We call it by different terms – such as griping, grumbling, whining or just plain complaining. In the Bible, the common term used was “murmuring.” But regardless of how we term it, complaining always has the same symptoms. The dictionary defines it as “an expression of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, or discontent.” Complaining is the outward expression of discontent from within.
We all complain every now and then, don’t we? But some of us complain a little more than others. Some even complain all the time. One thing is for sure. People who believe in creating their own life don’t complain as much as those who merely think “life happens to me”. In fact, complaining is almost the single giveaway clue as to which category you belong to.
It’s almost too common to hear people complain about their teacher, their up-line or their down-line (if they are in the MLM business), their stockbroker, their colleagues, their bosses and believe it or not, even their parents. This is a common one I hear all the time, “My dad has a really horrendous temper, so I guess I got a little bit of that from him!”. Big time losers go a little further, they blame their grandparents and ancestors, “Oh, our family line have always been not very well-off, so I guess I’m never going to be rich!”. Anthony Robbins puts it in a much better perspective; The past does not equal the present!
Complaining about political leaders and the government is almost a national pastime. We bemoan unfair policies, the brutality of oppressive regimes, the injustice of the justice system, and the cruelty of the global economy. This one has got to be the favorite of taxi drivers. I take a taxi every now and then and each time, I will hear about the rising cost of diesel, the increasing number of taxis on the road (competition) or just the plain old traffic congestion issue.
“Complainers” complain for their own “good” reason. They need to find some scapegoat to blame for their failures, instead of taking full responsibility for it. Sometimes we complain because we simply want someone to recognize our suffering or we do so out of self-pity or the wish to gain others’ sympathy. Others may show they understand, but no matter what they say or do for us, we are dissatisfied and continue to lament.
“Venting” is often used to justify ranting to whomever about whatever we want. We regularly hear people say, “I just have to vent! I’m so angry, I just can’t help it.” They seem to feel that they will explode if they don’t let off some steam. But I wonder about that.
But many complainers do not realize is that passing the blame to someone else means that you do not take corrective actions for what we have done or even as a minimum, learn from the mistake and never repeat it again. So, why is complaining bad for us?
There’s a Universal Law that states that whatever you focus on expands. When you complain, you are focusing on the negative and naturally, the negative expands. Stephen Covey, in his bestselling book, “Seven habits of Highly Effective People”, describes it more clearly by drawing two concentric circles. The outer circle represents all the things we are concerned about in life. Of all the things we are concerned about in life, there are things that are within our control and things outside our control. The inner circle represents those things that are within our control. When we focus on things beyond our control all the time (complaining), the Circle of Concern grows bigger and bigger while the Circle of Influence grows smaller and smaller as we neglect it. On the other hand, if we quit complaining and just focus on taking action on items within our control, then the Circle of Influence will grow bigger and bigger and very soon, it will fill the complete Circle of Concern. Focusing on the Circle of Influence is all about being Proactive, the first habit in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People!
Let’s take an example. Let’s say that your parents have a problem with anger management and as such, you think you it is beyond your control. Each time something happens that gives you the slightest excuse to blow your top, you do it because you think it is “beyond your control”. Very soon, every little thing is going to make you blow your top. However, if you choose to believe that your temper is part of your Circle of Influence and take steps to curb the anger each time it show signs of overcoming you, then very soon, nothing will be able to shake you.
You may argue that complains are nothing but just thoughts spoken out loud. But thoughts lead to action, actions leads to habits and habits lead to character. If you want to develop a character in line with successful people, you have to develop successful thoughts and successful people don’t complain.
So quit your ranting and whining and create the successful life you want today!
If you are complaining about things in your life, you are on the complaining frequency, and you are not in a position to attract what you want. Get on to the frequency of good with your thoughts and words. Firstly you will feel good, and secondly you will be on the frequency of receiving more good.
The 11 Forgotten Laws