Accountability

Discussion in 'The Study' started by Steve, Jun 17, 2014.

  1. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    This may be a little rambling, but it's something that's been percolating for a while, and some recent threads have pushed it back to the front of my mind. We've had a lot of discussions in the Study about the problems we see in "society" today. There are political, social, environmental issues and all of it matters, I think. It's all interesting, and it's all certainly part of the big puzzle. But the biggest problem I see every day is a lack of personal accountability. That's the one that troubles me the most. We see it all the time on these forums, in our martial arts schools, in our personal lives and at work.

    If you blame other people for your failures, then you can accept no credit for your successes.

    There are things that happen outside of our control, but I believe that most everything that happens is at some point influenced by us. Failures are mitigated by solid preparation. For example, we have earthquakes in my area. Some people don't have a simple kit in case of an emergency. We can't control the earthquake, but there are certainly things we can do to prepare for one.

    It seems to me that what this country needs more of is personal accountability. It's easy to be accountable for success. But, I don't see a lot of accountability for failure. At work, I'm sure we all know the guy who blames everyone else for his lack of success. It's because he's white, or because the boss "likes" the other guy better, or the common, "I don't know why, but the boss has it in for me." In BJJ, we see the "tough" guys quit after a month because it's easier to talk about how BJJ is gay than to train and get better. Or in competition, the guy who says, "I got a silver medal. I would have won Gold, but the ref screwed me, the other guy cheated, I cut too much weight, had gas and my ankle has been bugging me."

    How do you know? I don't know if anyone here watches the Office. There's a character in the Office played by Steve Carell. He's a terrible, incompetent boss who is completely un-self aware. The joke is, every office has a Michael Scott and if you can't immediately think of who that is, it's you. If you can't immediately think of the people in your life who lack accountability and consistently blame others for their failures, chances are it's you.

    We talk a lot about America being "free." But, if you aren't personally accountable, you aren't free. If you don't take responsibility for both the successes AND the failures in your life, you are a piece of driftwood floating down a river. Sure, you might run into calm water every once in a while, but that's got nothing to do with you.

    Just some rambling thoughts.
     
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  2. wingchun100

    wingchun100 Senior Master

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    The lack of accountability in the people around me is astonishing. In fact I think that is probably the reason the world is so awful to live in sometimes. My brother-in-law is a thief, and he has never been held accountable for it, not by my in-laws or even the JUDICIAL system! This is a guy who STOLE GUNS from someone's house to sell them to an ammo shop...a FEDERAL OFFENSE that should have gotten him at least seven years in FEDERAL PRISON. Instead, they gave him six months in a "SHOCK" program.

    What happened when he got out? He was back in jail in less than two months. I'm not saying everyone learns their lesson by going to jail or prison. (After all, the only thing some of them learn in there is how to be better criminals!) However, I'm sick of watching judge after judge let this guy slide.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2014
  3. sfs982000

    sfs982000 Master Black Belt

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    You hit the nail on the head there. There is an incredible lack of accountability in society today. It's way too easy to point the finger at someone else and blame them for whatever issues you have then to take that long look in the mirror at yourself and make the changes that need to be made to improve yourself.
    I have nephews that are a perfect example of that, they have major drug issues and have stolen from family members and will constently get on Facebook crying the blues because their family has "abadoned" them and blaming their upbringing for their problems. Granted they didn't have the best upbringing, but there has be to be a line where you go "Enough is Enough" and ask the question what have/are you doing to improve your situation?
     
  4. wingchun100

    wingchun100 Senior Master

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    I had a crippling lack of confidence for most of my teenage years due to a verbally abusive stepfather. But when I was heading into my 30's, I finally said to myself, "It's a little embarrassing to STILL blame things on him." (Not only did my mom divorce him, but he is DEAD.)
     
  5. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I agree, guys. It's systemic. Question for you. Do you apply the same objective evaluation to yourselves?

    I don't know who said it first, but in BJJ, someone said to me that you don't learn when you succeed; you only learn from failure. Success is nothing more than validation that you've prepared well. Failure is where an opportunity to improve is being revealed. Both are important. When you succeed, it's telling you that you're learning from your failures. If you continue to fail, that's a good indication that you aren't getting the message.

    Here's another example: relationships. How many people fall into the same cycles in their relationships? A lot. I like the saying, "Every failed relationship you've ever had have one thing in common: you." But, they blame the guy or gal. They never take responsibility for being half of the relationship.

    I'm not suggesting that bad things don't happen to good people. They do. A lot. What I'm suggesting is that there are patterns that emerge. Be mindful of the patterns within your own life. If there's always SOMEONE at your work who's go it in for you, it's not them. It's you. If you're continually getting passed over for a promotion, it's not the boss. It's you. If you've been in 10 auto accidents, and "none of them were your fault," you're wrong. It's you. If you can't walk down the street without being harassed by cops, you're doing something.

    Ultimately, I believe that people who are self accountable tend to be reasonably happy and successful people. People who are not may stumble into some calm water, but are ultimately just a log drifting down the river. The current is happening to them, not because of them.
     
  6. wingchun100

    wingchun100 Senior Master

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    I definitely know I am part of the problem in my marriage. The main complaint about me is that I don't spend enough time with her. This doesn't just mean physically there; sometimes I drift off into my own world, or I will log on the computer with the intention of taking care of "one quick thing" and then be on it for...well, way longer than I intended.

