What kind of talk do people most associate with you? Are you quick to help and encourage, or are you eager to criticize and put down?
If you suspect that your name is more synonymous with the less desirable latter, we suggest you work on pursuing the former: by consciously choosing to stop complaining, you can drastically affect small but important pockets of your personal and professional life. There’s a positivity that going on a complaint diet — avoiding complaining at all costs — can bring about in anyone. And all you have to do to be successful here is think before you speak.
Here’s how and why to start a complaint diet of your own.
Whatever you repeat, you believe. Whatever you believe, you experience. If you’re constantly tossing around criticism of your coworkers, superiors, and subordinates, suggesting they don’t like you, then guess what: it’s true. By focusing on narrow, negative ideas this extensively, you doom yourself to actually living out a negative narrative of your own design. When you pause in consideration of the idea that what you say plays a role in shaping your reality, you afford yourself the opportunity to make a better reality for yourself and your business.
Those who are complaint-free attract positive energy and people. Who doesn’t want to work with high-energy optimists to get a task done? (No one.) When you make the effort to cut out negative speech from your life, you change the circumstances of how you work. An obstacle is no longer a problem, but an opportunity to show what you can do. A negative, energy-sapping coworker is no longer a problem, but someone you feel a little sorry for as you continue on with whatever’s next.
Quitting your complaining habit slows you down in a good way. We move a mile a minute at the office. If we don’t learn to pace ourselves, we burn out quickly, like a long distance runner who sprints his first several laps. People who complain will speak very quickly, get their heart rates up, and expend more oxygen to do the same amount of work. If you can manage a workday without complaining, then this obviously won’t apply to you.
So how to actually start a complaint diet and learn to stop grumbling, moaning, and protesting the things that you just can’t change? There is plenty of advice out there, but here are three suggestions to get you started.
Give yourself permission to complain every once in a while. If something’s bothering you — like, really bothering you — you can’t keep it bottled up. Talk to someone. Find a way to get that feeling out constructively. Cutting out all complaining right away is probably not ideal. Ramp up to a complaint-free lifestyle over time.
Check yourself every time you start to speak: are you saying something that’s closer to a complaint or something that’s more likely to make you happy? Just get into the habit of evaluating what you’re going to say before you start saying it. This constant self-checking will become habit over time, and once it’s habit, you’re ready to sail through a complaint-free chunk of your life while energizing yourself and those around you.
And if you’re managing a company, what could be better than that?