Failure isn’t a one way street.

What are we responsible for as human beings? What level of interaction is wholly our responsibility? Is there one? Do we as humans have responsibility (solely) for any one specific interaction in our lives? Probably not, right? We are always engaged and involved, and own a portion of every interaction but frankly the reality is we aren’t the sole owner. If a relationship fails it is because of both sides. There are cases where one side is wholly responsible but those are the ones that are outside the realm of normal like Domestic Violence and murder. In those cases, the perpetrator is responsible for what happened.

In the course of normal human interaction there are varying degrees but in all cases a joint responsibility. Both sides own the interaction and therefore any failures that occur. But if one side never owns up to their responsibility what happens next?

My father introduced to the Novel Flatlands many years ago. I spent hours reading that book (he reminded me of the book when he gave me a copy much later on). All things are lines and therefore relationships fit within physical space. Simple point to point connections that result between people have shared responsibility.

I have mentored many people over the years and one of the hardest things to learn as a professional is that reality. We all want to spend our time blaming someone else for what happens around us. We want to place the negative view of that relationship wholly on them. As long as it is not an abusive or bullying situation that just isn’t the case. People are always responsible for ½ the bad connections.

A good friend of mine is an Electrical Engineer. One of the things he always talks about is the quality of the connection. If power doesn’t make it to both sides, the connection is bad. The same is true for interpersonal connections. Both sides have to be engaged and wired properly.

Another good friend is a phenomenal public speaker. I love going to his DC area talks. He is simply riveting. He always says the path to miscommunication starts with two people. One message, one discussion, two people and a disagreement. Both parties own what happens next. Interestingly one party will always blame the other party for the failure. Why? We don’t want to accept responsibility for failure.

I fail all the time. I often publish my blogs with early morning grammatical errors. I try to remove most of them but frankly I fail. I fail in communication all the time. Things hat I think are clearly said sometimes aren’t. I accept that about myself and I work to get better. I am responsible for this problem. Yes, there are times I wish I could blame someone else. But when I start blaming instead of taking responsibility I ultimately lose. There is genius in other’s. I sometimes realize this. That the ideas of others are so much better than my own ideas. That I need to change my thinking. I need to be responsible for my communication and change that because someone else is right. I accept. I own. I change. Maturity tells us that the path to understanding is the wisdom of age. Reality tells us that sometimes people don’t mature. They continue to be angry. It continues to be the fault of others. Blame isn’t just a path it is a way of life.

I choose to accept that I fail. I am failing now. I have failed in the past. I will fail again. My goal is to put myself in a place where all the failures will add to success. That I can succeed as a person, as a parent as most important as a human being.

I am wrong. I do fail. I do fall. But it doesn’t matter how far you fall, or how many times you fail it only matters how high you bounce.

I love this failure is an event not a person. When we fail, it is just that event that fails. Not the entire person. When you close a person out because they failed once you really aren’t doing them any good.

No learns unless they are told where they failed. But reality is that some failures (HR or Domestic Abuse) can’t be accepted. You move on from those failures. In the case of Domestic Violence or HR type issues it is ok to blame the other person and move away. Self-preservation dictates that we never accept that kind of treatment.

Failure is an event in everybody’s life.

It is something we all do.

Forgiving failures is what makes us human.


Trying to be a human being