Character Chats

Handling Blame With Optimism

How do we deal with blame and accountability and still be optimistic?

How do we deal with blame and accountability and still be optimistic?

Here at True Balance Karate, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H, owner and chief instructor here at the studio, and we have developed this curriculum to best meet the needs of all of our students from as young as three and as old as 84. And this month we’re talking about optimism.

Earlier we talked about the difference between optimism and pessimism. And then last time we talked about dealing with challenges and how everybody faces them.

Recovering From Mistakes

How do we still look on the bright side? How do we remain optimistic that way? And today we were talking about optimism and mistakes because we are all going to make mistakes.

And I moved our video over here so that you guys can see this poster. So I’m going to pull it closer because as part of optimism, mistakes are expected. They’re going to happen. We are going to make a mistake, we are going to spill juice, we are going to drop something, we are going to make a mess.

It needs to be respected. We need to see what it is that we did and learn from them. That would be the inspected side of things.

And then we work to correct it. We work to make it better. That’s part of the accountability. The part of using words like, I’m sorry, that helps us with our mistakes along the way.

So as we are talking about handling blame and mistakes and optimism and those kinds of things, we need to remember that we all make those mistakes. We all will mess up. We all are going to have a moment where things don’t quite go the way they should.

Staying Positive

And what do we do with that at that moment in time? How do we remain optimistic, and look on the bright side? That is the important part. And by recognizing it, it’s a really important thing.

So let’s take for example, the one I gave earlier. Juice is spilled, we were pouring juice into a cup and the cup gets knocked over and then it happens. Do we immediately blame somebody near us? It wasn’t me, it was the dog. Because I don’t spill juice, I don’t do that. Or do we take a more optimistic approach, own up to it, apologize for it, and learn from it?

That is the more positive way to do it because when we learn from it, we grow. When we learn from it, we can do better next time. When we learn from it, we can work towards the challenges and overcome them.


So maybe I was too little to pour juice at that moment in time, but I’m stronger and I know what I did wrong and how I can better pour the juice next time. So as we’re working towards this, we want to make sure that whatever it is that we have difficulty doing, whatever mistake we have made, that we own it and we learn from it.

And if that means that we have to have a conversation with someone about it, then we have a conversation. But we want to make sure that we’re looking on the bright side. We’re not pointing fingers, we’re not blaming others, we’re not thinking that we are perfect because no one is.

Instead, we are expecting mistakes because that’s how we learn. We respect that they happen, we inspect them so that we learn from them and we grow from them. And then we make those corrections so that they don’t happen next time.

Maybe it’s part of the spilling of the juice, instead of it being on the counter, I actually need to put it on the table because it’s lower to the ground and then I can better take care of it and do what I need to do. Instead of spilling the water, maybe I was filling the dog’s dish and I filled it too high with the water, I fill it halfway instead. Or I get a cup from the counter and I put it in the sink and I bring cups of water over there.

Either way, we want to problem-solve, we want to think outside the box and we want to make sure that we’re looking on the bright side. We want to make sure we include things like, hey, thanks for helping, I know that was hard. It’s okay that you made a mistake. We want to acknowledge the hard work that went into the mistake as much as we want to acknowledge the growth from the mistake.

And so as we continue through this journey of optimism, we want to make sure we’re always looking on the bright side.

Thanks, and I’ll see you on the mat!


True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here