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I can't complain, but sometimes I still do. ~Joe Walsh

>> 30 June 2009

Have you ever noticed how much of your day you spend complaining?

  • About the weather (too hot, too cold, too wet, too windy).
  • About your boss (he doesn't 'get me', he gives me too much/not enough work, ...).
  • About a colleague (she is just lazy, he's all show and no work...).
  • About traffic (it will make me late again).
  • About your shitty life (if only I had a boyfriend/won the lottery/had a better job etc I'd be happy).

We whine, we complain, we gossip, we criticize.

And by doing so our attention gets stuck on the problem. We focus on the negative. And we look for like-minded people to support us in our blaming, to confirm our beliefs that life is a piece of crap and the boss is just a looser and if we had a better one we could unfold all of our wonderful potential.

Well, letting off steam may do you some good, but it also keeps you focused on the problem and thus prevents you from even considering finding a solution.

As Maya Angelou says, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”

According to A Complaint Free World, there are 5 basic reasons why people complain.

  1. Get attention:
    the primary need people have is to connect with others. A person may complain to a stranger about the weather or a local sports team as a means of starting a conversation (The traffic was horrible this morning --> talk to me)

  2. Remove Responsibility:
    People will complain to avoid trying to improve society and themselves. (Nothing will ever change --> I don't have to try because what I do won't make a difference)

  3. Inspire Envy:
    A complaint may be a cry of superiority. It implies that the complainer feels that they don't have whatever fault it is they are complaining about. (My boss is incompetent --> I am superior to him)

  4. Power:
    People often complain to incite other to abandon an alliance and switch to their point of view and/or build support and power by focusing on what's wrong with another's position. (Her idea is lame --> support my idea instead)

  5. Excuse poor performance:
    A person about to sing before a group may complain they have a scratchy throat to lower expectations should they not sing well. (This client is constantly delaying the production schedule --> and don't expect me to manage the situation any better)

“Complaining is like bad breath.
You tend to notice it when it comes out of someone else’s mouth,
but not when it comes out of your own.” – Will Bowen

As I told you in my recent post about 'energy flows where goes', I am following this course and when you notice where your attention is going you realize that a lot of it goes into complaining. So Christine Kane gets our attention focused on going complaint free.

And it is tough!!!!! I have managed hours, sometimes days going complaint free. And then, something happens, and boom: off I go. But the course, and her website, give irresistible reasons to go complaint free.

If you want to tell people at work that they should stop complaining before entering your office, you can also go to Jon Gordon's web and download no complaining posters.

So check them out and join me.


Julian 6 July 2009 at 07:46  

Great post. The funny thing about complaining is that often the people who have the most to complain about, are the people who complain the least.

Mindful Mimi 6 July 2009 at 17:54  

@Julian: how right you are! It appears that people in places like Bangladesh or Mali are happier than people in the US or France for example. In the end, material abundance does not make you happy.
Thanks for visiting.

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