One of my favourite quotes is, “If you want to change the world, start in the home.” As Canadians, we have this real knack for small talk and light complaining. “Oh, I hate this weather”, is almost ingrained into our culture. We may as well put “hating weather” into the hobbies section of our resumes. But with this culture of small complaints, comes a bigger problem of complaining at work.
Here’s a little psychology experiment you can do on your friends and family. We challenge you to make a small complaint about something work-related, like “Bob is always stealing my diet coke out of the fridge and it’s so annoying.” Then follow it up with a simple question, “How is work going with you?” You’ve now planted the seed. Sit back and watch what you have done unfurl before your very eyes – a fellow complaint will likely flow from their lips straight into your ears.
Why has complaining become relatable? A level of unhappiness at work is a common problem. We’ve all dreaded going into work from time to time. Perhaps a client has been in a foul mood or maybe you just don’t get along well with a co-worker. But guess what, happiness is a CHOICE.
Now before you roll your eyes and say, “well, easier said than done”, hear us out. Did you know that we have negative thoughts hundreds of times a day? By allowing these thought patterns into our heads, we condition ourselves to only listen to the negative. Being negative, in addition to being unproductive, impacts our lives in countless ways.
We limit our thinking. By concentrating on the negative, we drown out the positive and stop responding to it.
We develop perfectionistic attributes. We start believing that “great” isn’t as good as “perfect”. This creates all kinds of problems like mental health issues, stress, anxiety and depression. No one can attain perfection – there’s no such thing. When these feelings go unchecked, they can be quite disastrous.
We can develop/create poor relationships. Being negative can make you insecure and a negative outlook can deter friends or co-workers from wanting to interact with you.
So, what do we do? We must wake up every day and make a choice to be happy. We must look at the things in our life and assess them by asking ourselves if they bring us joy? If the answer is no, it doesn’t bring joy, then the solution is that we must make conscious decisions to either change it or leave it. If your job doesn’t fulfill you, you should find another. If a friendship doesn’t feel like a two-way street, we should maturely depart from it. Happy people transfer happiness onto other people. Like I said earlier, if you want to change the world, you have to start in your own home first.