Everything is My Fault

Macro photograph of the Hell Yeah or No book cover

On the heels of reading my first two "normal" books of the year, I spent the last week chewing through a small yet juicy group of books about artistic / personal progress. I'm two-thirds of the way through the fifth in this group and I just read a page that shined a spotlight on something I've been making an effort to do over the last number of years. The book is "Hell Yeah or No" by Derek Sivers. The essay is short enough to paste in its entirety, so read it below. This is such a powerful concept because it goes against every human instinct, but is one of the most liberating and constructive things you could ever do for yourself.

My review of implementing this philosophy today and using it forever: "⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ - Would Recommend."

I used to get mad at people. They lied. They betrayed me. They disappeared.

Do you hear the pattern? “They this. They that.”

When someone upsets you, it’s human nature to feel it’s their fault. But one day I tried thinking of everything as my fault.

I created the environment that made them feel they had to lie. I mistook their neutral behavior as betrayal. I made it more appealing for them to disappear than to communicate.

It felt so good to think it was all my fault!

This is way better than forgiving. When you forgive, you’re still assuming that they’re wrong and you’re the victim.

But to decide it’s your fault feels amazing! Now you weren’t wronged. People were just playing their part in the situation you helped create.

What power! Now you’re the person who made things happen, made a mistake, and can learn from it. Now you’re in control and there’s nothing to complain about.

This philosophy feels so good that I’ve playfully decided to apply this rule to the rest of my life. As soon as I catch myself blaming anyone for anything, I decide it’s my fault.

• The guy who ran away with my investment? My fault. I should have verified his claims.

• The love of my life who suddenly dumped me? My fault. I let our relationship plateau.

• Don’t like my government? My fault. I could get involved and change it.

Doesn’t that feel more powerful? Try it. Maybe instead of “fault” you prefer the word “responsibility,” but the idea is the same. Think of every bad thing > that happened to you, and imagine that you happened to it.

Here's a link to the essay (he has an audio version as well).