Getty Images
By Eric Barker
October 27, 2014
IDEAS
Barker is the author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Trick question. Don’t blame. It makes you less able to deal with the problems of life.

Via The Blame Game: How the Hidden Rules of Credit and Blame Determine Our Success or Failure:

Blaming others can actually make you physically ill. And it makes you miserable:

Blaming external factors is even bad for corporations.

Via The Blame Game: How the Hidden Rules of Credit and Blame Determine Our Success or Failure:

And, sadly, blaming is contagious.

Stop Blaming Yourself

Yes, you want to learn from mistakes but turns out punishing yourself has a lot of negative consequences. Forgiving yourself can help you reduce procrastination, increase creativity, and, ironically, even increase self-control.

Via The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It:

Forgiveness, not guilt, increases accountability.

Via The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It:

Resisting blame makes you more productive and happier.

Via The Winner’s Brain: 8 Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success:

How can we resist the urge to blame?

When you want to blame yourself, try to find a benefit in the failure.

Via The Winner’s Brain: 8 Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success:

Learn from it and move on. Experts don’t waste time with blame. They see what they’re doing wrong and use it as information to improve. Via The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How:

Admitting error and using it to get better is a sign of a great team.

Via The Blame Game: How the Hidden Rules of Credit and Blame Determine Our Success or Failure:

What surprised Edmondson and her fellow researchers was thatthe most cohesive and best-led medical teams and institutions actually reported more errors than their counterparts… the higher-functioning teams were more willing to disclose their errors and, therefore, to learn from and avoid repeating them.

What about when you want to blame others?

We blame the victim because we want to believe the world is fair and just. It’s too depressing to think otherwise, right? When we see terrible things happen to innocent people, it’s much easier to believe that it’s the person’s fault than to radically shift our worldview.

Consider that the situation might have been caused by their circumstances, not their personality. Is someone angry and freaking out at you? Assume they are having a bad day, not that they are a bad person.

Our brains naturally tend to assume things are deliberate. When you act badly you say it’s because of a mood; when others do the same you say it’s because they’re rotten to the core. Give others the same benefit of the doubt you give yourself.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Join 45K+ readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

Read More From TIME

EDIT POST