Complaining is not a concept unique to a special clique of people. Once in a while, we all get reasons to complain. When things don’t work out as expected or as we would wish them to do, we find ourselves complaining. In other words, expressing our dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. In most cases, it matters less, to who we address our complaints. Sometimes we do it loudly to the world around us, while on other occasions we do it quietly to ourselves. Sometimes we direct our complaints to the people who are capable of changing the situation favorably (or so we think), while at other times, we direct them to amateurs. Either way, we complain.
It is not bad to complain. It will be unfair for me to give a blanket condemnation to complaints and the entire art (or is it science) of complaining. Some complaints draw the attention of the relevant authorities to a problem, (such as the ministry of roads to fix a pot-holed road) and they get it fixed. Good! I have no dot of problem with such complaints that can cause progressive societal change.
However, things are not always that rosy with complaints and complaining. In fact, to a larger extent, complaining is detrimental. This is where I come in to discourage, in the strongest terms possible, this scourge that is complaining. Complaints and the entire complaining script loses direction on two accounts which I highlight below. If you find yourself in any of these scenarios, it’s time to try something else.
1. When complaints become excuses
When there is a power blackout, someone who uses electricity to cook, is bound to complain. Should his cooking end there? It becomes even more life threatening when such a person turns his complaints into excuses for not cooking. You will hear him say, ‘this power is not serious! Now I can’t cook food for my visitors.’ When a complaint takes such a conclusive approach, then constructive action is thrown out of the equation. Such a person shuts his mind to any alternative solution. Shun it!
2. When you complain and blame others while you do nothing
Complaining about a situation is not as bad, but when you blame the situation on others, it becomes catastrophic. First, you deny yourself the chance to learn from the situation and probably avoid it in future or make it’s future consequences less dire. This is because, you focus so much where your blame finger is pointing and forget the input that you can have on the situation.
Secondly, you absolve yourself from responsibility. You believe that since it was caused by others, only they can fix it. This is a stagnation mentality, and unfortunately, this is what most of us tend to do. Show me a failure and I will show you one who blames everything on others, but himself. Show me a winner and I will show you one who takes responsibility of what happens around him. Successful people never rush to point fingers whenever something wrong happens, they know it’s their responsibility to contribute towards fixing it. They learn from it and move on.
Remember, life is a game of choices. Whenever something goes amiss, you can choose to whine and blame others and feel great that it’s not you who caused it. While at it, you risk losing sight of all the lessons that you can learn from the incident, lessons that could propel you to the next level of success. You can also make a choice not to complain, give your input in resolving it, learn a few lessons and move on to greater achievement.
Maybe next time, we are faced with a challenge, we may need to ask ourselves these questions: what can I do to help fix the situation? What can I do to prevent it from happening again? What can I do to reduce the effects of the situation the next time it happens? Make it about yourself. Remember, you are either part of the problem, or of the solution!
Roy S. Okonji
Public & Motivational Speaker, Trainer and Author