“Don’t find fault, find a remedy” – Henry Ford
It is so easy to nitpick a solution to a problem or a process. It is so easy to complain about other people or something we don’t like. It is so easy to be a complainer.
But, like anything easy, it comes with some huge disadvantages. The first is the inability to see anything positive in a situation. Complaining compels us to look for the bad situation, the bad solution, the bad person, the bad in everything. Who complains when things are going good right?
The second major problem with complaining is the constant reference to the activity, item, action, or person we complain about. This complaining, particularly if we have no solution, escalates our complaining to a level that brings about a feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, and feeling bad about ourselves (Winch, 2012).
We rarely complain to the people that can solve the problem is the third disadvantage. When we lack a solution to a problem we are complaining about we tend to vent to our friends or relatives—people who cannot solve the problem. Why? Because we want someone to validate our emotions. This does bring temporary relief, but does it solve the problem? No. So we move to the next phone call or meeting over coffee and continue to relive our problem over and over and over.
Like Ford’s quote suggests, there is a solution. Complain to people who can do something about your problem or issue. If you don’t like a process or program in your company, approach the person who set the process or program. If you don’t like the way you are treated by someone, tell them. If you don’t like the service you are getting at a restaurant, request to speak to a manager.
Suggestion: Have a solution. If you don’t like a program or process, design a different one that will benefit the organization—then sell it! If you don’t like how someone treats you, pull them aside and tell them how you would like to be treated. If you aren’t getting the service you like, request to speak to a manager and explain what your expectations are when visiting their restaurant.
Will these solutions be effective? Not all the time. However, it is much more efficient to solve a problem and present it, rather than coming up with an easy complaint and talking with people who cannot solve your problem. If your solution doesn’t work, you can work with your manager and perhaps come up with a better solution than you came up with. You can approach HR in your company to help a person who is mistreating you see the light. You can avoid a restaurant in the future that didn’t meet your expectations.
Personally, I do not like the feelings associated with helplessness. I believe there is always a solution to a problem. Complaining is ok occasionally. Habitual complaining is unhealthy and an absolute waste of time. For more information, see the article referenced below. It is a good read if you are looking to improve your outlook on life and want to learn to complain effectively.
Until next time…
Winch, G. (2012). Does complaining damage our mental health? How the way we complain impacts our mental health. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201201/does-complaining-damage-our-mental-health