The cost of complaining

What if there was one little thing that most of us do dozens of times per day — one little thing that you could change, and thereby improve every aspect of your life?

The not-so-little thing we’ll be looking at here is a popular activity called complaining. What’s wrong with complaining?

Let’s look at the “payoffs” of complaining first. What do we gain — or hope to gain — by complaining? Complaining may get you some sympathy (for a while). It can be used to establish a sense of bonding with another person or a group (a lot of break room gossip is based on this). We may think that complaining will motivate another person to improve their behavior (it usually has the opposite effect; see below for some clues to why this is so).

But these supposed “gains” come with a high price tag. Let’s look more closely at this seemingly innocent practice:

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What’s going RIGHT?

Here’s a surprisingly powerful way to turn your circumstances around. At first glance it may appear too “simple” to work, but if practiced consistently and with sincere intent it can have a transformative effect on any “problem” condition:

Ask yourself “What’s going RIGHT in this area?” And then write out as many things as you can think of that are working, even a little bit, in this area of your life. Here’s an example to get you started:

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