Manly Qualities: Accountability

Excuses, Excuses – I’d Rather Not Hear Anything

Earlier this week, I had an argument with an acquaintance of mine who neglected to settle a six-month-long financial debt. After exchanging countless texts like a couple of teenagers, she admitted she was wrong and would finally cough up the dough (here’s hoping). This was, of course, after hearing every available excuse in the book.

Fortunately, this delay hasn’t created a life-or-death situation for me… but I was still angry. I was frustrated about the number of excuses (lies) I had heard throughout these past six months. I was frustrated that, even though every ounce of common sense in my body knew that her lies were merely sympathy-inducing excuses, that I couldn’t exactly call her on it. I was angry at myself for believing she would pay up as she offered excuse after excuse. But more than anything, I was angry at the fact that so many people today are so devoid of any sense of accountability.

Key word: accountability. What happened to the days when a handshake was binding? What happened to the days when a man’s word was his bond? We have become a population of my-texts-didn’t-get-through, I-didn’t-know-we-had-to-do-that, and there-was-a-long-line-at-Starbucks. Our errors are disguised with weak justifications and, so often, could be prevented by taking a proactive approach. To err may be human, but now, somehow, the simple act of taking responsibility for your actions has become extraordinary. This being said, it must also be mentioned that there is both a correct way and an incorrect way of recognizing one’s faulty actions. I would particularly like to raise awareness of the non-apology apology so often seen with politicians, athletes, and other people who say offensive comments. For example, the phrase “I’m sorry you feel that way” is very different than “I’m sorry I offended you.” Notice the difference.

I have never heard anybody complain about a man who was doing everything in his power to set something aright. In fact, I hear nothing but praise for people who are at least looking for ways in which to fix a situation or remedy a negative condition. It is all about self-improvement. Be a man and recognize your faults the right way and with the right words. Even if it isn’t at the right time, owning up and taking responsibility shows character.

One thing I learned from group dynamics in school and in my career is that there is always that one person who excels in blaming others; you can always count on him or her to have a pre-fabricated excuse as to why they failed. I have also sat in meetings, though, in which one of the attendees boldly says “That was completely my fault, I have no excuse for it, and I’ll do it better next time.” The honesty was beautiful and appreciated.

Let’s admit it. We have all, at some point or another, pointed the finger of blame to someone or something else when we clearly knew that we could have done something to avoid the problem. I call on you to be better than that from now on. Let’s be men who add accountability to our character resumes. I certainly learned something from this week’s debt debacle. Regardless of whether or not I ever see that money again, I am a better man for this experience because it has been yet another reminder to not be that way myself.

With Manly regards,

[email protected] (Mandependence Guest Writer)

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