I am in the process of observing Lent. I love taking time throughout my day to try to become a better and more spiritual person through the practice of sacrifice. For those of you who gave up chocolate, beer, or something lame like chewing gum, I’m here to tell you that I’ve upped the ante. I decided to give up complaining. That’s right, complaining. And, it is a daily struggle. Complaints are so commonplace in our language that they are almost like sentence fillers. Phrases such as “I can’t stand it when….” “It annoys me when…” “It gets on my nerves when” They curl around the tongue and shoot out and litter the air sucking all of the good energy that’s out there. It has been astonishing to me to become aware of the number of times I want to complain about something throughout the day. I’m biting my tongue to the point where there are indentations in it. Calm yourself-I’m just joking.
What does giving up complaining have to do with personal finance? In my view, a lot. It clearly affects the way that people view me. I would like to think that I’m a pretty fun person to be around, but, given the number of times I’ve caught myself about to complain I wondered how am I perceived by my friends and colleagues? I’ve known the majority of them for a LONG time. We get a long really well and bump a long like a slightly crazy family that is traveling across the U.S. in a tiny minivan. Has this behavior affected my supervisor’s willingness to add certain duties to my job? To allow me to be a “face” of the organization in certain situations? Do my friends cringe at the thought of hanging out for too long?
Has complaining on a regular basis kept me from seeing the good in a situation? Or kept me from being grateful for what I have? There is power in being self-aware and not adding to all of the bad energy that floats out there. As I work on my finances I’m finding that for me getting my money together is more about clearing out the thoughts in my head and getting all of my thoughts and actions aligned for I what I want for myself: happiness, love, and prosperity.
Randy Pausch who wrote the amazing book The Last Lecture, said the following about complaining, ““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.” If you haven’t read this book walk, no RUN, to the nearest bookstore or library and get this book. Or just upload it onto your Kindle. Mr. Pausch’s strength will humble you.
As I move further into the Lenten season I hope to actively put my best foot forward at all times. To be a lot more self aware as I go through my day and deal with people. I’m not perfect, and I’m not trying to be some holier than thou person who’s really annoying. I am trying to become a better version of myself. So I leave you with a few questions: Do you complain about stupid stuff throughout your day? How do you think this habit affects you personally and professionally? Would you like to change this habit? How would you go about making this change?
I’ve noticed that for some reason I feel happier. Maybe because I’m turning that frown upside down? I’ll let you know if I continue feeling this happy towards the end of Lent.
By the way-I’m not Catholic. I just love Lent.