One of the biggest, most empowering things I ever learned was how to turn complaining into actions.
It's very straightforward. Not always easy, but very straightforward.
After complaining, you add, "Okay, so what am I going to do about this?"
It seems so simple, but it might change your life. A friend of mine, really smart guy, was complaining about the political leadership of the United States. I agreed with his points completely, and he and I had a pretty good rant about some things that are screwed up.
We stopped to catch a breath. Then I asked, "Okay. So what are we going to do about it?"
It hadn't occurred to him that we - the two of us - could change things. Well, why not? There's lots of barely-competent totally-dishonorable knuckleheads in politics, so why can't we do better?
How about the weather? Can't change that, eh?
Well, maybe you can. A few Decembers ago, I found myself in a sudden blizzard in Boston. Emerging inside covered in snow and frost, I went into a tirade about the weather. Then I stopped myself, and asked, "So what am I going to do about it?"
I decided I'd never spent a winter in such brutal conditions again. The next year I spent the winter in Spain, the year after Los Angeles, and now I'm in Southeast Asia. It wasn't even all that hard once I set my mind to it.
An acquaintance who works at a medical clinic was complaining that their Chinese patients are most frequently late and mean/demanding to the reception staff. (I like Chinese people a lot, massively respect their culture, and this doesn't match my experience, but I assume my acquaintance's complaints were legitimate)
After hearing a few complaints, I said, "Okay. So what are you going to do about it?" Umm, uhhh...
It changes things. No longer just complaining, but trying to change things. I had a few ideas:
*Change where you advertise
*Set different policies for canceling if people are late
*Reminder/confirmation calls beforehand, perhaps only if the person has been late before
*Learn some Mandarin and try to be friendlier, because maybe you're causing some of the friction due to your expectations
Would any of those work? I dunno. But now we're trying to solve things instead of bitching and complaining.
People like to bitch and complain, but it sucks your life energy away. Now whenever I find myself repeating the same complaint a couple times, I start trying to solve it. I caught myself complaining that my feet hurt a few times over the course of two weeks, and realized my boots were too worn down and affecting my walking. So, what am I going to do about it? New shoes. Problem solved.
Complaining solves nothing, it makes you unhappy, and turns people off. Claim solutions, improve things, build, fix, work, repair, serve.
Things are screwed up? I'm not surprised, things get screwed up a lot. So, what are you going to do about it?
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