Complain if you must, but it won’t change anything

“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.” – Maya Angelou

The definition of complain is to “express dissatisfaction or annoyance about a state of affairs or an event”.

In my 41 years here on this planet, I don’t think I’ve yet met a person who didn’t know what it means to “complain” or how to do it.

I truly believe it’s human nature to rant and rave about something which displeases us, and admittedly at times it shows how passionate we are towards the inequities of the world.

But if all we do is complain, without ever trying to change anything, where’s the benefit to humanity or to ourselves?

Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now writes, “To complain is always non-acceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim.”

Lately that’s just what I’ve turned myself into – a victim. I’ve taken every possible opportunity to “express dissatisfaction” over a situation I find myself in, but at the end of the day nothing ever changes. All my complaining has done is perpetuate the circumstance, not in any way altering its path.

While everyone needs to vent their feelings and frustrations (constructively), continually complaining about the same thing over and over will never yield a different result. I suspect that complaining is a form of defense mechanism, which saves us from having to make difficult decisions.

But all it really does is make us jaded and bitter – consumed by the consequences we have no trouble complaining about, and yet refuse to change.

Complaining is futile and counter-productive if your goal is moving on to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

Change will never be a state of comfort. It often requires the courage to make decisions, and the understanding to realize they may not work out as you’ve planned. But at the end of the day change is action, and action leads to progress, and any progress is better than doing nothing at all.

Randy Pausch once said, “Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.”