Committed complaining: have you heard of it? The idea is that we complain in two ways: committed or uncommitted to fixing the problem.
Sometimes we’re just grousing: I’m cold, my office is cold, I hate working here, my boss is a nightmare… Uncommitted complaining begins and ends with the complaint. You don’t like something but are not going to do anything about it; all you’re looking for is a little stress release. Uncommitted complaining is often done at people.
Sometimes we are committed to fixing things. I don’t agree with this law. I want to change it, so I’ll gather a team and take action. This is committed complaining. Committed complaining is active, positive and creative.
- Work to understand an issue,
- Find resources and implement strategies,
- Evaluate outcomes, and
- Iterate to create elegant solutions.
Listen to yourself complain. What do you complain about, and how frequently? To whom? Be honest—do the people you complain to/at benefit from your conversation, or are you using them as an emotional dumping ground? What actions do you take to fix problems?
Becoming aware of your complaining style helps you achieve your goals and live the life you want. (And people won’t fake heart attacks when they see you coming.)