Over the weekend P had two soccer matches. I watched the first on which his team played great and won. I didn't watch the second one in which the referee was so biased he made them lose 3 to 1... Or so P says. I wasn't there, so I don't really know. Still, I spoke with the kids about not blaming external factors for their failures. Even if those factors are true, it is usually better to focus on the things we could have done better. Why? Well, for one, we might learn something and do better in the future when faced again with a bad referee. But also we avoid coming across as "sore losers". We cause a better impression on others when we show humility and openness to learning than when we blame others for everything and don't acknowledge ant faults on our end.
P said the problem with my suggestion was that people would think we were bad (soccer players). I answered that most people can assess how good or bad we are without our explanations as to why things went the way they did. Our explanations have a much bigger impact on people assessments of our character than our skills. P insisted that wasn't always the case. For example, what if I am interviewing a candidate for a job and he blames himself for a past problem. Wouldn't I think he was weak and not hire him? I explained that before hiring people I do reference checks, and that a candidate who blames external factors for something he had responsibility for wont do well once I check his story... On the other hand. someone who shows me he has learned and improved will do much better.