The Devil Made Me Do It

From the very beginning of creation, we have been blaming others for our own actions.

The devil convinced Eve to eat the apple.  Eve convinced Adam it was good and he ate.

God asked Adam if he ate of the forbidden tree.  Adam said “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.” (Adam had guts – even blamed God for giving him the woman!)

God asked Eve what she had done.  Eve said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

That’s where we got ‘The devil made me do it’.  (And you thought it was Flip Wilson!)

IMG_0441We aren’t very consistent with our blame game though.

We blame the gun in a shooting, but we don’t blame the car in a fatal accident.

Politicians blame the other party for not getting anything done and then participate in a sit-in protest not getting anything done.

I wonder what happened to responsibility?

Responsibility for our actions, responsibility for our words.

Every day there is another example of saying things that incite riots and violence – Ferguson, Baltimore, Dallas.

It seems with every new situation there is someone stepping to a microphone to vilify a business, a race, or a political party.

Frankly, I’m tired of it!

What happened to responsibility?  What happened to leadership?

Responsibility and leadership are about others.

Blame is about power – and not the good kind.

Recently, I was listening to an episode of Jeff Brown’s podcast Read To Lead where he was interviewing Seth Godin.  Jeff asked him what he would fix in the world:

“I would like the people who work to tear down our culture and to tear down our society, to take responsibility and to own what they are choosing to do with their time and with their words and their weapons.

It’s so easy to blame the other guy and deny that it’s your responsibility when you act in a certain way, whether you are a freedom-fighter or a lawyer or something in between.  You need to own your actions.

Unfortunately, the combination of media and politics and commerce makes it too easy to say ‘I was just doing my job, I was just following orders’.

And I hope we can get ever closer to a place where people say ‘Yeah, I did that and I take responsibility’.  Because if they do say that I believe we will all end up acting better.”

It’s time we had real leaders step up, take responsibility for their words and their actions.  That’s real strength. Blaming others is weakness.

It can be scary to be responsible, I know from experience.  But the integrity and credibility to end up with is worth it.

So, I’m calling for a new set of leaders.  If you’re going to say it – own it and be prepared for the responsibility of the result.  If you’re going to do it – accept the consequences.

If you want to stand out in today’s world, be a responsible leader.


Leave a comment if you are through with the blame game and want to be a responsible, principled leader.  We need you.  We’ll do it together.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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