We all have times where we wish we had better opportunities, times where we wish we could just have everything. Some people leave these situations better than before, while others come out worse.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” -Abraham Lincoln
We all complain sometimes, heck I am right now, but that doesn’t mean you should do it all the time. We complain without even noticing that we are sometimes, but rarely is it any help to the problem we are facing. We don’t want to be stuck in a negative attitude, but we have all been there, days were everything goes wrong and complaining seems like the best thing to do.
When something goes wrong with your startup do you just quit? No. The most successful companies are built of criticism and rejection. They may have complained, but never enough to fully distract themselves from success. They kept climbing, even after failures upon failures.
Failure is a part of life, if you truly want to do something that you love there are many things you will need to be prepared to deal with. Failure is the main one. Whenever you attempt anything outside your comfort zone, we often get a lot of feedback, half are positive, and receiving it makes you feel elated, while the other half can be hard to take in.
Goals are important, we all get taught that in school, we get told to stand up and share our goals. Now that is where the problems start, sharing your goals. This opens you up to many different possibilities, these include, the rare chance of people that care, fake people that say things they don’t mean, and pretending they care and people that just want to discourage you.
Now let’s break this down, the fake people. What does that mean? These type of people are the kind that when you tell them your goals they say a few nice words like “Oh that’s great”, “Good luck!” or “Yeah you can do that”, but after a few days they begin to forget, you receive a fake sense of satisfaction and when the compliments stop coming you begin to feel like you’re not making any progress. This creates an illusion in your brain that you need the encouragement to feel accomplished and without it you just don’t want to move on. Now if you didn’t tell people in the first place, you won’t need to have someone telling you you’re doing great.
Then there are the people that purposely want to discourage you, the ones that “joke” about how you’re not good enough, take for example someone that wants to be the next big thing, getting into the entertainment industry is what your dream. You tell your “friends” and they start mocking you, telling you you’re never going to make it. This immediately puts you in a bad spot. You start making up excuses and begin complaining.
A sometimes having people that go care about your goals and dreams can also be damaging, with people knowing you feel like you have a deadline to complete tasks, they cause you to rush things, miss important parts, and overall can lead to failure.
When it comes to it, if you just keep your goals to yourself you’re going to make it so much further. With no one to pressure you to each what you want, you’re going to make it much further. Sometimes early praise gives you a feeling of success, which can make you feel like you’ve already won. With you thinking that you have already succeeded although you may be far from it, this in turn causes you to be less likely to finish.
Now let’s think back to complaining, this directly affects some if they like telling people their goals. For example lets say you’re trying to build a website, and you tell everyone how you’re going to make this website, they are eager to see it. When you finally show them and the coding is all messed up and the text is all over the place, you begin to feel frustrated, start blaming yourself for everything that went wrong, and to a certain point feel like giving up. Now lets rewind and instead, you didn’t tell anyone, then you just keep testing it by yourself until you are satisfied with your work, now you show people and they love it.
You see the difference between you telling people and not is detrimental. There are so many different ways it can go bad, but if no one has any expectation from you, you’re going to feel free to do what you want. You don’t need to have a set time to complete it. If you didn’t tell anyone and they see the end product they aren’t going in with much expectation, this way you can feel accomplished even if it didn’t match your original idea.
An alternate way for you to still achieve your goal without other knowing is surrounding yourself with the competition when you do that it doesn’t involve you having to tell them what you want, but just getting into the environment where see others trying to achieve the same as you will most likely push you.
Now here we are, let look at this example, so we have Person A and Person B, their article was both not accepted into the publication they want, what did they do? Person A decided that her piece wasn’t the best she could have done, she gets a friend to help read through the piece and then submits to another publication. Now Person B decides that their piece is already really good and that the publication just doesn’t read all the submissions, blaming the publication. He later calls a friend and spends hours talking trash about the publication.
Now looking at these two people responding to the same situation, which one is going to get more out of it. Definitely Person A, instead of wasting her time complaining she uses that time to improve herself, she will keep writing new pieces and trying her luck with getting into the publication. Meanwhile Person B has spent a whole day complaining, not getting anything productive done.
Instead of improving, complaining is just going to set you back from your competition. At the start of anything is hard, nothing is going to be easy, you need to slowly learn, gaining new skills along the way. We all have moments in our lives where things just do no go to plan, everything seems to be not right. When no one wants to publish your piece or you can’t get any clients, if you keep persisting you’re going to make it one day.
A 1996 study done by Stanford shows that it’s time to stop complaining. The study reveals that complaining, or being complained to, for thirty minutes or more can be physically damaging. They use high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and discovered a link between stress and the shrinking of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the brain involved with creating new memories and aid learning and emotions.
This doesn’t necessarily mean stop giving feedback, you just need to do it a different way. In other words, don’t just complain and whine, instead be constructive and let people know what you want to say without sounding like your complaining.
Here are two simple ways to do so:
1. Stop using “but”
This word is an automatic shutdown, when people hear it they associated it with negativity. When one person is trying to speak and you come in with a “but” what comes next is always going to be negative. This often leads to irritation and a simple change of wording can elevate the mood, simply replace “but” with “and”, for example instead of, that is great but you can change the wording a little. Changing that too, that is great and you can change the wording a little.
2. Package your complaint
Have you ever hear of the sandwich method, this method is named this way as when giving advice you can have two positives (two pieces of bread) and in between, you can give a constructive piece of feedback. For example:
“I loved the way that you talked about the detrimental effect of food waste. Although you could have included some extra statistics. Overall it was wonderful and I agree with all the aspects you have discussed”
Give these are try — you might notice that the energy of the people around you are going to start to rise.