Don’t Blame, Fix the Problem

A few weeks ago I was reading a very interesting article about a pharmaceutical plant that was awarded the 2009 Facility of the Year Overall Award by the Pharmaceutical Engineering Magazine.  The impressive thing about this plant was that it was built in a constrained area within a dense city, and the project was finished before the scheduled deadline, within budget, and with no major complications!  The planning and execution for this plant to be built was worthy of praise, and as such it was being featured in the magazine.  Although many factors contributed to this successful project, there was a very particular philosophy that the managers maintained, “No blame, fix the problem.”  If there is a problem, look for a solution rather than finding someone to blame for it.  Applying this philosophy to our life problems would allow you to improve things, see the silver lining in a situation, rather than get stuck in a cycle of negativity.

Although many would hear this and immediately agree that it’s a good philosophy to follow, very few have the courage to apply this to their own lives on a constant basis.  Why do I say courage?

Each time we are faced with a difficult situation, we have two ways to look at it.  We can try to avoid it or dissociate ourselves from the situation, or we can fix the problem.  Sometimes we just disregard it as non-important in our efforts to keep ourselves from facing the problem at all.  Will this get you anywhere?  Say you had money problems, which is a very common problem these days, what do you do?

We can blame the economy, God, Obama or even Bush, or many others for our money issues, but the fact is that blaming them solves absolutely none of your problems.  This approach can make you feel better temporarily, but it hinders your creativity and will stop you from finding a good, tangible solution to your problem. Instead of blaming, focus your energy on fixing the problem, something that will be to your benefit.

What decision do you usually make?  Are you the person that somehow is pulling through challenges, doing everything you can to keep moving forward, or are you the one that falls into the trap of blaming, mentioning how life is not fair at every step?  If this person is you, write down on a piece of paper the benefits & harm you are causing for yourself because of your mindset.  I’m sure you will soon find out something to improve, a problem to fix.

Don’t blame anyone for the problems you find that need to be fixed, whatever it is, just find a solution.  Focusing your energies in solving problems will lead you to have a more fulfilling life, cause in the end, no one feels genuinely better after complaining about an issue.  Having fixed the problem, however, will help you move on with your life to bigger and better things.  Would you postpone that simply to complain?

Be conscious of your daily actions, study what things you do out of habit.  Sometimes we just blame our parents for how we behave because we are used to hearing that parents are responsible for their children’s behavior.  Then we blame junk food for our health problems, because obviously it’s their fault for making unhealthy food so attractive.  Be more critical with yourself, and find solutions. With some effort, many of your problems can be solved, and the weight of such problems will be lifted from your shoulders.

7 thoughts on “Don’t Blame, Fix the Problem

  1. Very good point indeed, Omar. Thanks for pointing it out. It is often frustrating to be caught in the drama of whose fault some problem is (not that I don't find myself in that position on an uncomfortably regular basis, mind you). Way more productive to find a solution and move along.


  2. Fantastic post, Omar! You've hit on two really important themes from the Positive Psychology literature. The first is a personality construct relating to the perceived locus of responsibility and control. There is evidence that successful people believe they are responsible for the circumstances of their lives – as you say, “no blame”. The second relates to having a solution-focus or your “fix the problem”. Again, there is evidence that reframing problems as solutions can yield success. Setting goals and focusing on solutions leads to conscious (and subconscious) development of task-strategies.(Sorry to nerd up your blog, but I've been doing a ton of research for my Online Coaching dissertation!)I really enjoyed your post, and I'll be signing up for future updates.


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