Thursday, April 10, 2008

Complainer Culture

During my lunch break today I went to get my hair cut. I go to the place because they are quick and cheap, and don't usually try to make small talk, which I hate. This time, though, the lady felt the need to engage.

"I can't believe it snowed last night. This week has been all rain and snow. Can you believe it?" She said. I realized that she was just trying to be friendly, but she actually seemed upset about it. For the record, it didn't snow where I was, but apparently a few flakes fell somewhere nearby].

What I thought: "Yeah, that's called weather."

I returned to work and a co-workers walks into my cube: "Man, I'm so busy. My boss asked me to look into these two issues and now I'm stuck on them, and I'm going on some business trips over the next few weekends." Note: both the trips and the issues were voluntary.

What I thought: "Have you considered saying No?"

And then it hit me: complaining is part of our culture. We complain about everything. When it's winter it's too cold. When it's summer it's hot. When it's spring it's too rainy. You can always complain about work, whether you are too busy or don't have enough to do. It seems that complaining has become the way that we communicate.

Then I think about the successful people I know: Stephen Covey, President Monson, and others who are successful in various ways. It's interesting that they don't complain much, at least about insignificant things. Perhaps there is a correlation.

Of course some things are worth complaining about, and I don't pretend that I don'tdo my fair share. But today was a time for me to reflect and wonder if my life could be more rewarding with less complaining (from me, that is).

Is this one more way that I should be "in the world, but not of the world?"

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