Don’t complain about the complainer. Try to help first.

Gossiping, complaining, ranting – call it what you want, but it’s all toxic. It doesn’t make you feel good inside and it doesn’t make others around you feel good. When you try to make a conscious effort to refrain from negative conversations, you may come to realize that it’s actually a lot harder than you think. Our closest friends, colleagues and family members that we talk with everyday might be “that” person and you might be the person that they go to with all their problems. And sometimes you might be the complainer. How do you stop the madness? I think the challenge we are all faced with is finding the strength to address the negativity. So how do we do it?

First, I think we have to understand where the person is coming from. I thought back to some negative conversations I’ve recently been in and tried to think of what was the underlying core reason why this person was so upset that they had an urge to complain about it to someone. If we understood this, we can better prepare ourselves to address it.

Not Happy

When we’re not happy with ourselves, we tend to complain about others. You should know what I’m talking about because we’ve all probably done it at some point in our lives.  I was in a recent conversation where a friend of mine was badgering another person on their choices in life. “I can’t believe they did this,” or “I think that was such a poor choice and I am so disappointed,” and in reality, the decisions made by the person they were complaining about had zero effect on my friend. So why complain about it? Who cares? I started thinking about my friend that was doing the complaining and recall that they’ve been unhappy lately with a variety of events going on in their life. I think when this happens, we feel like we want others to be unhappy too. It’s hard to see others happy when you’re unhappy. (And being heavily involved in the social web doesn’t help much either)

The best thing to do is ask this person how they are doing. Remember specific goals or aspirations they have and ask them about it. They might list reasons on why they haven’t been able to accomplish some things and that’s when you dissect those reasons and help them overcome them.

Lack of Purpose

I was in a meeting with someone (that inspired me to write this post) where they were flustered by the fact that others were not picking up their slack. You could tell it really bothered this person. They asked, “How does this not bother you?” It took me a minute to answer but when I answered, I realized the reason why this person was complaining.

Slackers bother us because we’re not receiving personal fulfillment with the work we’re doing. Think about it for a second. If you went about your day, doing what you’re passionate about, making a difference and having fun – why would you care if someone else were not doing their work? The reason it bothers you is because you don’t find value in the work you’re doing. You feel like if you’re putting time in, someone else better be putting in the same amount of time and energy. For whatever reason, you feel obligated to work on something that you don’t want to work on and you want others to feel the same pain you feel.

So next time someone complains to you about a slacker, ask them this, why do you do what you do? Redirect their attention to self-reflection. If this person can find true fulfillment with what they are doing everyday, they might forget about what others are doing (or not doing). And if they aren’t, then maybe this will start motivating them to get going on something they actually want to do. This is only better for the world out there (can you imagine the level of productivity?)

Making Assumptions

I’ll use myself for this example (not gonna lie – I’ve done my share of complaining) I’ve been in a situation being around someone that really bothered me. I think what bothered me the most about this person is that I felt like every conversation was a competition. They wanted to have the last word and they always wanted to be right (sound familiar?). It was exhausting. For me, since I am not confrontational, I held back my words but just because I did, didn’t mean I held back my thoughts. Thoughts that would carry with me all day long and all night long. My brain was so fixated on all the things ‘I could have said.’ What a waste of time and energy to be thinking about it so much. I took this person’s comments so personally. What I’ve come to realize is that this person was this way with everyone, it was who they were. Over the years I have been able to overcome this negativity by either addressing my thoughts in words in conversations with this person or just taking their words ‘with a grain of salt.’ It really takes mental exercise to remove yourself from the tiny details and view this person from a place much higher than where you’re at. I got here because my husband would always say, ‘ I think you’re thinking too much into it.’ And I totally was.

So next time you hear someone complain about the same person over and over, ask them if they are like that with everyone. Have them monitor how this person is with others and if it’s the same interaction then they’ll know it’s not personal and hopefully will start helping them overcome being so bothered.

These are just a few reasons why I think people complain and ways to redirect the conversation. Of course, some people are just naturally complainers and there’s nothing we can do about it but just avoid it. I know it’s hard when it’s someone close to you but if you’re not receiving positive fulfillment of being in that relationship, why be in it? Aren’t relationships meant to help you be a better person?

One Loss is Not the End of your Journey

I saw this interview of Lolo Jones on the Today Show yesterday morning and was so inspired by her story. We all know Lolo Jones as the track star and if you didn’t watch the Summer Olympic Games of 2012, you missed out on a heart trenching event when Lolo missed a medal, placing 4th in the 100 meter hurdles (her second straight Olympics missing a medal). And a few days prior to her event, a NY Times journalist  pretty much badgered her reputation as an athlete. I didn’t know about this article until this recent interview. She admits that after placing 4th and not receiving a medal, she went into a state of depression. And the article was a blow to her confidence (which she did respond to).

Fast forward 2 years and she is competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics with the bob sled team. She and her teammate Lauryn Williams will be the 9th and 10th athletes to have competed in both Winter and Summer Olympic Games. In her interview with the Today Show, she quotes,

“I know you can’t change the past, but knowing I hit a hurdle, got fourth place, I wouldn’t change it for the fact that I know that it led me here. It led me to meet a great group of female athletes, and we are truly united and bonded and ready to go to Sochi and dominate.”

