Complaining Has Nothing to Do with Your Problems
Ask yourself: What went right?
Life is unfair to everyone. Everyone gets their fair share of unfairness. How about that?
If you understand that life is unfair, life seems pretty fair.
If you feel like life should be fair, then it seems incredibly unfair.
This is an example of something that I talked about in a previous post:
There is a logical fallacy that was first articulated by Scottish philosopher David Hume that is called the “Is-ought problem” (aka Hume’s Law). This fallacy explains a common flaw that taints logic in which people base their reality on what they think it should be, rather than what is. The more this concept is understood, the more prevalent it seems.
Entering your day with the expectation that because you had a plan, everything should go according to plan is blatantly setting yourself up for disappointment. When things don’t go according to plan, it seems like an even bigger deal than what it is.
Let me give you a scenario:
Say you are on your way to a birthday party and your car breaks down. Since you have to wait for help, you end up being late to the party.
One way to deal with this situation is to think, “Man, I was supposed to be at the party by now, but instead, I’m here waiting for AAA to come and help me! This day sucks!”
Your attachment to what should’ve been lingers in your mind long after you get help and get to the party. You arrive to the party and are so stuck on the fact that you were late. You tell everyone at the party about how bad your day was because of your car. Now, not only are you late to the party, but you brought bad vibes with you.
I have a secret for you: there is not a soul on Earth who wants to listen to you complain.
Nope, not even your mama.
Even other complainers would rather complain than listen to someone else complain. Complaining is 100% a personal indulgence.
An hour-long deviation from your original plan could be a total inconvenience, for sure. But does it mean the other 23 hours sucked? Or are you choosing to focus on the one thing that went wrong and taint the other 23 hours with your negativity?
What a lot of people fail to realize is that when things aren’t going wrong, they are going right. It’s not like life is neutral until you are inconvenienced — the only way that things can go wrong is if they were going right before.
Let’s go back to my scenario.
Although your car troubles have thrown you off track from your plan for the day, think about all that had to go right in order for you to experience that inconvenience.
First of all, you woke up that morning. You woke up in your safe, comfortable bed. You had clothes to put on your body. You had a home to walk out of. You had a car to get into. You had loved ones to invite you places. You live in a country that has roads and traffic laws. You live in a place and time where services like AAA exist, and you have a phone and enough money to give you access to these services.
Each thing I just listed counts as a WIN. If you didn’t wake up that morning, it would be terrible! If you had no clothes to wear, that would suck! So why not celebrate every day that that part goes right?
These examples seem like small things that you may feel entitled to, but even this sense of entitlement signifies that you are blessed with a high quality of life.
Left to your own devices, would you even have clothes to put on? Would you have a house to walk out of? Would you have a car to get into?
Unless you’re a seamstress, construction worker, or an automobile engineer, the answer is probably no.
Because all of these items were made through the knowledge and labor of other people, you are not entitled to them. You are actually lucky that you get to benefit from having these luxuries in this life.
By the same statistics that had you end up with such a privileged life, there are people who don’t experience the same daily wins that you are so used to. There are people who really are left to their own devices; who don’t have clothes to wear, a house for shelter, or a car to get them away from their situation. There are people that, to them, your life is something that is beyond their dreams.
There are people who would squeal with excitement at the concept of a house that had no chance of being blown away by a storm. People who would get tears in their eyes from finally being served a hot meal. People who would pray that their children’s children could have a life like yours.
Imagine a world where people appreciated when things went right, rather than just expecting that things should go right, and then getting disappointed when they don’t.
What if people allowed their everyday blessings to make them happy? Why dwell on the one thing that went wrong?
I frequently hear people talk about how bad their day was. Do you know how much would have to go wrong for your whole day to actually be bad?
What if I told you that “bad days” happen completely in your head?
If you choose to dwell on the one or few things that went wrong and think about them all day, it’ll feel like your whole day was bad because you chose to think negatively all day, therefore prolonging the bad feeling that was associated with the thought of whatever went wrong, so that it lasts all day.
You know how when you have a stuffy nose, you suddenly appreciate having a clear one? Why do we wait for things to stop working in our favor before we appreciate them?
Rather than feeling entitled to everything that goes right, why not infuse each moment that you aren’t experiencing pain and suffering with joy? Why ignore your blessings, stay indifferent, and wait until something lets you down?
There are people who go through hell and back and still put a smile on their face because they don’t want to add any more negativity to the world than what is being thrown at them.
There are people who just have to complain because they look around at all the people who choose to be positive and think, “well they must have no problems.”
Complaining isn’t a reflection of how many problems you have; complaining is a reflection of how entitled you feel, your lack of understanding of how the world works, and your attachment to what you think should be.
Positivity compounds. The more people who show gratitude for everything that goes right, the higher our happiness as a people, and ultimately our overall quality of life.
Cut the ties with what should’ve been and appreciate whatever’s not going wrong in the present moment.
Have a blessed day.