I loved this article so much that I had to re-post. You’ll hear no complaints for me today!
From Complaining to Campaigning
by William Frank Diedrich
If complaining were an Olympic sport, there are, no doubt, people in your life who would be gold medalists. Complaining ranks up there with baseball as a national pastime. It may be that it is human to complain, but the downside of complaining is substantial. The cure for any complaint is to clarify what you want and then to begin taking action to claim it.
To complain is to express dissatisfaction with a person, situation, or event. When we complain we express the frustration or pain we are experiencing. At first this is necessary. We vent to release negative emotion. Once the negative emotion is vented we can focus on a course of action. Telling one or two people how you feel is often healthy. Telling lots of people your negative feelings does not help you to release the negative. As you tell more people your problems and as you experience the negative emotion that goes with those problems, you are practicing feeling badly. Practicing complaining makes you good at it. Practice, in this sense, hard wires the negative emotion in your body. Repetitive complaining makes you feel helpless and powerless. Repetitive complaining is a focus on what you don’t want.
As you continue to complain you make it difficult to solve anything, because you convince yourself that nothing can be done. Also, no one really wants to listen to it. Think about this: Who would you rather be around—a person who complains a lot, or a person who takes effective action to solve their problems? Which person inspires you? I have read numerous stories about people who have overcome the odds and accomplished their goals. I have not read any stories about people who complain day in and day out and don’t change their thinking or their behavior.
There are two steps to transcending the complaining mode and moving forward: Step one. Clarify what you want. Whatever is dissatisfying to you, determine what you want instead. If you are complaining about things you can’t control, still determine what you want. You can complain about how people treat each other in the world, but how do you want to live your life?
Step two. Campaign. A campaign is an organized course of action to achieve a particular goal. It is determining what you want and taking action to achieve it. This requires focus, discipline, and courage. It requires that you build up your passion, your energy, and use it to motivate you.
You may think that it just takes too much energy to clarify and to campaign. Nothing drains your energy more than complaining. Chronic complaining by you or by others around you will tire you faster than taking action will.
Ask yourself this question: What am I complaining about and not really doing anything about? Is it another person? If so, are you willing to clarify what you want from that relationship and then change your thinking and behavior to make something good happen? If things are not satisfactory at work, are you willing to step up and create a vision for how it could be?
We each have the gift of life. If you are awake for at least 16 hours a day, then you and everyone else have been gifted with 57,600 seconds today. How are you using those seconds? Are those seconds filled with complaints, blaming, and expressions of frustration? Or, are those seconds filled with the satisfaction of you living on purpose. Each second provides opportunity for choice. When you catch yourself complaining, make sure you are talking to someone who cares and that you are doing it to let it go. Clarify what you want. Launch your campaign toward whatever lofty goal you have set. Your action and your example will inspire both you and the people who know you.
William Frank Diedrich is an executive coach, public speaker, and the author of three books, including Beyond Blaming. For speaking on topics such as leadership, moving beyond blaming, emotional intelligence, increasing influence, and being a true adult, contact Bill at Bill@noblaming.com . For information on Bill’s books go to http://intelligentspirit.com/. Click on “Catalog”.
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