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Communication Resources

Stop Complaining

The Gnashing of Teeth: Why Everyone Wishes You Would Stop Complaining

“Boy, it’s too cold.”

“This economy is awful, and so is my business.”

“My flight was delayed. I hate this airline.”

“My taxes are outrageous.”

“The boss is driving me crazy.”

“I can’t believe how many hours I work per week.”

I travel almost every week, and when I do, I hear the wicked litany of complaining, whining, grousing and gnashing of teeth. I have to tell you, I am sick of it. Sick. Of. It. Right now, I wish every one of the complainers in the world would be forced to attend a positive-thinking seminar, read an Anthony Robbins book, or get an attitude transplant, which I would gladly pay for. These people don’t realize the massive, toxic, energy-sucking impact they are having on everyone around them. These smile-killing, enthusiasm-draining, optimism- dissolving, mood-destroying people are ruining it for everyone else. Yep, that’s right. You’re sucking the life out of the meeting room.

If you know someone like this, work with someone like this, or God forbid (and I am sorry if you are) are married to someone like this, print out this article and give it to them. Today!

Dear Complaining Person:

This article was given to you by someone who cares about you. Below are some reasons why everyone wishes you would just stop complaining. Please read carefully and apply immediately.

Complaining has no inherent value. What does complaining do? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zippo. It doesn’t drive sales, increase revenue, boost profits, or promote efficiency. Instead of complaining, why don’t you (here is an idea) DO something about it? Find a problem opportunity or challenge and solve it. As Robert Cook once said, “Sayand do something positive that will help the situation; it doesn't take any brains to complain.”

No one will want to be around you. I was on a plane, and a guy got on board and sat next to me in the window seat in coach. “Hello. How are you?,” I asked cheerfully. He had an angry expression on his face and said, “I am supposed to be in first class. I’m always in first class, and this is an outrage! I am chairman/platinum/president/VIP preferred status.” He then proceeded to complain about being in coach for the first 30 minutes of the flight. When it was time for drinks and he had to pay for them (the audacity of this airline!), he started again.

Okay, it was time for me to grab my noise cancelling headphones. I would rather have bamboo driven under my fingernails than be around people like this man. When you are a complainer, no one wants to listen to you or be around your poison spewing yapper. Seriously.

You are raising a pack of pessimists. If you are a pessimistic complaining parent, then you will have a huge impact on your kids. They will become like you—complaining, negative, energy-sucking vampires. Is this the future you want for them? No, don’t tell me that won’t happen. Children learn by who you are and by what you say. This is who you are raising them to become.

You have a dim future at work. Yep, that’s right. No one who is a specialist at complaining gets promoted. Companies and organizations want positive, upbeat, energetic team members who will do what needs to be done and not complain about it. 

We have enough negative in the world without your piling on more. Let’s face it: the world itself is negative enough with things like wars, murder, mayhem, and oh, let’s say the economy, without you adding to it. We don’t need you to help the dark side win. Ever watch the evening news? We need someone who brings light and optimism and inspiration to our lives. Not darkness and depression.

This is not good for your health. Being Oscar, the Grouch in your airplane row is not good for your health. Your blood pressure is going up. You are giving yourself any number of diseases and disorders with your “Sad Sack” approach, including heart disease and maybe even cancer. So lighten up and live longer. Besides, most of the stuff you’re all worked up about is probably minor and doesn’t matter that much. So what if your boss got on to you about your expense report? Who cares? You didn’t get fired, did you?

I know you weren’t always like this. I am going to guess that at one point in your life (maybe as a child), you were bright, cheerful, and optimistic. At some moment, life’s bumps and bruises caused you to change your perspective. News flash: It’s time to get over it and move on. Every day you have a decision to make to be optimistic and cheerful or a pain in everyone’s backside. The choice is yours. Here is a compelling question I would like you to consider. At the end of your life, how do you want to be remembered: as a lonely, miserable person or as an inspiration?

As a leader, you are letting your team down. People want leaders who are problem solvers and not problem makers. The most miserable moments in my career have been when I had a manager who was a complainer. The days become long and the nights longer.

So, Mr. or Ms. Complainer, you have a choice either to embrace this content or ignore it.  I will see you in row nine on my next flight.

Author: Shawn Doyle