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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fix the Problem, Not the Blame

I've been fortunate enough to hang around with some "Hollywood types."

Contrary to the cliched image of a bunch of shallow, self-centered misfits, I found that the creative community was incredibly deep, soul-searching, and wise.

For example, I used to hang around with a movie director, a guy who graduated from London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, directed Sophia Loren, worked with George Harrison as producer, and brought an Emmy-nominated production of a William Faulkner story to TV.

No slouch.

But I knew him as the father of one of my all-time favorite students, a great guy to hang around with in his Ojai house, and the source of numerous delightful bon mots. One of these was the repeated phrase: "Shame, Blame, and Regret."

This mantra was sort of like Buddhism's Three Poisons, a trio of mental dangers to be wary of.

I was reminded of this last week when I heard Sean Connery's character quote an (alleged) Japanese proverb in Rising Sun: "Fix the problem, not the blame."

Simple, clear, and incredibly to the point. We waste so much time trying to fix blame that we never get to the problem.

Whatever it is, get past "whodunit" and move on to how to solve the problem.

You'll be happier.

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