Are you spending your time on this planet sharing a positive or a negative spin on life?
I think sometimes we forget we live on a spaceship. Yes, Earth is a spaceship; have you considered what that means? We are traveling through space at over 600,000 miles per hour around the sun. Meanwhile, we also do one complete spin every 24 hours. Given this, we can think of our lives as having a limited numbers of spins. How many have you had? And the question no one can answer, how many do you, or I, have left? I am on spin 13,837.
It seems like a lot when I think about it, I mean it would take me a while to count to 13,837. It’s also curious to consider how many of those spins I have wasted, how many of those I used to progress, to learn new things, to become better. Sometimes it takes several spins to figure the same thing out. Other times you actually have to use several spins to unlearn what you’ve already learned. And sometimes, just sometimes it only takes one spin to make a big change.
I was sitting with a friend, a mentor of mine, as I often do on many of my recent Sundays, just talking. We find it compelling to discuss many things from fixing the world’s problems; how to be better men, how to get what we want, women, and even the fact that we live on this spaceship and have this spin clock. On one particular Sunday, we broke things down and came up with a new rule, which we call “Don’t complain, about what you tolerate.”
When we (as humans) are talking, discussing, rapping, jiving, reminiscing, or whatever you want to call it, we sometimes find ourselves in a place where we start to complain. We have conversations with people – and we complain. It’s almost as though it’s ingrained in us.
Think about how often you complain. Is it every day? Is it about the same things? Keep in mind you are not in a positive state when you complain, rather you are fostering a negative state of mind. If you have read any books about the power of positive thinking including the book titled as such, or The Secret or any other “Law of Attraction” books, you’ll immediately realize this is a bad thing. Earl Nightingale said it so well in his famous work The Strangest Secret, – ‘’you get what you think about most of the time.’’
It just so happens that by participating in the act of complaining, you are fueling the very negativity you are trying to rid from your life. A complaint is a symptom, and just like sneezing is a symptom of a cold, complaining also is a sign of a bigger issue. Now there are ways you can approach it – just like a tissue can help with the effects of a sneeze, but what ‘tissues’ exist for complaints?
Is it choosing a loved one or a friend or even a therapist, in order to bend their ear and get it off your chest? Just like the tissue, I believe this really doesn’t help very much, it’s just a minor relief or a technique to soothe the pain of the symptom. When you use too many tissues, your nose gets all red and sore, and just like bending your friend’s ear, they can become sick of you and stop hanging out with you because you are complaining too often
Let’s roleplay an example: a woman who complains about her man.
“He’s lazy, he doesn’t listen, he never rubs my back” – all potentially very valid concerns. Let’s say these concerns start to pile up, and continue to fester. You don’t address the root cause of the issues and before you know it, you have a laundry list. You can’t stand the sight of this person you used to love.
What if you looked at how you started to tolerate the behavior you didn’t appreciate from the beginning? How many times have you compromised in your head? You know he does this thing you hate, but he makes great money. He talks like a gangster in front of his mom or your mom, but he has a six-pack. He is lazy and keeps getting fatter and fatter, but he talks nice about me in front of my friends. My point is – if you are a woman and you’re complaining about the guy you’re with, then you should be rethinking why you are in that relationship to begin with.
Ask yourself some simple questions. Who are you? What do you want and why do you want it? How is this relationship helping you grow as a person? I’d argue it’s a much stronger position to think about what you want rather than complaining about what you put up with or what you don’t want. If you continue to put up with something, then you’re already validating it because you’re participating in it; you are tolerating it. This ‘it’ of course being whatever unwanted behavior, activity, situation, or circumstance that you have control over your response to. You should remember you cannot control everything but you can always control how you respond to things. Tolerance requires your participation. It requires action.
Let’s look at another example.You may know someone who continues to be 50 pounds overweight year after year and will complain about it all the time to friends and family. They find themselves sitting on the couch not moving, unconsciously chomping cookies, getting fatter and fatter – wondering how it got so bad. They avoid looking in the mirror and if they do, they can’t help but feel sorry for themselves; they don’t recognize themselves anymore. Not only do they complain, but let the negativity fester, and become sad and complacent.
Maybe this is you?
Along the way a friend or a family member or maybe even the Universe (if you believe in that sort of thing) sends you messages to try to get you to change your behavior. You can no longer ignore your situation, rather you’ve got to realize you are inadvertently creating a bigger issue. It is so important to understand you make any situation much worse when you are complaining about it.
Now some of you may be thinking this isn’t you, but honestly, I deal with people all day long for a living. I place people in jobs, in effect I sell people to people and do thousands of interviews and I hear complaints a lot, almost every day. Sometimes it isn’t even verbal, which can even be worse – as some folks continue to complain to themselves via their internal monologue; their internal communication. This can easily lead to ‘giving up’, and it shows in various ways.
You may begin to hate your spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend, leading you to file for divorce or end the relationship, never getting to the root of the problem, only to see the source of the complaints resurface again in other areas of your life. Honestly, I have done these very things. I have been here, so I hope this doesn’t sound harsh. My point here is to help you recognize it and correct the behavior.
Everything, every single thing in your life, you’ve created. So the things you don’t like that linger around, you are tolerating.
Now I know it’s not easy to drop 50 pounds or fix a bad marriage. What I will tell you is, you make your path much longer and harder by complaining about it. In many ways, complaining is the lazy way out. It’s the lack of facing the root cause of an issue and wasting words trying to explain how you feel about it.
‘I wrote down all things I would no longer accept in my life, all the things I would no longer tolerate, and all the things I aspired to become.’ – Tony Robbins
You cannot control a lot of things in the world or what happens to you. The one thing you can control however is the way you respond to them. One effective strategy is to completely ignore bad behavior. Make yourself completely indifferent, almost not present. When you encounter great behavior, you reward it, appreciate it, acknowledge it – much like training a dog. You see we all have this carnal urge to feel a sense of belonging. We all want attention and appreciation for the things we do, especially when we do them well. So the strategy is reward positive behavior, ignore anything negative. Sure you can argue, “if I don’t respond and just ignore, won’t they keep doing it anyway?” Perhaps. Have you tried it? Have you actually been able to be truly non-existent, only present in your positive and joyful state?
Do your best to not participate in the negativity at all. You see many folks rarely visit the cause of the complaint. Have you ever heard the expression, ‘an ounce of prevention is better than 10 pounds of cure?’ No, I am not going to offer you a cure today, especially not 10 pounds of it. But perhaps instead, I have provided you with a ‘Z-pack’ to ease the pain of the process. And hopefully, just as we all know the best way to fight a cold is to avoid one altogether, I hope I can change the way in which you recognize complaining… for what it is. Negativity!
In life, we are too often fooled by being told to be more tolerant. You can’t be tolerant of anything less than excellence. Since life is about growth, you have to change how you communicate with yourself and with others. Do yourself a favor, try not to waste any more spins, don’t complain about what you tolerate.