A big problem that a lot of people have, is living with a self-serving bias. Basically, all your successes are yours to keep and take credit for. But your failures? No, that was some outside force that ruined my chances. The scenario changed. It wasn’t my fault.
I haven’t dealt with this bias too much myself – or so I let myself believe – but I have seen the damage it has done to other people. It can be a defense mechanism in certain situations, embedded in an individuals personality.
According to them they didn’t screw up, they got screwed over.
Failure Can Be Blamed Just As Easily As Success
If you let yourself believe the reason for your failure is an outside force, you won’t be able to better yourself and learn from your failures. If you don’t think your mistakes are your mistakes, what does that teach you?
It can be hard. Admitting you screwed up. But blaming someone else for not fully explaining something instead of you not fully understanding, just puts you at a disadvantage.
Learning is always filled with mistakes.
Think of an attempt toward something you wanted to accomplish that you took that didn’t lead to the outcome you expected, so you tried again and changed the circumstances.
You don’t try it a few times and say the game is rigged. How is blaming the game going to get you any further?
Understanding that our failures are our own is what we are supposed to do. It’s not a social norm that some people choose not to follow. It’s not an argument about morals in which some people might not see it that way. It IS that way.
Sure not all of your failures are going to be on you. Sometimes there are chances taken that you don’t have control over. You still took the chance so you should have still planned against the chance just in case.
You’re not always doing everything right, but that doesn’t mean when you had a failure you did something wrong. This might sound conflicting to what I am saying, but meet me in the middle.
It’s varying circumstance. So that doesn’t mean that one hundred percent of the time, it should be blamed on the circumstance. Understand when it was the circumstance, and when it was you.
Your Success Could Just As Easily Been By Chance
I’m not saying this to put a downer on anyone that has had successes they are proud of.
If you’ve been following what I’ve been saying, this should appear consistent.
Think about it like this. That one post you had online, the one that got shared by a ton of people and did a lot for you, might just be chance.
What if those first few people that started sharing your post didn’t share it? You can’t force them to share so it’s by chance that they did.
Now look at it the other way. You had a really good post, it went nowhere because no one was sharing it. Is that a failure on you? Again, not necessarily. You can’t control what you want to happen in every scenario.
So for the scenarios that you can’t control, don’t blame yourself. It’s all about understanding the self-serving bias.
You need to know when exactly it was your fault and when it wasn’t.
Don’t Look For Something To Blame Unless It’s Apparent
Most of what the self-serving bias consists of is when an individual encounters a failure and immediately needs something to blame.
Unless it’s extremely apparent, like you couldn’t have prevented a moment from occurring because you didn’t have time to react fast enough, then don’t look for an excuse.
Looking for a way out is just as much a failure as the actual previous failure. Don’t pile on reasons for why something didn’t work out the way you wanted, and instead think about what you should try next.
Have the mindful awareness inside yourself and keep looking at the scenario and determine what was your fault, and what wasn’t.
Give yourself some self-compassion and let yourself en-dour the failure. It isn’t uncommon to have a failure, not at all. Sure you might be ashamed of a failure, but accept what happened.
And if you still need help ridding yourself of the self-serving bias, ask someone to judge your actions, motives, and intentions to see what is blamable and what isn’t.