If we want to lead purpose-filled lives of positive change, we must avoid the temptation of blame.
Blame is an excuse. It is a tool by which we allow ourselves to feel hopeless and helpless by pointing at external causes that are outside of our control as an explanation for us not living the lives we imagined or hoped for and for us not attaining the outcomes we have been working toward. Blame never leads to improvement, growth, or progress because blame puts our fates in the hands of people and conditions over which we have no power.
Blame is not the same as the rooting out of causation. If we want to right our course or not repeat past mistakes, we must understand the causes of our errors and failures so that we can amend our beliefs, strategies, and behaviors for the future. Understanding causation gives us power, but blame, much like fear, steals power away from us.
The opposite of blame is accountability. Accountability enables us to look at those things we can control, those things we can affect, those things we can improve, and to focus on these so that we are doing the most with what we have instead of excusing ourselves from taking action because of what we do not or can not have. In the end, our success or failure will never be contingent upon external factors that are outside of our control because success and failure are both begin and end with our mindset.
Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.
All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.
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