Can you imagine how much more productive and efficient you would be if you were just complaining less than normal. The average person complains between 20-25 times per day. I bet you have never noticed how many times you have actually complained in the last 24 hours (sleeping time is not counted).
So why do we all do it? – Instead of taking responsibility, it’s an easy way out. It’s a short term cure (excuse) of the moment.
It is easy to get other people to agree with us when we complain about something, because everyone is willing to share their excuses as to why they have not reached where they want to be, and how they have been hard done by life. “I am overworked and underpaid”. “I deserve more out of life”, “I always end up with the short-end of the stick”, “I don’t have enough time”, “I don’t have enough money”.
Can you imagine how life would be if everybody was complaining less than average? But let’s take one step at a time and let’s start the first step by reducing the amount of times “you” complain. Imagine how much happier you would be if you simply stopped whining. Most of what you complain about is out of your control anyway.
So start by writing down your everyday complaints.
When you wake up in the morning, go ahead with your usual tasks, but the minute you have had your coffee and your brain has ignited and is ready to start complaining, and your mouth has been refreshed with toothpaste and mouthwash again ready for those complaining words to come out – grab your little notebook.
Like trying to cut back on your daily spending by writing down every cent you spend, I want you to write down every complaint that you come across whether it is still in your head or it has just been verbalized. Simply becoming conscious of how much you complain is the first step to stopping. When you realize that you are complaining, stop and take a note of it in your little notebook.
The second step is to ask yourself whether you have control over your complaint. Like I mentioned before, sometimes the situation is out of our reach, giving our complaint the benefit of the doubt, but in most cases our complaint can be totally controlled by ourselves.
If there is nothing you can do about it, then just let it go, don’t waste any more time on it as time is the most valuable thing in the world. Now if the complaint is within your reach, and most of the times it is, now is the time to act, your target remember; complaining less than normal.
What you have to do now is change your attitude and behavior. Change the angle at which you look at your complaint, and offer possible solutions to your own complaint and write them down in your notebook, titled as “Solution”. The irony of this is that we almost always have a solution, but we tend to complain anyway. Tackle your solution with questions like
1. How can I avoid this in the future.
2. What can I do instead, so in the future I will be at least, complaining less about the same situation.
3. What do I need to change about myself.
4. Who else do I need to speak to tackle this situation.
5. What else do I want – what is the alternative of the complaint.
And last but not least . . .
6. What am I grateful for?
Instead of complaining for example, that after a hard day at work, when coming home, my wife has not cooked my favorite food, then write down next to the solution, “I am grateful that my wife has cooked for me, and that I have food on my table whereas many do not have this luxury of having a roof over their head, and having something to eat”. You see how gratification has worked its way into a solution.
If you can stop for a second and think of all the things we should be grateful for, then I can assure you that your complaints will be reduced tremendously. And as a bonus, when writing down your solution in your notebook, you not only solve your complaint, but you have also taken responsibility which in turn has helped to grow your self esteem.
A win win situation.
“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.” – Dale Carnegie
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