No matter how good things are, we all have a tendency to complain.
You know the term: First World Problems.
But complaining adds no value to this world. Even worse, it attracts other complainers, and then they become your circle of influence, leading to a cycle of even more complaining.
It may sound obvious, but instead of complaining about the challenges you are facing, your time is better spent finding a solution and putting that solution into action. When you learn to act on your solutions and build the habit of not complaining, it can lead to a major shift in the quality of your life.
In this article, I want to share some thoughts on why complaining brings you and others down, how to stop perpetuating this cycle, and what to do instead of complaining.
Once you understand these three things, you can harness your negative energy to focus on your path, not your past, and you will become unstoppable.
Complaining Compounds Negativity
I used to spend a lot of my time beating myself up or complaining about myself to myself. My increasingly negative focus only created turmoil in my brain and trashed my self-confidence. It is tempting to complain to those around you, or on social media when you’re experiencing adversity in your life, but this is the last thing you should do.
Research shows that people who complain a lot on their Facebook page are usually the ones who get unfollowed and unfriended the most.
It comes down to Newton’s third law of motion—every action has an opposite or equal reaction.
We all go through bad days and face challenges in our life, but that doesn’t mean we have to post our exact thoughts on social media sites. What’s more important is how you handle those problems.
Honestly? No one gives a shit about how much your girlfriend or boyfriend isn’t paying attention to you, or how your boss won’t give you that raise. There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t have their own problems to deal with every day.
In fact, it says more about your integrity if you remain cool under pressure.
If your issue doesn’t require serious help from a health professional, then you should contact a friend and talk about what’s bothering you over the phone or in person. That’s a much smarter decision than to post your biased and negative thoughts on social media sites.
If your issues concern your financial situation, instead of whining about how you don’t have enough money, then you might want to consider working harder, getting a second job, or talking to someone who can help you reduce your debt. Maybe you continue to spend money instead of “doing without” for a while.
Or maybe you’re someone who complains about “how fat you are.” As I said earlier, if you make a plan and follow through with it, you will achieve the results you want. For example, if you cut out all processed foods and refined sugars, and make it a priority to exercise every day, then you’ll start realizing new levels of weight loss.
To be certain, none of this advice is effective until you make a purposeful mental shift to think about what you want as your long-term results. Make sure every decision you make will have a positive effect on your life, or else, don’t do it.
Making these decisions isn’t always easy, in fact sometimes it can be confusing trying to understand the decision you need to make! When this happens you need to look outside yourself to better understand where you are vs where you are going.
Stop Complaining with a Dose of Perspective
A pivotal moment in my life occurred when I vowed to not complain about the wrong things. After working an exhausting eleven-hour day, I was mentally gearing up for my first 100 km ultramarathon race; it was the longest race I’d ever competed in.
The race was scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., which meant I’d be running during the night, when normally I’d be asleep. I calculated that the race would take me about 12.5 hours to complete, and I knew I had to focus on my path to get rid of all negative thoughts of fatigue during the run.
As I ran, I saw several homeless people sleeping under a bridge. My first thoughts were, “Damn, that looks comfortable.” Then I began thinking about how those homeless people looked while all curled up, and it made me feel grateful that I wasn’t homeless and that I had a bed to sleep in. More than that, I had a job, food, shelter, and water.
I really had nothing to complain about, especially while running an ultramarathon.
That sight kept me grounded. It reminded me what I already knew: after running such a strenuous race, I was usually too wrecked to give a shit about what material items I owned. As long as I had a bed to crash in and some grub to restore those lost calories afterward, that was really all that mattered.
I keep this perspective with me always, the visual stops complaining before it starts for me. My intention is not to offend - I’m not saying you do not have real problems. I simply know the best thing you can do when facing adversity in life is to anchor yourself with some perspective. Do not dwell on the past—choose to start acting for your future.
Substitute Complaining with Action
In my opinion, there is only one thing you should reflect on about your past: that is seeing how far you’ve come. This is another way to gain helpful perspective when you’re getting ready to take action on your plans.
If you’re at the lowest point of your life right now, then know your reflection will begin with today—but don’t think about your life circumstances until one or two years from now. And don’t complain during this growth process. We know complaining compounds negativity.
So, where does taking action come into play? Simple.
You cannot take action on plans that do not exist. Once you’ve stopped complaining and made your plan it is time to take action and start following your path.
Remember, we focus on the path not the past.
If you’re someone who tends to dwell on the past and you keep reminding everyone about how life was thirty years ago, then you’re living in your own world. Just know that even though war and corruption are still in the news, we are living in the most advanced, easily-accessed, creative times. Learn to embrace what’s around you.
For me, I get frustrated when I hear people complain about things they can’t control. These things include gasoline prices, the stock exchange, and even “how things aren’t as great as they used to be.” It’s obvious the gas giants are the ones to blame for the escalating prices, but if you’re not going to do something about it, then keep your mouth shut.
If you really care, think of something you can do to save on your gas expenses. Maybe you could buy an electric car or design an app that allows you to collaborate with the gas giants to offer discounted gas. I don’t care how you solve this problem, just don’t complain about the high price of gas if you’re not going to do anything about it.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re eighteen or eighty and you’re reading this.
Just do what you can and don’t complain! None of us are entitled to anything. The world owes you nothing. Just the fact that you’ve been born and have the chance to live should be enough impetus for you to realize you can make anything happen.
If you want something, work hard for it and don’t complain along the way.