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Block function


Great post, Wade. Good in every domain of life - and especially cogent coming from someone we know has had a lot of time to cogitate on these matters, and for whom good mental hygiene is surely of critical importance.

I have a little quatrain from one of my songs that I often quote cryptically when the situation warrants (as it frequently does). Some people stare at me like I'm an idiot; others negotiate the conundrum and learn it as a practical koan. A few have printed it out and posted it over their desks. I make no claims that it has any real value, but the principles of the 4 agreements popped it into my head.

Everything's broken,
Everything's fine.
Most people do their best
Most of the time.

In my dayjob I'm frequently party to discussions among people in different departments of newspapers and other publishing operations, generally dealing with workflow between steps of the process, and peoples' responsibilities, and how well it all works. I find people are obsessed with laying blame. To calm those (sometimes heated) discussions, my mantra is always there's no blaming, there's only fixing.

The intention is take the pressure of failure off anyone who may have screwed up - while deflating any self-righteous tendency to gloat on the part of someone who may not have. Then together we can focus on the process, and fix it if it needs fixing: simplify it, re-think it, make a better checklist, reinforce the steps in the process for everyone. All the energy that might have gone into finger-pointing (backwards, into the unfixable past) goes into the fix.


Thanks Tim, I really like your quatrain, it's a goodun. I've used your "no blame" technique often in similar situations. I have another little life hack that has served me well. It's the term "Luxury Inconvenience", and is worth sharing.

Like many soldiers, I was witness to how much of the world lives, in comparison to the American culture and way of life. We live in a land of plenty, and even the poorest segments of our society, live a better lifestyle than most of the people in 3rd world nations.

Whenever I have some sort of problem, with a material item, such as my house, my car, or a guitar, I try to imagine how many people in the world would desperately want to to trade problem sets with me. Repairs to material items are not problems, they are simply Luxury Inconveniences.

My brand new, and supposedly Plek'ed Gibson Les Paul, was choking out on several frets, during high E string bends. Also the bone nut that Sweetwater installed, was cut way too low and had open string buzz on on the low E and A strings. While it was definitely disappointing, it was a certainly fixable Luxury Inconvenience.

I took the guitar to Precision Guitar Works, in Phoenix, and dropped it off for a fret level crown and polish, a new bone nut and a complete setup. The tech who took the guitar in, commented that he was surprised that I wasn't acting upset about getting a brand new guitar that had $200 in issues. Simply put, it was a Luxury Inconvenience, and didn't demand acting out over.

My story ended up with a happy ending when I contacted Sweetwater about the problems. Ryan in repairs offered to reimburse me for the tune up, and I graciously accepted.


Good term. We do live like royalty by comparison to the global mean.


"there's no blaming, there's only fixing."

In my job, this applies.

Apparently, it does in hospitals, too.

Two years ago I got a MSRA infection which started in my elbow. The doctors and nurses weren't concerned whether it was a spider bite or whatever else causes this, their only concern was curing the infection. If they had spent time investigating who the culprit was, I'd be dead.


If they had spent time investigating who the culprit was, I'd be dead.

And that's a pretty stark statement of the principle.

There are times when, after any fixing is done, it's necessary to go back and either assess blame (if there are legal issues of fault involved) or to minutely dissect what went wrong in order to understand how to fix/prevent it in the future.

But the fixing is the priority.

It's a natural instinct to get defensive and go forth looking for culprits, but it's much more productive when that emotional energy is redirected toward the moment, the fix, and the future.


Well, I'M glad to see a post from Strum,even if we disagreed on just about everything we dialogued about.Hope he'll hang his hat hereabouts more!


I saw a post recently on Facebook that has stuck with me.

Anger is punishment we give ourselves for others' failures.

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