I’ve recently been finding catching myself complaining. I complain about problems of service, about percieved defaults in programs at school, at advertisements I think are terrible, and about people who don’t live up to my expectations.
We all do this. We complain. We are complainers. Normally this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, our ability to set goals of Excellence, expectations, and to measure results helps us progress as individuals and as a society.
The key to this process however is progress. The process of complaining acheives nothing. Whether it’s in your head or in a bitch session with one or a few others, negative chatter goes nowhere unless it is acted on.
If a service or product doesn’t meet our expectations we should be enterprising. We should pick up a pen or pencil, a keyboard, or a mobile device and get our feedback to the places where it can be used to improve that product or service. As businesses begin to reach out to us consumers, we need to start reaching back. Let them know how they have failed to serve, or how their product has failed to please. You’re getting an effective release for your feelings, provided constructive value to the business, and doing yourself a favor by doing something productive.
Reflecting on this process personally is something that helps me alot. I have high expectations for myself, and when I don’t live up to them I want feedback. If it’s an exam or project, I want to know where I went wrong from my prof. If it’s a friendship or other relationship I want to know how I messed up from them. If it’s just me… I need to sit down and self-critique so that I can move forward with humility and with greater capacity to acheive excellence in the future.
If this is what I do for myself, why not do it for others?
Help the relationships you have with the world around you by providing constructive feedback in the way you yourself appreciate. Maybe the guy in the mailroom will rip it up, but maybe it will end up in the hands of an intelligent manager like yourself. You’ve created value not just for yourself, but for everyone else who enjoys that product/service/relationship in the future.
Keep your expectations, be enterprising, and help yourself and others reach for excellence in their lives and in their business.