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It’s your fault.

This might be hard to hear, but…

It’s your fault.

All of it.

The good. The bad. The ugly.

You’re responsible for all of it (even if you’re not).

Adopting this simple mental model is a first principle for me.

It’s All Your Fault

“Complaining is not a strategy. You have to work with the world as you find it, not as you would have it be.” ~ Jeff Bezos

I get it…

You trusted him. You loved her.

You worked hard. You played it safe.

You’re a good person. You don’t cheat, lie or steal.

You add value. You help out. You care…

…yet, bad shit continues to happen, and you don’t know why.

It’s your fault.

You’re not unlucky. The Universe isn’t to get you (at least not any more than it is for everyone else).

If you zoom out…if you go back far enough, it’s always your fault.

This is a hard lesson.

But I promise you, spend some time alone, in the quiet…let the noise, emotions, and ego fade away, and you’ll see it.

The work you didn’t do, the unreasonable expectations, the reaction, the lapse in judgment… it’s there.

When you realize you’re always at fault, you realize something even more profound: you’re completely in control of your life.

The love, the hope, the meaning, the connection…all of it.

When everything becomes your fault, you get to take control of the solution.

“I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.” ~ W. E. Henley

What About the Horrible Shit?

Because I know what you’re thinking…what about the truly horrible shit:

  • Rape,
  • Cancer,
  • Violence, etc?

While in reality, these may not actually be your fault (bad stuff happens to good people, unfortunately), the point of this mental model is ownership.

Own the obstacle, own the solution.

Whether you’re responsible isn’t the point of the “It’s your fault” mental model.

When I was 16 years old, my Dad went to jail for drinking and driving. He was gone for three years. Throughout my junior and senior years of high school and freshman year of college, we only spoke five times.

I didn’t make him drink (I didn’t even know he was drinking that night). I didn’t make him drive.

Yet, for three of the most influential years in a man’s life, my Dad was not there…sporting events, school stuff, visiting colleges… all of it.

I was sad, but I didn’t let it stop me.

Using “It’s your fault,” I was forced to concede:

  • Alcoholism runs in our family,
  • Every decision we make has repercussions, and,
  • Whatever it is that I want, I have to go get it myself.

I owned the problem (generational trauma associated with alcohol) and, therefore, was able to own the solution.

The Mental Model

The “It’s your fault” mental model is straightforward but powerful:

Own the obstacle, own the solution.

No complaining. No excuses. No pity.

  • Will there be times when complaining is warranted? Yes.
  • Will there be legitimate excuses for obstacles? Yes.
  • Will there be moments you deserve pity? Yes.

The issue is, despite all these being real and legitimate at times, engaging in these activities and allowing your mind to go to these places only passes the ownership of the obstacle to someone else.

“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” ~ Marcus Aurelius

This is the way.

p.s. this week, I was interviewed by Daniel Seong about my speaking career. This is the first time I’ve ever talked in detail about how I approach keynote speaking. Listen here: Ryan Hanley: Mastering The Art Of Public Speaking

Great Stuff from the Week

Here are a few pieces of content I found valuable from this week:

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