Personal Responsibility 102: The Importance of Owning Up to Your Mistakes and How to Do It

by Brett & Kate McKay on February 19, 2013 · 31 comments

in A Man's Life, On Manhood, On Virtue, Personal Development

buckstops

Yesterday we discussed the cognitive blind spots our brains generate that can make it difficult for us to honestly assess our actions and determine our responsibility for those actions and their consequences. We discovered the way in which our brains are inclined to flatter and shield our egos from blame when we make mistakes.

Despite how difficult it is to counter the mechanisms of our ego defense system, the task is not wholly insurmountable. Every man who wishes to take on the mantle of manhood must make the effort. In doing so, you will find that striving to take responsibility for your life and ownership of your mistakes is incredibly worthwhile for many reasons:

Allows you to make better decisions. Self-justifications distort reality. The more you use them, the more you create an alternate universe for yourself. This leads to a decreased ability to make good choices, as the information you’re using to do so is warped. This can keep you from the people and pursuits that could have been good for you – if only you had been able to see them clearly for what they were. For example, that professor who was “out to get you” might have become an incredible mentor, if you had seen his criticism as a desire to help, rather than an attack.

Most dangerously, one self-justification begets another, setting off a domino effect that sends you more and more off track. Once you justify one decision, you’re deeper into it, and to get rid the dissonance you’ll feel worrying if was the right choice, you’ll make a decision that digs you even further into it. And the cycle continues. For example if you bully a kid at school, you’ll then feel some dissonance in the aftermath for hurting someone (no one likes to think of themselves as cruel), so you’ll justify that decision by saying the kid is an annoying crybaby who deserved it. The more you dwell on those justifications, the more convinced of them you’ll become, and the more you’ll feel like bullying him again.

Keeps little problems from turning into big ones. Related to the point above, if you can own up to a mistake as soon as you make it and do your best to correct it or make it right, you can prevent it from turning into a huge problem that’s going to be difficult to solve. A snowballed mistake may torpedo various aspects of your relationships and career before you can get yourself out from under it.

Allows you to learn from your mistakes. Simple — you can’t learn from your mistakes if you can’t acknowledge you’ve made them! And if you don’t learn from your mistakes, you’re destined to repeat them. That’s a recipe for quickly going nowhere in life.

Engenders the respect of others. We often hide our mistakes from other people because we worry they will think less of us once they’ve seen that we’ve messed up. But, frankly acknowledging your mistakes, apologizing for them, and then earnestly working to make things right almost always has the opposite effect – people respect you for it. There might still be consequences, of course, but people will appreciate your honesty. If they use your confession as a way to belittle and use you, those are probably not the kind of people you want to work/live with anyway. It’s actually when you hide your mistakes, and they’re found out anyway, that people lose their respect and their trust in you.

Strengthens relationships. Self-justification is a cold, hard relationship killer, as it causes us to build a case of total blame against the other person when things are going poorly between you.

There are two ways to explain mistakes: the person did what they did because of the situation, or, because of who they are. We use the former explanation with ourselves — “I forgot her birthday because I have so much on my mind right now.” We tend to use the second explanation on others — “She forgot my birthday because she’s so self-centered.” We don’t critique their behavior, but their character – they don’t do bad stuff, they are bad. This kind of blanket condemnation is called a global label. The person is stupid, crazy, useless, selfish, immature, bitchy, evil, lazy, etc. They’re a failed human being.

Global labels are almost never accurate, but your brain finds them very satisfying to develop and spew. They allow you to see your partner as deliberately hurting you — as intentionally sinking the relationship. It’s their fault, and you’re the victim, so you feel entitled to punish and attack them.

