“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” – Maya Angelou
In his book “The No Complaining Rule,” Jon Gordon calls people who spend their time complaining, “energy vampires.” He says that this practice sucks the energy out of any situation. At the very least they suck all the positive energy out of a room and fill it with negativity. There are a few practices that can help you break a negative attitude and create a more positive, more productive outlook.
1. The Jolly Journal – Instead of using your journal to vent, try using it to celebrate your day. Even the worst days have something positive happen. Take the time to break your day down. You can start by creating a list of things you learned during the day or list a couple of events that brought you joy or made you smile. You may find that the day wasn’t as bad as you originally thought.
2. Choice Map – One of my favorite tools is Dr. Marilee Adam’s Choice Map. She recommends that you redirect yourself when you start feeling negative by asking learning questions like: What’s possible? What are the facts? What are my choices? Instead of negative questions like: Whose fault is it? This creates a much more constructive perspective on the situation, allowing for the development of solutions.
3. Take a Hike – Not the metaphoric “hike,” but go for a literal hike or brisk walk depending on how much time you have. I’m not sure why but it is a wonderful tool that works like a charm for me.
4. It’s Alllllllllll Right – In the words of famous photographer, Dewitt Jones, “celebrate what’s right with the world.” Take a step back and find something that is “right” in the situation. This helps to adjust your focus and may open new doors in the search for solutions.
5. Let It Out – Give yourself five minutes to just let it out. Put it all on the table, everything that is bothering or annoying you. Be brutal with it, how unfair or bad it feels. Just let it all out. Then, after the five minutes is up, take a couple of deep breaths and just let it go.
Life is all about attitude and the attitude that comes with constantly complaining is anything but constructive. The most important thing is to clear the negativity as quickly as possible, complaining in and of itself rarely accomplishes this. Cultivating the ability to address problems with a reasonable and appropriate energy and then moving on has made both my business and personal life much more enjoyable.