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How to Fix What’s Wrong With America and Americans

The RICochet Solution

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To ricochet is what happens when a shot or hit rebounds off a surface.

To me, RICochet means something else.  It means emphasizing RIC, where R = Remorse, I = Introspection and C = Curiosity.

Why are these so important?

Remorse

You can’t be truly remorseful and either make excuses or justify your having hurt someone else either intentionally or unintentionally. Remorse is not the same as regret.

After you have hurt or injured someone, regret can appear empty, hollow and even insulting and doesn’t feel as if you as the injuring party are taking full responsibility for your actions that resulted in what you did to someone else. It feels at times dismissive and that you saying, “Okay, I get it. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again. Can we just move on?”

Remorse communicates that it causes you pain that you caused others pain. Remorse is not just about saying you’re sorry, but also about saying you were wrong. And admitting you were wrong is painful because it causes you to feel not just guilt, but shame.

That is what is necessary for the people you’ve hurt to believe you won’t hurt them again, namely because you don’t want to feel the pain – and shame – again of hurting them.

Sadly, people are often instructed by legal counsel to not say they are wrong, because of the worry that the hurt party will come after you for damages.

Introspection

You can’t be introspective and blame others at the same time.

Introspection involves stopping and looking into yourself to become aware of your contribution to any of the problems you find yourself in and also being willing to own your responsibility for your part in causing those problems.

People are usually not introspective until they have experienced a problem, but then instead of pointing the finger at others, they look into themselves for their part in causing them and then solving them.

Curiosity

As my late and missed friend, Larry King, has said, “You can’t be curious and furious at the same time.”

I think he meant that curiosity is seeking to understand something and is more of a sensory receptive (i.e. taking it in) experience in that you notice something, and then you become curious to know more about it. 

For instance, consider when someone does something that hurts or upsets you. Instead of becoming angry or even “furious” at them which is a motor and reactive function at them (i.e. becoming angry or hostile), you instead become curious about why they did what they did.

Furthermore, instead of reacting angrily towards them, you ask them, “What was that (their hurtful behavior) all about?”

What do Remorse, Introspection and Curiosity have to do with America and Americans?

Currently America and Americans tend to reject taking personal responsibility for their actions instead of taking responsibility and being remorseful. They also tend to react to problems by blaming others and making it those other people’s faults (and responsibility to fix) instead of pausing and being introspective about how they themselves are contributing to those problems. Finally, it is all too easy for Americans to become angry and furious at others instead of curious as what drives others to act the way they do.

If each day Americans would become remorseful instead of making excuses, introspective instead of blaming and curious instead of furious, we could fix what’s wrong with America quickly.

And finally, why the word, “ricochet?”

America and Americans weren’t always so reactive, so remorseless, so non-introspective and so, to quote pilot hero, “Sully” Sullenberger, “incurious.”

If we could rebound back to living and embodying the values and attributes of remorse, introspection and curiosity it would not only change America, but would change all of our  relationships with each other for the better as well.

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