Once you give someone a global label – “She’s self-centered” – you focus on gathering evidence to confirm your conclusion, and overlook all evidence to the contrary. Velcro and Teflon. You keep mulling over how she forgot your birthday, but don’t think about how just yesterday she canceled plans with her friends to stay home and help you finish a paper. As you strengthen your “case” against her, you’re filled with self-righteous indignation, which allows you to go on the attack. Then, when you see you’ve hurt her, dissonance arises (again nobody likes to think of themselves as mean or heartless), so you gather more evidence to justify your attacks as well-deserved. And on it goes. When the global label becomes firmly entrenched, you come to see the person as hopelessly flawed and unable to change (“You’re just like your father!”), which leads to you feeling contempt for them, one of the death knells of a relationship.

Conversely, being able to admit fault, being able to acknowledge one’s role in the current health of the relationship, and having empathy for why your partner might do what she does from time to time without being hopelessly flawed (just like you!), leads to strong, healthy relationships.

The Bottom Line: Owning up to our mistakes allows us to take responsibility for our lives. If we can’t accurately perceive who we are, how we behave (and how others behave towards us), and how our behavior affects others and our own lives, life will always feel like something that’s happening to us, rather than something we are in control of. Men with an internal locus of control  – those who believe they can shape life through their own decisions and actions — are more confident, more likely to seek learning and be leaders, more disciplined, and better able to deal with stress and challenges. Men with an external locus of control, on the other hand, believe the course of their life is determined by luck and other people, and see themselves as victims. They are prone to problems with both their physical and mental health, and often plagued by stress, anxiety, and depression. When they make mistakes, they are apt to think, “Why is this happening to me?”

Men with an internal locus of control are achievement-oriented and more likely to find academic and professional success. Instead of remaining in a childish mindset, they grow into mature manhood. Instead of seeing themselves as the victim and blaming others for their failures, they learn from their mistakes and use them as stepping stones to getting stronger and moving ahead.

How to Take Greater Ownership of Your Mistakes

“The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.” -Thomas Carlyle

It’s not possible to be aware of all of our self-justification blind spots. You probably wouldn’t want to be, actually, lest you become unable to extricate yourself from a fetal position of regret. But it is possible, and desirable, to cultivate a greater awareness and ownership of our behavior and mistakes, especially those of a meaningful nature; you don’t need to rehearse the time you farted during class in the second grade over and over, but you do need to get at the root of why you always end up cheating on your girlfriends.

The common denominator in the points below is humility. It is those who are most confident, to the point of narcissism, who have the most trouble admitting their shortcomings; the gap between their behavior and their self-image is so wide, the dissonance so strong, that they readily reach for justifications that keep their ego intact. (People will low-esteem experience dissonance when something good happens to them and will try to explain it away, and even sabotage it to dissipate the dissonance: “Why is this hot chick into me? Maybe she made a bet with her friends.”)

If it seems like responsibility-shirking is on the rise, it may not be your imagination. Narcissism has risen 30% among college students since 1979, and studies show their self-confidence is at an all-time high. The majority of college students think they are above average when it comes to social and intellectual confidence, leadership qualities, and the drive to succeed, even though this is statistically impossible, and belied by the facts; the students who rate themselves highly often do not have the grades to back that claim, and things like writing ability and number of hours spent studying has gone down over the last few decades, not up.

Confidence is a great thing, but it must also be linked to honest self-assessment and actual achievement. It must be leavened by clear-eyed humility. Otherwise, narcissism will keep us from seeing, and correcting for, our shortcomings. How do we find that wise humility?

