The economy sucks, I don't get paid enough, my girlfriend doesn't talk to me, I hate when it snows, I can't lose any weight, there isn't enough time in the day...thanks Obama.
These complaints sound familiar, right?
Let's get real for a second...a complaint is a frustrated wish that you are not willing to do anything about. According to Neil Strauss, these frustrated wishes are a signal that you are managing your life poorly. This includes all negative talk about others and yourself.
There are two types of complaints. Type 1 are complaints that you have control over. An example of this is "I can't lose any weight". Type 2 are complaints that are outside of your control, for example: "I hate when it snows".
We all complain, but the reality is that complaints do nothing to serve us. They are a disease that unconsciously infects everyone within earshot. Complaints are easy, anyone can toss a negative remark into the mix or join in on a complainy conversation. Complaints are also lazy. They are an admission to the fact that you are not willing to take responsibility for your own thoughts and actions.
The diagram above is a simple flow chart that looks at the complaint process. Are you feeling the desire to complain? Is there any action you can take to eliminate the "frustrated wish" that you are feeling? If yes, great! Now you don't have to complain because you are working towards fixing the frustrated wish. If no, this is still great because you know that it's outside of your control and a waste of your time and mental energy to complain about it.
So now you know how bad complaints are, but how to we go about fixing the problem?
Put your money where your mouth is: 30 day challenge
Every time you complain you have to give the person you are closest to $1. This includes complaints about yourself (you are your own worst enemy), complaints about others and even complaints about things completely outside of your control (like the weather). For the next 30 days keep a handful of singles in your pocket because each time you go to complain you will be giving your hard earned cash away.
I did this a couple years ago and it had a profound effect on me. Very quickly I realized how often I would complain, even about pointless little things. I think I gave away around $7 all within the first week but after that I was cured. I started to notice a complaint bubbling up but would catch and act on it before it would surface. I simply became more mindful about my own thoughts which led to real life actions that would benefit me.
So, are you up for the challenge? If so let me know in the comments and I'll reach out at some point to hold you accountable.
Onward and upward,