    I'm not going to get into the ins and outs of my marital problems here. I was including that to simply show I admit that there are some things I do wrong. However, I will say that your theory about it always being "you" is not always the case. What if you are dating someone for a while and everything is fine but then suddenly they reveal themselves to be a verbally abusive, demeaning person? And in case you think something like that can go unnoticed for too long, believe me...it can. (I'm not saying my wife; this is a reference to past girlfriends.)
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Good question. If you're dating someone for a while and they reveal themselves to be verbally abusive, a couple of things come to my mind. First, how long you put up with that is on you. Just understand that you're making choices. You can choose to stay with that person and try to work through it, or you can choose to leave, or you can choose to remain with the person wondering why this is happening. But, you are making choices. This is the biggest part of this.

    I don't have any control over how other people behave. I may have some influence over other people, but ultimately, if they want to be verbally abusive, that's on them. How I react to their abuse is entirely on me.

    Also, this is different from a situation where you are moving from one dysfunctional relationship to the next. If you're with a verbally abusive time and again... different person, same problems... you are part of the problem.

    Edit: I want to add, there isn't necessarily a "right" or "wrong" answer. I'm not suggesting that there is. If you're in an abusive relationship, you have to decide how best to handle it, and you may need help. The salient point here is that you are not helpless. You have influence over the situation and you have control over your own behavior.
     
  8. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

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    Child is stealing cookies out of the cookie jar.
    Other child tells mom.
    Mom grounds child #1.

    Child #1's response? Child#2 -got them- in trouble.
    No where is there a grasp that they shouldn't have been stealing cookies in the first place.

    Fast forward 30 years. Child 1 is now an adult who likes to drive fast. As a result they have several tickets. Whose fault is it that they have a lot of tickets? Not theirs for constantly breaking the law by speeding, but those 'cops' out to 'trap them'.

    We see the lack of taking responsibility everywhere. The government should raise min-wage so they can make more money, rather than showing up on time, working hard and pushing ahead. A life long smoker has a number of health issues. Not their fault. Even though there are warnings everywhere. Overweight? Not their fault. It's McDonalds fault, so lets sue McD. Someone who barely does enough to not get fired resents someone else who worked hard and got a promotion. Their reasoning is that there is favouritism and someone 'hates them'.

    But whose fault is it? We've trained a generation that it's not their fault. It's always someone else's. Suggesting people take responsibility for their lives gets you funny looks and suggestions of being crazy.

    People need to "grow a pair", and stop being 'victims' who have 'no control' over their lives.
     
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  9. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Well said, Bob. But all is not lost. I have worked for a long time in management, and there are a lot of young people who are very accountable. In fact, my experience has been that tenured employees who are often baby boomers are more likely to feel entitled to positive feedback, appraisals, promotions and awards, and are often shocked when held accountable for their actions (or lack of actions).

    Just saying that the future is not bleak. I have seen a lot of young employees with a tremendous amount of potential. The biggest concern I have in business is the loss of tacit knowledge. So much institutional memory and tacit knowledge is retiring, and the new leaders could have all kinds of potential, but lack the experience to know what they don't know.
     
  10. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    I have always believed that Benjamin Spock had a lot to do with lack of accountability.
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Why do you think that?
     
  12. crushing

    crushing Grandmaster

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    I'm curious as well.
     
  13. wingchun100

    wingchun100 Senior Master

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    Well Mr. Spock had pointy ears. I believe Ben Spock is the one and only Dr. Spock, who I think was a child psychologist from back in the day who wrote a book (or maybe several) on how to raise children.
     
  14. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Yeah, I think we're on the same page about who Dr. Spock was. I'm curious, because he's a bit of a controversial figure, but I think maybe because his books were written about 50 years ago, there are millions of people who think they know what his advice for parenting was, and very few who actually read the books.
     
  15. wingchun100

    wingchun100 Senior Master

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    Yeah you don't really hear his name mentioned much anymore, so maybe he has been discredited? I don't know.
     
  16. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    It's kind of political. His parenting philosophy is what most parents would consider common sense now. But his politics were very liberal, and so there was some interest in discrediting him. He did not advocate permissiveness or a lack of discipline, which is what most people believe. If you were to read his books, they talk about kids as individuals.

    Here's the terrific irony. Public schools are a model very much aligned with the traditional parenting model that conservatives day is bad. Kids are all treated the same. There is no individualized attention. Rigid conformation to the norm.

    Charter schools, home schooling and many private schools are exactly the model that dr. Spock endorsed. Kids as individuals, and addressing the specific needs of each child.

    It's funny how things ebb and flow.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
  17. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Spock was pretty much the authority on child rearing back in my day. His book (I forget the title) was only outsold by The Bible. (that's a lot of books)
    His views changed a bit over the years. He was originally in favor of circumcision, (designer mutilation IMO) but changed his views later on.

    He also is an Olympic Gold Medalist in rowing back in the days of dinosaurs.
     
  18. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    That is why I was certain to use his title, besides just courtesy. I didn't want to confuse anyone with Star Trek's Spock. But you may be right about how many read his book. But I have heard and read reviews more contemporary to his time, saying that he essentially advocated not spanking children, nor stifling them by not giving them free rein over how they wanted to live or express themselves. Whether or not that is what he advocated, that was attributed to him, and followed by a lot of people.
     
  19. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    Maybe I should have settled in Washington. What you describe is the true where I live in Virginia but manifested differently. Everyone gets the same permissiveness, meaning latitude to do mostly what they want. From what I hear, my neighbors in Washington, DC and Maryland aren't different. A gentleman I worked with before, retired from that job and decided he wanted to get into teaching in DC, since that was what he had his degree in. He was chided for even attempting to single miscreants out for discipline. He quickly decided that wasn't for him.
     
  20. crushing

    crushing Grandmaster

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    I googled and read those things too. The Gold Medal was especially cool. I also found that there was a pro-Vietnam War (Dr. Spock was against the war) cleric, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, along with some of his hardcore followers worked to denounce Spock's book and probably started the meme of permissiveness and lack of accountability.123
     

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