Just like it may not be possible to eliminate every blind spot while you’re driving, but you can catch most with a look over your shoulder, you can catch your self-justifications with some extra care and reflection. Here’s how to shoulder-check your mistakes:

Nip it in the bud. As mentioned above, justifying a little mistake can allow it to grow into a huge one. And the more the emotional, financial, and moral stakes of a mistake mount, the harder it becomes to admit. So own up to a mistake when it’s small and do it as soon as possible after it happens. This is the oh-so-easy-to-justify-because-it’s-no-big-deal stage, but you have to ignore that temptation and nip it in the bud before it slowly grows into the this-mistake-is-destroying-my-life stage. How do you do that? You:

Tune into, and hold onto, the niggling feeling of dissonance. Unless you’re a sociopath, when you make a mistake you’ll feel cognitive dissonance — some might call it your conscience — kick in. For most people, it’s only a flash before they push it away with immediate justifications for why they’re not at fault. Our ego defense system kicks in automatically. In order to take greater ownership of your mistakes, you need to be able to locate that dissonance signal amongst all the self-justifications playing a soothing piper’s tune, and then tune in and hold it there. No one likes mental discomfort, so it really takes a kind of courage to be able to simply sit with that tension even as your brain screams to make it go away.

Try to sort through why your conscience is panged. While your immediate reaction may be to blame the situation or the other person, take an honest look at what role you may have had in precipitating that situation, or handling it poorly, and what you may have done to provoke the other person and what may have led to them reacting the way they did. Examine things from a different angle and from the other person’s perspective.

Have people in your life who keep you accountable. People who shirk responsibility for their behavior surround themselves with yes men who never contradict their justifications. Without any honest feedback, they fall further and further into the rabbit hole of their ego-driven delusions. Every man needs people in his life who are willing to give it to him straight, who are willing to call him out when he’s messed up, and who do it out of love. It’s tempting to avoid these people and retreat into your echo chamber of excuses, but they’re the kind of people who will truly help you thrive.

Fight the confirmation bias. If you remember from last time, the confirmation bias describes our brain’s tendency to latch onto information that flatters our preexisting beliefs, and to shun information that contradicts it. Knowing this, we need to consciously tamp down our knee-jerk reaction to an opposing viewpoint and try to listen open-mindedly before rendering judgment. We must in fact actively and purposefully seek out those different viewpoints, even when our brain keeps trying to drag us back to the comfortable confines of our like-minded tribe.

Don’t play the “if only” game. Men who play the “if only” game justify their failures and struggles by saying they would turn things around if only x, y, or z would happen. “If only I had more time in the morning, I’d work out and lose all this weight.” “If only I had a less stressful job, I wouldn’t be so short with my kids.”

The only variable you have total control over is you. If you let your co-workers/friends/girlfriend “make” you feel a certain way, you’ve stopped being an active agent in your life, and become a victim.

Increase your problem-solving skills. The “expectancy-value theory” of psychology says that a person’s likelihood of taking an action is dependent on how much the person values a particular outcome and how much the person believes that taking the action will produce that outcome. To put that in simple terms: We blame others and play the victim when we don’t believe that we can solve a problem ourselves. The more confident we feel in our problem-solving abilities and the more skills we have at our disposal, the more likely we are to take responsibility for turning something around.

Put yourself in the others’ shoes. Tavris and Aronson argue that “the couples who grow together over the years have figured out a way to live with a minimum of self-justification, which is another way of saying that they are able to put empathy for the partner ahead of defending their own territory.” How do they do that? “They are able to yield, just enough, on the self-justifying excuse, ‘That’s the kind of person I am.’” When we give someone else a global label, we do it with the idea that they’re hopelessly flawed. But when one is thrown at us, we defend it as a cherished part of our identity! “That’s who I am! You have to accept it!” But you have to be able to take an honest look at how “who you are” might be detrimental to those you love and your life as a whole. And your partner, in turn, must have some empathy for those traits that are indeed deeply ingrained – for better or worse — within you.

For example, Kate comes from a line of feisty Italians who think yelling about things big and small is totally normal. My family, on the other hand, is pretty quiet and passive. When she and I argue, or even have an animated discussion, she often starts raising her voice. If I say, “Why are you so angry? Why are you yelling?” she’ll say, “I’m not angry and I’m not yelling. I’m just talking excitedly! This is normal!” I’d tell her that raising her voice made the discussion feel hostile to me and she would respond with, “Well that’s the way I am.” And I’d say, “Well it feels stressful to me. That’s the way I am.”

