August 24, 2007


As most of my posts, this one too derives itself from a conversation with one of those few souls whom I ask questions. The funniest part of that conversation is that I ask the question knowing fully well, what the reply is going to be. However, the question is still asked and the reply is acknowledged with an “I know”.

What is blame? What makes us blame someone? I guess the adage “If at first you do not succeed, blame someone” captures what I want to say entirely.

The act of passing the blame can be due to many reasons. I am not bothered with that. What I am bothered is that when certain decisions of ours go wrong, we are immediate to point the finger at someone else saying that they were the person who instigated us to do such a thing. More often than not, they would have expressed an opinion and we would have accepted that whole-heartedly without a second thought.

In such a circumstance, how can we blame the other person? Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions. The constitution gives them the freedom of speech, thereby allowing them to express that opinion. In case, you are the target of that expression, then the onus falls on to you. What is the onus? It is to think what they say, why they are saying what they are saying and if that thing is applicable to you.

Assuming that you did or did not do all this and implemented that opinion, does this mean that you have a right to blame them if it goes wrong? In addition, in the same breath will you give them praise if it works out?

The second is more of a rhetoric question that I do not plan to answer.

When you decide something driven by forces external to you, maybe because it was said by someone important to you, maybe it came from someone you respect immensely, do you have the right to blame them?

The answer is no. The reason is very intuitive and is simple. Even when you do something on other people’s advice, at the end of the day, it is still your decision. When it is your decision, it is your prerogative to think through that decision. Just as you cannot be sorry for something that you do (refers my previous post Sorry) you cannot blame anyone but yourself.

You may come back with the question that it was their idea. Can you not see that it was your decision to implement their idea? Can you not see that you decided that person was so important to you that you decided to follow them blindly? Can you not see that that person means so much to you that you did not question their opinion?

When someone means so much to you, then how can you blame him or her? When someone is so important to you that you follow him or her, how can you demean that meaning and that importance by blaming him or her for what is essentially your decision?

The only person who is liable to blame is the only person who made the mistake, me. The mistake is that either I valued someone too much not to think through what he or she said and did what he or she said, or I did not think it out fully. The mistake is either in the value system or in the thought process, both of which are mine. In the end, it comes down to me and only me.

When I decide,
The decision is mine.
Root, in your head,
Root in mine,
Matters not,
Decision mine.
You, I cannot,
Blame you,
I shall not.
Lies in me,
For valuing
For listening to
Mind shut,
Ears open,
Should cause
Mouth shut.


Rajaraman said...

This is where the question of true leadership comes. A true leader consults many people. He derives his strength in talking to them. He makes his own judgement and formulates solution based on the data and inputs he got , supplements them with his own intution or hunch. He even incubates on the solution.
If it succeeds he shares the success. If it fails he takes the responsibility noral or otherwise.
People who blame others for their decisions should never be suggested to.
The best refrain would be to give suggestion only when asked for that too to people who are close

Suchitra said...

You talk about doing something because someone said it, and then blaming the advisor. There is another kind of blame; where I should have done something, did not do it, and then say 'It was not done because so-and-so's actions prevented me from doing it.' Your take?

Sense in non-sense Aditya said...

@ Suchi
I guess that the answer is completely encapsulated in ur question. When you say that it was to be done by you and you did not do it, there is no place for someone else to be responsible for it not being done.
When it is to be done only by you, as in when you are the sole responsibility, then there is no one else who can be blamed if it does not happen. Even if someone physically stops you, you will still be the only one to blame, if there was someone to be blamed.

Destination Infinity said...

There is an interesting point of view (I forgot where I came across this concept, but worthwhile to take a look): The idea is this: You are responsible for what ever happens to you and whatever happens around you. The author of this logic goes to the level of saying that mostly our inaction or misunderstanding are the only reasons for whatever happens to us and around us! Interesting point of view. The author called it assuming total responsibility!

Destination infinity.

Destination Infinity said...

Yes Aditya, It would be great if you could eloborate on the concept. If you could share any link on the subject, it would be helpful too.

Thanks for the reply.

Destination Infinity.

Rajaraman said...

As I said earlier.It is all leadership.
If you are a true leader, you find out what went wrong why it went wrong and take corrective and preventive measures so that it does not happen again.But if you want to get out of the mess and keep youself as not being responsible. the the blame game starts.
Look at the indians in australia. One test is lost three more to go
The blame game has starterd I dont mind the media but within the team itself.
Kumble blames on the batmen.This is because he has taken the wickets manager blames Yuvaraj Zaheer says something that they willnot blame the batters. This itself is means the batters\ wrong
When a situations is adverse the best way is to keep every mouth shut.
TYhat is how yudhishtra manged his energetic and violent brother. Ultimately he won. He never bothered about the reactions of BHIM Arjun or the scores of pinpricks of draupathi.
That is leadership.
Leadership is the essence of success.
Leader must take the blame even ifhe has personally not contributed to it.