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Aug 14

Chris Smeaton

Blame, Complain or Find a Solution

The next time you are in a conversation about something that isn’t quite right, ask yourself if you are blaming, complaining or trying to find a solution. While we would like to believe that we operate in the “glass half full” mentality, we may be surprised at how often we exude negativity. Finger pointing in our world is becoming more commonplace. Because (in part) of a lack of personal and system accountability, blaming and complaining flourishes in our world. We’ve adopted a learned helplessness approach to life.

It saddens me knowing that in many ways education and educators have been seduced into this way of thought as well. Rather than rise above and lead society, we too have become comfortable with the “if only” statement. If only we had more money, or time, or better professional development or better students. The list can become endless! While I fully understand there are issues in education, I’m confident that consistently blaming or complaining is not going to make those issues go away.

In trying to find a solution we are forced to move from perceptions to reality. A great example of this comes from a study by Douglas Reeves. In his book, “From Leading to Succeeding” Reeves asked teachers about their perceptions on decision making. The perception was that teacher discretion and collaborative decision making accounted for only 26% of the decision making, the actual was 73%. Almost 50% of teachers were misguided in their perceptions leading I’m sure, to an environment of both blame and complaint. This is not a singular poke at teachers because I believe the results would be similar to school and system leaders. In fact, the difference between perception and reality would be similar throughout many elements in our world.

Unfortunately the blame/complain world impacts our own efficacy. Efficacy is our own belief that we can make and do make a difference. While there will always be things beyond our control, trying to find a solution works with what we can control. It instills personal accountability onto our own self. We all need to be more accountable and as illustrated in the Serenity Prayer.

GrantMeTheSerenity1b

Trying to find a solution requires us to inherit a growth mindset and be change accepting.

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” Albert Einstein

Education has such great potential to create the world we want to live in but it will always begin with one seeking to find a solution. As you begin this new school year, I would ask that you always try to find a solution, be open to possibilities and look for opportunities. Making excuses, casting blame or simply complaining just solidifies the problem. Change, what the world really needs requires us to begin by each of us being solution focused. We are the change!

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama

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