“That’s the way I am” is an easy way to protect our egos, and to keep us from having to do the hard work of trying to change. Once you think about it though, do the things we do that hurt those we love need to be held onto as cherished parts of our identities? Kate and I have both tried to have more empathy for each other on this issue. She tries not to yell, or, uh, talk excitedly as much, and I try not to equate a raised voice with hostility and high stakes. It is indeed hard to make big changes, but little steps, showing you’re trying, can make a big difference.

Get over the idea that making mistakes=being stupid. When a couple of researchers were observing a Japanese classroom back in the 70s they were astounded to see a student very calmly work through a problem on the chalkboard, in front of his peers, for 45 minutes. They were amazed to realize that they felt more uncomfortable for him than he felt himself!

A prominent idea in the West, especially America, is that abilities like intelligence are largely innate. The Japanese, on the other hand, see intelligence as a function of effort. Thus, when Americans make mistakes, they see it as a failure of who they are, while the Japanese view mistakes as simply part of the learning process and evidence that you can work through something and improve.

Studies by psychologist Carol Dweck have shown that students praised for general qualities like intelligence and self-worth (“You are special!”) give up quicker and enjoy learning less than those praised for their effort. The former group, because they see intelligence and other traits as innate qualities you either have or don’t have, will feel dissonance when they struggle with a problem – if they’re having a hard time, does that they mean they’re not as effortlessly bright and special as they’ve been told they are? They thus end up giving up altogether rather than risking a failure that would damage and call into question their self-concept. Students commended for their effort, on the other hand, end up doing better in the long run because they see their struggles as simply part of the process of getting better, not as a reflection on their core identity.

Students praised for how bright and talented and special they are end up as adults who struggle to take personal responsibility for their mistakes. Admitting to any kind of failure feels like admitting that they’re not the exceptional person their parents told them they were.

The more you see success not as a function of inherent traits, but of effort and work, the less threatening making mistakes becomes. We must, as Tavris and Aronson put it, “learn to see mistakes not as terrible personal failings to be denied or justified, but as inevitable aspects of life that help us grow, and grow up.”

_______________________________

Source:

Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson

 

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brandon February 19, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Thank you so much for this article, and even more so the timing of it. I’ve been struggling with the depressive nature of this mental process for well over a year now. Only this past weekend did I take the time to think over my own actions, and came to realize exactly what it is that you’ve written here. Thank you for the positive reinforcement that I’m making the correct first steps.

2 Sasha February 19, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Personal responsibility is a topic that we need to talk more about these days- articles like this are very needed. It’s also worth mentioning that it good to BE the person who is helping others be responsible and accountable, in addition to trying to have people like in your own life. Help someone out by teaching them to be responsible for what they do and holding them to it. They will be glad they were able to man up a bit with your help.

3 Nick P. February 19, 2013 at 10:14 pm

This was a very good continuation of yesterday’s article. With the ever growing entitlement mentality that is taking over our culture things like this need to be said. really it boils down to “grandpa’s” advise to man up and fix it what you messed up.

This is a hard lesson to learn and one I had to learn this past year but the effort is well worth it. I feel that I moved way more into the Internal locus of control.

4 Mike February 19, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Very nice this is the kind of article that make’s me coming back for more.

5 Glen Long February 20, 2013 at 5:37 am

Great Part Deux!

The point that really made me sit up was about how we use situation to justify our own mistakes, but interpret other people’s mistakes as character flaws. Tick – done that.

And there’s some really great advice here about how to counter our “ego defense system”. Did you think of making it into an AoM poster or infographic – “How to Tell If Your Ego Is Sabotaging Your Integrity (and What To Do About It)”? Just a thought.

I also found the Japanese classroom example very interesting – it helps to explain why the West generally has such a mistake-averse culture.

