I’d like to complain less. Well, it might not be that I want to complain less so much as I want to have less to complain about… But, seriously, I think there are two kinds of complaining. One is completely pointless–just a way for the complainer to vent.

But there is another way to look at complaining. Especially when it might lead to positive change. Think about Henry Ford’s first car. If no one had said, “This thing’s kinda slow, Hank,” then he may not have pushed to give the Model T a little more giddy-up.

So, if I do choose to complain, I want to complain effectively. For example, I was recently griping to a supervisor about an inefficiency in our system. After the meeting, I went and fixed it. I could’ve just fixed it quietly, but sometimes stating the problem helps me see the solution.

It’s good to have a team that allows this kind of exploration, but I would prefer to think through the issues that arise and find the solutions quietly whenever possible.

If there were an equation, it might look like this:

Discomfort + Griping = Problem


Discomfort + Thought = Solution

So, to improve, I will challenge myself to say less and think more in order to increase productivity. I will further strive to eliminate venting–a practice that often occurs in the presence of a person who isn’t listening in the first place. When it comes down to it, who really wants to blather on and on to someone who couldn’t care less?

photo: Kevin Butz