Don’t you hate complainers? Those people that have something negative to say about everything. When trapped by one, you often find yourself trying one of two things: 1) attempting to soothe them with generic phrases like “it’ll be ok,” while eyeing the nearest exit, or 2) one-upping their complaints with “you should have seen what happened to ME this morning,” then launching in to a diatribe about how the cat spent the morning batting the planets around on Junior’s school project and your morning commute came to a halt while the passing Tour de Whatever went peddling by.
Yes, that was my morning today, but I’ve tried not to grumble since I found it somewhat amusing. How is a cat supposed to resist a cluster of clay planets and rockets hung by dental floss from the inside of a box?
Anyway, the rough moment comes when you realize you are now a complainer. I found a fun blog called Blair Warren’s Crooked Wisdom, in which she referenced the article Pastor: Stop Complaining. This Pastor from a Southern church has challenged his congregation to stop complaining, gossiping, or criticizing for 21 days, the time it takes to form a new habit. He distributed 250 bracelets for them to wear and switch wrists each time they find themselves complaining. The Pastor himself broke three bracelets while trying to develop his positive thinking.
“Constructive Discontent” is a term I saw referenced in Problogger’s 9 Attitudes of Highly Creative People (thanks to deb owen for the lead). It says, “Creative people often have an acute awareness of what’s wrong with the world around them – however they are constructive about this awareness and won’t allow themselves to get bogged down in grumbling about it – they take their discontent and let it be a motivation to doing something constructive.”
This is not a new theory and, in fact, is very similar to “The Secret” which is popular at the moment. Some days, however, we all need a reminder to turn those gripes in to a practical application. Take notice of your daily interactions. Are you complaining too much? If so, try thinking in a different way, or at least tell that poor soul across from you, “enough about me, did you enjoy that bike race?”