Over the last few years popular business books have talked more and more about failure being a natural precursor to success – “Fail Early, Fail Often” being a particular mantra – but deep down I think we’re just much more comfortable with the idea of succeeding by avoiding failure, not embracing it.

6 Henry February 20, 2013 at 7:26 am

This was a lot more uplifting than yesterday’s article. I particularly appreciate the point of success– people are not born successful, people do not wake up one morning and just become successful. Success is indeed the product of effort and work. We are all capable of succeeding and we are all vulnerable to making mistakes and making bad decisions, but those are opportunities to grow and can contribute to the work and effort that goes into creating success!

This is definitely good stuff.

7 Jim Collins February 20, 2013 at 7:45 am

Esteemed Brett, Readers, and Kate,

The authors of AoM’s instance of a cutting-edge academician was well chosen. Academicians, including scientists such as myself, are prone to vanity — more prone than most I think; regardless of whether it is truer of me than my fellows it would be counterproductive for me to act as if it were not.

True to my nature as a geek I rely on a table, much as I rely on a modification of Benjamin Franklin’s table for the achievement of virtue.

http://artofmanliness.com/2008/02/24/lessons-in-manliness-benjamin-franklins-pursuit-of-the-virtuous-life/

In everything there is contextual good and contextual bad. In this stance I am a moral relativist. If I can’t find benefits in the worst I have done and harm in the best I am guilty of cowardice in my self-inspection. So, in my weekly Sunday evening cogitation on my behavior, I challenge myself to complete two tables. First, I require myself to find at least two faults with my achievements of the week. Second, I require myself to name at least two instances where I have been guilty of the same fault I have attributed to someone else.

As I strive to be consistent with this prescription for self-inspection I offer two faults in what I have just written: 1) that my method reeks of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and 2) that a charge of self-congratulatory moral superiority could reasonably be supported. This list could be much longer but I will limit myself out of respect for the reader’s time and perhaps in order to affect an air of humility.

Sincerely,

A Flawed Man

8 ginois February 20, 2013 at 7:59 am

Fantastic article, like Brandon I too struggled with these problems internally during the past year, and I think the honesty and matter of fact writing in the article are brilliant.

9 Darren February 20, 2013 at 8:00 am

One of the things I love about AoM is the focus on action. I write stuff about building things. This is about building you, the most important thing you will ever build (and far more difficult than making a paddle).

Hardest part for me: Taking responsibility for my actions without taking ALL the responsibility for everyone’s actions. Owning your part is important, but really knowing what my part is can be vexing, especially when you live in a culture/family/relationship that is based on finding fault.

I was once in a relationship years ago (over 30) where the family was obsessive about keeping tally of who screwed up what and how much that screw up was worth. That way, if you made a mistake, you could say “Well, yeah, but YOU did THIS three weeks ago Sunday…” No one was ever excused or forgiven.

Needless to say, that was a very short relationship.

I struggle with all these things…as we all do. No one is immune. It’s a great reminder for me to take my ethical temperature more often. Thanks, Brett and Kate, for one of the finest series yet.

DB

10 James February 20, 2013 at 10:28 am

“Have people in your life who keep you accountable.”

Being in a 12 step program really helps here. Having someone like a sponsor who knows all of you is a big help for having someone keep you accountable. If you have good friends but you compartmentalize yourself, they can’t really hold you accountable (and they aren’t actually good friends).

“Global labels are almost never accurate…”

Almost but sometimes global labels do fit. My dad is a seriously bad narcissist. A narcissist being someone unable to discern their self from the world around them. That is someone unable to see that those around them do not feel what they feel and that the world around them is a separate thing and that they aren’t everything. When his son admitted a serious problem, my dad showed no interest or concern. After shaking his 5 year old grandson, my dad “apologized” by saying he forgave his grandson for upsetting him. Accepting that he is a narcissist and that a real relationship, which requires empathy, is most likely impossible has helped me eliminate a lot of underlining anxiety. A good friend helped me accept this.

