Have you ever noticed how much time some people take to complain about their current situation? Rather than spending the same energy looking inward for answers, they instead turn outward for blame. This “point the finger” mindset is something I commonly address with clients at my office, and it is often the primary reason why an athlete fails to reach his or her full potential. People generally find it a lot easier to blame someone or something rather than to look inside and identify self-shortcomings and/or destructive thinking/behaviors. Successful athletes (and everyday people) refrain from pointing blame, and instead perpetually ask themselves the question: What can I do to improve upon my situation?
Locus of control
One important, fundamental question we must all ask ourselves is where we attribute our life success and failure? Do we feel as though our life experiences are a result of our efforts (or lack thereof), or due to the influences of others (including those who simply don’t want to see us succeed)? Locus of control is defined in the psychology literature as the degree to which people believe that they have control over the outcome of events in their lives, as opposed to external forces beyond their control. Do you make the choice to look inward for answers, or do you point the finger outward to blame other people and/or conditions?
People who operate from an internal locus of control regularly look at themselves for ways they improve. On the other hand, individuals operating from an external locus of control tend to steer clear of looking at themselves for answers, instead placing blame or fault on other people, things, and conditions. As you might imagine, developing an internal locus of control is almost always healthier than pointing helplessly outward at others. If you regularly blame the world around you, it’s unlikely you will ever develop enough energy, focus, and motivation to actually try and change your situation.
Look in the mirror
When you think about the goals you have for yourself, or the hurdles in life you want to overcome, where do you look? If you choose to look in the mirror, try asking the following questions:
- Where am I coming up short?
- What do I need to do to improve?
- What people and/or resources do I need to seek?
- What other things under my control do I need to do in order for me to reach my full potential? What’s stopping me from getting started?
Take ownership of your current situation, and get excited about your resiliency and perseverance toward improving your condition. This kind of mindset is a choice, and it’s one very worth developing.
Sure, pushing blame outward to the world around you might provide temporary relief, but in most cases this kind of thinking thwarts progress, and in some cases even creates new problems. You will be surprised at how quickly you witness self-improvement by asking yourself the right questions, and then paying close attention to the ideas you identify. Turn tough situations into challenges rather than seeing them as threats, and take your game to the next level as a result.