See the video below.

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Click here to read the full article on Today.com.

Biggest Takeaway

We all have expectations of ourselves and everyone will always have expectations of us. We will fail. How we deal with failure defines who we are; it’s what builds our character. And win or lose, people will continue to criticize us and try to get us down. This is what makes us stronger. Lolo is an inspiration. She represents a true competitor.

The Power of Giving

What a wonderful short film that depicts the true power of giving. It serves as a reminder to give not to receive but to just simply give (because we truly care). Our life will unfold in ways that we don’t expect but if we’re always looking for instant fulfillment, we’ll never be fulfilled.

Wise Words from Ashton Kutcher

A friend recently tweeted out a video to Ashton Kutcher’s speech at the  Teen Choice Awards 2013. He was awarded the Ultimate Teen Choice Award and as part of his acceptance speech, he gave 3 life lessons to teens out there (yes, I watched the whole video because it was that good).

I was nodding my head in agreement when I heard his 3 life lessons. Here they are:

Opportunity is hard work.

“I never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job.”

And he didn’t always have glamorous jobs. He started doing carpentry work with his dad at 13, then on to washing dishes at a restaurant and then on to sweeping floors at a factory, etc. His point is that the job was never bigger than him and he saw each job as an opportunity for the next one.

Sexy is being smart, generous and thoughtful.

“The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart and being thoughtful and being generous;  Everything else is crap, I promise you.”

Yes! This has always been a problem for young females. We are obsessed with who is on the cover of magazines and believe that to be wanted and loved, we have to look that way. If we want to continue to feel empty, then that is fine. But to feel wholesome and confident, we have to be smart, period.

Build a life, don’t live one.

“Everything around us that we call life was made by people that are no smarter than you are. You can build your own life that other people can live in.”

I think this lesson came from the inspiration of working on the new Steve Jobs movie that he will be starring in. Imagination is a wonderful gift that slowly gets smaller and smaller as we grow older because we try to conform to the world around us. I feel that it is my job as a parent to not let that happen to my kids.

Ashton is spot on. It’s easy for our youth to get obsessed with reality TV, leaving them to believe that we are entitled to glamorous lives without working hard.  That isn’t reality and someone with a high profile like Ashton needs to tell them so. Kids need to understand that they have to work to get what they want.

Thanks (Chris) Ashton Kutcher.

My Own Advice to Some of the Recent College Grads

English: A Wikipedia globe wearing a flat grad...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I have many cousins graduating from college this year and many that will be graduating in the coming years. As I put together their graduation gifts, I can’t help but think about the advice I want to give them. It has been 8 years since I walked that stage and my life has unfolded in a way that I didn’t plan but I wouldn’t have wanted it any different. If I were to give any advice to college grads, it would be these 3 things:

 

Your degree is not the one thing that will make you successful, you need experience.

 

You have your degree, now what? You have to go out and conquer the world, the world will not come looking for you. I see more and more students graduating with the mindset that they will land a job instantly – that their degree is the ticket to endless opportunities. Not exactly so. A degree can qualify you for a position but not guarantee you for a position. A degree also validates the fact that you have the discipline to start and finish something – that’s it. I am not underestimating the degree because it is a huge accomplishment! Trust me, I worked 40 hours and took 18 hours of college courses my last semester – I was determined!  It just doesn’t guarantee you success in the real world – you’ve got to go out and earn it.

 

Go out and do things with purpose, not because it is expected of you.

 

You have lived all your life up to this moment trying to please your teachers, your parents, your coaches, your mentors. I am not saying that you didn’t want to go to school but let’s face it, you want to make those that supported you through the years proud, right? You are accustomed to meeting everyone else’s expectations. Now, you can use what you’ve learned to do things that have personal meaning to you. Things that will change the world in a positive way – whatever that may be. Always ask yourself “why am I doing this?” before taking on a challenge. Yes, we all need to earn money to cover your basic necessities but make sure you find a way to love what you do and find a greater meaning to your job than just a pay check. This will bring you happiness and relieve unnecessary stress.

 

Save your money now, treat yourself later.

 

You finally land a job and start seeing that paycheck come in. What? You now can treat yourself to dinner and not eat ramen noodles in your dorm room? That’s right. I know it’s hard to look into the future but your future can mean bigger responsibilities like supporting a family. Right now you have no responsibilities so you can spend all that money on yourself for immediate pleasure. I would advise saving first and then spending what you have left over on things you want. This will make your life that much easier once you decide on moving on to bigger responsibilities. Although I started my 401K early and was able to purchase my first home when I was 25 before I was married, I still wish I would had saved more money than spending it on a bunch of silly things that now mean nothing to me. (For personal finance advice, I always recommend Suze Orman books)

 

Please note: This is advice based on my own experience. I am just a manager in the business world. My advice isn’t meant to be the best advice, it’s just based on what I have learned. If it can help you, great! If you are a college grad and have other advice, please leave it in the comments.

 

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