11 Cary February 20, 2013 at 10:45 am

Great article. I’m adding this and the 101 to my library!

12 Raheel Farooq February 20, 2013 at 11:11 am

Great write-up, man. Especially when you suggested to step into others’ shoes. If we bother to replace our ego with someone else’s, which is obviously equally respectable, a thousand doors of enlightenment and wisdom open right away!

13 Matt February 20, 2013 at 11:38 am

That last part, about mistakes != stupid hit home with me. I was always told by my parent that I was smart and “gifted” as a kid. Now, as a college senior, I’m giving up on things more quickly because I want to always be right about things…..

14 Daniel February 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Another superior article . . . that’s all I have to say. I can’t wait for the 103 article.

15 Ivan February 20, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Thanks for a great article!

It’s true that for a person to truly grow up, he/she needs to take responsibility for their lives. And that means taking responsibility for both the good and the bad.

I find your last point on “get over the idea that making mistakes = being stupid” quite insightful. Sometimes, we just assume a mistake to be bigger than it really is. Maybe it’s because we’re in panic mode, but we have a tendency to dramatize the worst case scenario with our mistakes. This in turn makes us feel even more stupid and reluctant to own up to it.

If we can accept that most mistakes are not the end-of-the-world variety and more the embarrassing-but-I’ll-live kind, we may find it a lot easier to own up to them and move on.

16 Matt February 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Great article as always McKays.

You actually have great timing with these two for me, as I just watched “Good Will Hunting” yesterday, and just about everything you cover here relates to the struggles Will goes through. I found it interesting to read up on this stuff so quickly after seeing it in action.

More importantly, I can see myself in several of the potholes self-justification causes, and am glad for the advice on how to face my flaws and overcome them.

Thanks!

17 Bea February 20, 2013 at 5:40 pm

The last part about students really resonated with me
What can I do if I’m only now noticing I’ve been struggling with my studies because I’ve been constantly told I’m so bright and special despite nearly no studying?
Please note I’m not trying to shift blame, I’m just asking what can I do to correct this after the damage has been done

18 Andrew from Canada February 21, 2013 at 9:17 am

Brett,
I’m all for taking responsibilty but I’m curious, should we be taking responsibilty for everything? In the Robert E. Lee example at the beginning of part one, he says he, “Asked more of my men than should have been asked of them.” But couldn’t the remaining solidiers from the Pickett Charge loss also say they were responsible because they couldn’t follow Lee’s orders? Who’s really at fault? It reminds me of sports when the coach gets sacked: Was it their fault for not motivating the team or was it the team’s fault for not performing?

19 Brett McKay February 21, 2013 at 4:16 pm

@Andrew-
It is long been thought that a hallmark of true leadership is taking responsibility for everyone under your charge. That’s your stewardship, and even if you didn’t directly participation in a failure, you’re responsible for it as the leader. If the soldiers didn’t have enough discipline, then maybe their commanders didn’t instill it enough, and that reflects poorly on who the general chose as commanders. If players perform poorly, then the coach did not prepare or motivate them well enough. If they didn’t try, then he didn’t instill a culture where such shirking was unacceptable.

These days what you see a lot is that leaders are willing to take credit for the wins and rewards that those under them earned, but will not take responsibility for their failures. From corporations to the military, when wrongdoing is discovered, it’s the little guy, the grunt on the ground who gets blamed, while the higher ups get off scot free and say they didn’t know what the little guys in their charge were doing. Yet if the little guys had succeeded, they would have been happy to take the bonuses and promotions that came with that success. That’s not leadership.

20 Shristi February 24, 2013 at 1:45 am

Hi Brett,

My mother, who has struggled in life, and my religious friends both believe that decisions in their lives ultimately reflect decisions by God/luck. I feel they do this for solace. I also think that when a person chooses to let go of control of so many aspects of their lives, they are less stressed. It seems psychologically beneficial.

