Saturday, August 02, 2008

On Blaming Others

One night things didn't go at all well for me. My scrapers were in tough going and the crew that was supposed to break up the hardpan for us hadn't done a good job. The road to the dam site was full of loose rock that was hard on the caterpillar tracks of my scrapers. The electricians hadn't strung the lights in the right places. Kaiser came out, and of course I was full of excuses, blaming the other fellow.

"Well, now, Bob," he said, "when things haven't gone as well as they probably should have, and you start to blame circumstances and other people instead of yourself, you are never going to improve. It's when you start to improve these matters yourself that you improve the matters and yourself both."

I can't say I was completely convinced. Late that night I got into the car with Kaiser and another superintendent named Tom. Tom had had a bad night, too, and he was glowering in silence in his corner. Kaiser stood it for a while, and then he said to me, "Tom, there, is smarter than you are. He isn't giving me any complaints or excuses. He has enough sense to keep his mouth shut."

I got that point all right, and Tom brightened up some. Kaiser wasn't through with us. "The trouble with Tom is that while he isn't' blaming anybody or excusing himself out loud, he's sure thinking about it. In that way, he's just as guilty as you are, Bob. He won't improve any, either, until he stops thinking someone else is to blame and starts thinking of what to do about it."

That lesson has been worth a lot to me down through the years. I continue to preach it to myself and to anyone else who will listen. You will never improve unless you blame yourself for the troubles you have. Then when you realize your troubles are your own, you can take them to the Lord, and He will give you guidance. Just don't make the mistake of asking Him to believe the other fellow was to blame.


-From Mover of Men and Mountains: the Autobiography of R.B. Le Tourneau.

1 comment:

Sean said...

a true and hard lesson.

one caveat: for those of us who are more neurotic, self blame can easily become self-condemnation that does not come under Jesus' mercy.

so, yes, accept responsibility, but not too much. at the end of the day, we are small, little people