Taking Responsibility Is Character

To devise a method to guarantee success is improbable.  A method to guarantee failure, well-intentioned but failing, is much easier.  Never admit a mistake and treat the unintended consequences as new problems when they arise.

Governments do it all the time.  Policy distorts some part of the economy so there must be a second program to overcome that defect.  Tax rates too high.  Fast depreciation rules or super-deductions for research or lower rates for specific industries.  Paperwork too big a burden for smaller businesses.  Make some of it exempt below  a threshold.  Spending more to fix a problem you created seems foolish.  You would think if the unintended cost is greater than the expected benefit, it is an easy decision.  But NO.

It happens with some medical practitioners.  Here is drug B to overcome the side effects of Drug A.  Perhaps a better study of the condition would make more sense, but would admittedly be harder.

People do it all the time, too.  Quick and easy today is much better than more difficult and costly fixes say some.  That position is near certain because many people use a process called hyperbolic discounting to compare the time, trouble and cost of future events to the time, trouble and cost today.  Hyperbolic discounting assigns a near zero value to the future cost and thus validates the quick fix.  We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it is a common thought.

To get the most from life,  making mistakes is allowed, even required, so long as the lesson is retained.  Quit quick is good advice despite the try try again mantra. Sometimes try try again just digs a deeper hole.  There should be some judgement in making that decision.

If you wish to double down on the idea of never admitting mistakes and repairing the consequences instead of fixing the root cause, there is a a gold-plated guarantee for failure.

Never blame yourself for the outcome.

“When you blame others you give up your power to change.” Robert Anthony

Giving up power is a losing tactic.  If you blame others for your mistakes, life will be difficult.  You will never grow and will make smaller and smaller mistakes until you have no achievements whatsoever.

“Blame doesn’t empower you. It keeps you stuck in a place you don’t want to be because you don’t want to make the temporary, but painful decision, to be responsible for the outcome of your own life’s happiness.”  Shannon L. Adler

To deny mistakes is a serious mistake.  It is a mistake often practiced by passive aggressive people.  If you are an advisor you might wish to stay away from these people, for they can only harm you.

“People with a style of denial and blaming are definitely on the list of unsafe people to avoid.”  Henry Cloud, in Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t

Take responsibility for your actions and avoid those who do not.  It is that simple.

Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario.  In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.

Please be in touch if I can help you.  don@moneyfyi.com  866-285-7772

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