There is a quote that goes, “Some times we must simply let go because it’s heavy.”

These people would look to the external world as their locus of control yet many of these people feel more bliss and happiness, in my opinion. What’s your thoughts on religious ideologies that promote less control and dependence on God?

21 KierO February 25, 2013 at 11:01 am

There is no one in the world that can get my back up more than my mother.

If she phones me with a problem (which she often does) but happens to be in a bad mood, then I am almost always gonna be in a bad mood very soon.

The other day, I asked her to describe the problem to me in more detail. She got annoyed with me an hung up. Then I realised something…It was the way I was speaking to her. My wife has pulled me up for talking to her in the same way.

I was being patronising. I don’t do it with the people I work with, even if they are being vague. So I phone her back and fessed up, and apologised. Instantly she was calmer and apologised for hanging up on me.

Normal circumstances means we wouldn’t have spoken to each other for the next few days.

I’m glad that I was able to see what I had done and take responsibility for it.

22 ARP February 25, 2013 at 1:58 pm

What do you think is the causes of the increasing narcissism? It seems as if parents are projecting their own inability to admit their mistakes (i.e. they weren’t a perfect parent) when it comes to raising their kids. Therefore, they’ll complain about a teaching giving bad grade, rather than talking to the child, say their child has a learning disability, autism, etc.when they may not in order to “externalize” the issue (i.e. it’s not my fault, my child has X disease, the teacher is bad, etc.). But kids see this behavior by their parents, and hear about how smart they are despite some objective measures that say they are not, When they grow up, they are unable to accept their own mistakes.

23 Don't worry about it. March 2, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Like Matt, I too as a young child was told I was really smart, and really talented all the time by my teachers, parents, and friends. I figured I must be since everyone keeps saying that. It made high school a struggle for me. I got way too upset when I didn’t know something or couldn’t figure it out on my own. I felt stupid and pressured to get everything right. I had to really humble myself and admit, I need help sometimes, I don’t know all the answers, but no one knows everything. Also I see what ARP is talking about too. Lots of parents blame everyone and everything except themselves when their child has a problem.

24 Jay March 3, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Great article. And I gotta say, AofM is hands down my favorite site on the web. From the honest and well-researched articles to the honest and well-thought out comments…thank you guys for making this site so meaningful.

25 Skweekah March 17, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Another great motivational. Im gonna print this one out, read it, re-read it, read it again, and then again.
Cheers for writing this.
Skweekah

26 Sean October 22, 2013 at 2:34 am

While reading this article I was reminded of a lesson I learned from my grandfather and has been proven throughout the years.

Do what scares you most in any situation because that is usually the right thing to do.

Owning up to mistakes requires you to face your problem head-on, much like we are forced to face difficult situations head-on in order to solve them.

Cheers,

Sean

27 Pacita Castro December 4, 2013 at 12:37 am

Nice article… admitting mistake is just one among many life’ challenges”Horror” that almost all people find it very difficult to conquer. not knowing the LIFE”S VICTORY when conquered.

28 Lisa January 24, 2014 at 12:33 pm

I’m so extremely grateful for this article; women do this, too (and I know because I am one). It was just what I needed today. Thank you.

29 Emma February 25, 2014 at 12:20 am

This article is stellar. Men and women should read this. This gave me a lot to think about. Loved the point about the perception in America as opposed to Japan about intelligence. Finally learning it is ok to make and admit mistakes: all part of learning and maturing into an adult.

30 MiMi March 4, 2014 at 5:17 pm

I don’t know how to “own Up”. I have apologized, explained my mistakes, faults, failures as a mother or family member, things that happened 15, 20, 30,years ago. I truly can’t remember every detail. If these people get upset with me, the past comes up. The apologizes never seen to help. “Own UP’, I hear. Please help me find the words.

31 MiMi March 4, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Great site. :)

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Site Meter