Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Getting the short end of the stick

Something Raiders DB DeAngelo Hall said after Oakland's home loss the other night to Denver should throw up some red flags for the Raiders staff.

Here was Hall's response to getting flagged for two consecutive unecessary roughness penalties:

"I just think they were bad calls.  It seems like I always get the short end of the stick."

Unless Hall is honest with himself and objectively examines what happened on these plays, it's likely he'll get called for this again.

But it's more than that.  By suggesting that external factors (e.g., the officials or bad luck) are the cause for his failures and the failures of his team, he gives up all control in terms of acheiving his goals for the season (and beyond).  

How can we work through our plan for the season if we're not in control?

Of course, we can't control everything.  It's one reason John Wooden used to tell his players to focus on effort rather than winning.  We have total control over our effort.  And an excellent effort typically produces a win.

This author has a good take on why taking responsibility for our actions is so critical:

"We all like to feel important and have others have a high opinion of us. Some more than others develop an over-inflated view of themselves. These tendencies act to wrap us in what many call 'denial,' which creates a false perception of self and the inability to accept the truth about us. 

It then becomes painful to accept that mistakes are possible and when they do occur the first reaction is to point the finger at someone else. We refuse to think objectively and accept any involvement for our actions.

The inability to accept responsibility for our actions and behaviors is a result of insecurity. By accepting responsibility one feels they are admitting to being weak, powerless, or an opportunity to lose the respect of others. It may cause one to feel they will lose their sense of value and importance.

On the contrary, accepting responsibility earns you respect. We can't be perfect all the time, we all make mistakes. When we accept responsibility we are accepting the blame for our actions and also accepting the responsibility for making improvements in our lives. 

Accepting responsibility is a measure of one's self-worth, their level of security, and the true sign of strength and courage. It will empower you to grow in ways that would bring you great rewards and accomplishments in your life.

Who would you have greater respect for, a person who takes responsibility for his/her actions, owns up to it and promises to do better in the future, or someone who perpetually denies any involvement in situations when it's obvious they may be responsible? 

Accepting responsibility is a sign of personal growth and maturity.  When taking responsibility for your actions is difficult to accept, you experience frequent feelings of insecurity. These insecurities can trigger doubt about your own abilities, which undermines your self-confidence. 

In this state of mind you have a high need to be right at all times to compensate for what you feel you are lacking. You defend your every action, right or wrong. It compounds the already existing problem of being unable to accept personal responsibility and reinforces this behavior even more."