The actions, thoughts, deeds, and new worlds that might have been ours become yours.
The only price you have to pay is our shifting blame.
It’s unfair, that’s certain. But what power does shifting blame ultimately have against a person who shoulders their own burden? And what good does it do to escape blame or gain credit if you fail to accomplish your goal?
If we’re willing to take on the blame, there’s little else that can stop us.