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Action without recrimination
One thing that has struck me in recent years is the idea that for society to work well depends on everyone adopting a level of responsibility that is probably above most people’s comfort zone.
Having read about the concept of Extreme Ownership that comes out of the Navy Seal training (see Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin) I’ve tried to adopt the principle in my daily life. The idea is simple, take ownership for any and all situations you find yourself in, no shying away, no blaming and pointing fingers if it goes wrong.
Bizarrely, I find it both difficult and easy to do at the same time. Easy, because people are always happy to work with you if you show a positive attitude. Hard, because I’m no natural leader, so I do have to put little reminders around my desk to keep me on my toes.
In some ways, this is a positively anti-mimetic thing to do. The lack of assigning blame, in particular, when things go awry, is very important, as scapegoating is a key aspect of mimetic theory. No-one ever wants to accept the responsibility for a mass-madness of mimickery that’s gone pear-shaped, so a scapegoat is selected to become the conduit for the built-up tension and guilt.
But if everyone takes a bit more responsibility, there’s no need to start looking for a scapegoat, as everyone is acting authentically, and not mindlessly mimicking everyone else’s desires. And if it fails, they take it on the chin and try again.
Want to do something great? Take responsibility for it.