The Blame Game

People looooove to play the “blame game.”  I see it all the time. Whether on a public forum (like social media), or in peoples more personal lives, people feel useful pointing the finger at who or what they believe is the source of a problem. People do it with regard to national/world politics, workplace operations, household affairs, and basically all social groups. It’s a great way to create the illusion of productivity while at the same time relieve some angst.

Unfortunately it does neither of these things. Simply pointing out the cause of a problem very rarely leads to a solution, and any angst relief is very temporary. In fact, it usually just magnifies the angst quickly since the solution has not been found; we are just fueling our own fire.

The MAIN reason why we play the blame game though, is because we believe that it alleviates us from any responsibility toward finding/being the solution to a problem. “They broke it, so it’s their responsibility to fix it”.  This is both a lazy approach to problem resolution, and a waste of time and mental energy. The truth is: When a problem occurs, it is the responsibility of all parties involved to find/be the solution.

It is OUR responsibility to fix the problems in the world today. Simply whining about it on social media and pointing the finger isn’t getting us anywhere.

For both our global and private problems, we have to stop saying:

“Somebody has to stop this.”

“They better take care of this.”

Instead, we should be asking ourselves:

“What am I doing that could be causing or adding to this problem?”

“What can I do to resolve the problem?”

Or at the very least:

“What changes can I make, to do my part in the resolution?”

We should always be pointing the finger inward for solutions, never outward for blame. This is a more productive and less stressful use of our mental energy.

Secure in Ones Self

A certain strength of character is required when one considers pursuing an alternative lifestyle; a lifestyle that is against the grain or norm. This had never occurred to me before in all my years of writing and preaching about Minimalism, because I had always taken for granted the fact that I have a very strong sense of “self”, a very strong identity.

It hadn’t occurred to me until recently that there are many people that are NOT very secure in themselves. And how would it occur to me, I was (fortunately) raised by a mother that did a very good job from the beginning of instilling a very strong sense of identity, of self esteem. I just assumed everyone else had it just the same, to the point where I was unaware that it was a concept. It was simply “the way it is” to me.

It occurs to me now that many people just go through life doing what they think they are supposed to be doing. What’s expected of them. They immediately void out any thoughts or feelings they have that are not in line with the “status quo” as waste, or frivolous. They feel inadequate with their own company, and won’t engage in activities unless they have the company of others, especially outside the home. They need the company of others to give them some sense of validation.

They lack security in themselves. They lack a strong personal identity.

In order for anyone to pursue an alternative lifestyle custom tailored to them, a strong personal identity is required. It is required because when one custom tailors a life from unpopular philosophies, they won’t have a lot of support. Sure there WILL be many individuals such as myself that will support someone because we have similar lifestyles to them, but that support will always be greatly outnumbered by the public at large who is resistant to it. So in the end, their ability to follow through rests on the strength of their character. How strong their personal identity is.

Now …… there are many levels of strength we could be dealing with here, so I am not going to draw lines in the sand to illustrate when one is strong enough to pursue an alternative lifestyle. I reckon I’m not even qualified to do that. BUT, I have observed enough people, and their behaviors/attitudes, to determine who is lacking in self security in general. These people have behaviors like:

  • Unwilling to go to dinner or a movie (in theater) alone.
  • Excessive condescending sarcasm at someone else’s expense (often under the guise of “joking”).
  • Judgmental
  • Image Conscience
  • Inflated Ego (important not to confuse “EGO” and “Strong Personal Identity”. Ego is used to mask an individual’s lack of personal identity. Ego is an outward display used to cover up an inward void.)

A person who exhibits any of the above behaviors is likely not strong enough to consider, understand, or follow through with an alternative custom tailored lifestyle.

So raises the question “How can one gain a strong personal identity.”

I don’t have the “one stop” cure for this. I’m sorry. Like I said ….. I was raised with it. Truthfully, I don’t think there is an easy “go to” for this one. It is something each individual need to work on within themselves. Meditation, therapy, and healthy positive environments will help. The only words I can offer someone in need of a strong personal identity are:

 

You are wonderful. Every thought you have, every emotion you have, be it comical or serious, is important. YOU are important. You have great purpose.

I mean every word of that, and as long as you make yourself repeat it over an over, sooner or later you’ll believe it too.

Spend some time alone. Make yourself laugh. Learn some new skills in your alone time. These things will help.

 

 

 

Think of this as class “Minimalism 096” (before “Minimalism 101”)

Do Something that scares you at least once a week

Unfortunately ……. growth does not happen while we stay settled in our comfort zone. Risk, new discovery, surprises, breaking our pattern, and even tragedy (unfortunately), THESE are the things that stimulate growth. Change, steady change is what builds ones character. We humans fear change, but we need it in order to keep our sense of purpose.

With that being said, lets make it our personal mission to make a point every week to do something we have never done before. Something risky, something new, something that makes our blood boil. Now these things don’t have to be big every time, but they should make us sweat a little.

It is THESE experiences, that are part of the “Value added” part of our lives.

Automation

I had an interesting experience in taking my daughter to a little video arcade recently (in a mall). For the first time ever, I was patroning a completely automated arcade. I was fascinated at the idea. There was not an employee/associate in the entire place.

Like many arcades, it had a currency system by which players of the games earn tickets that they could trade in later for prizes. However when we desired to do just that, the prizes were kept in a sorta vending machine, at which we would enter the tickets in a slot and then key in the prize slot ID we desired (ya know …. like a vending machine).

I appreciated the efficiency of it. Perfect minimization. As much as I am a proponent of human interaction/connection, I appreciated the efficiency of this system. It never occurred to me before, but an arcade is the perfect “walk-in” business to be neigh staff-less. All that is required is an owner to come in after close, clean up, maintain, collect the profits, do the books, ……… and that’s about it. On occasion he may need to call a technician to fix a machine or two.

……… Then something happened. Two things actually. First, my daughter won 100 TICKETS playing one of the games, but before the game dispensed said tickets, it froze. We were stiffed. THEN later, when we went to the prize machine to cash in all the tickets she earned, the machines mechanics stalled, thus robbing her of the prize. Of course those tickets/points were still deducted from her total anyway …….. stiffed again. And remember, there are NO EMPLOYEES, so there was no-one we could even go to about these issues. I suppose we could have complained at the mall front desk and eventually got redemption if we pushed the matter, but it’s just not worth it.

So it is, that even in a seemingly clear case of “perfect full automation”, human interaction is required. In this day and age, we still need at least one human person there supervising an arcade to help customers.

And you know what ………..I appreciate that too.