A gentle nudge doesn’t always get you moving in the right direction. Sometimes what you really need, is a punch to the throat. And you’re in luck! Today I’m handing out mint chocolate chip ice cream cones and throat-punches, and, as the saying goes, I’m all out of ice cream cones.
Normally I’m well mannered and delicately put you on the path of least resistance to reach your goals. “Yes, go this way, please. Careful. Don’t trip.”
Sometimes that approach is beautifully effective. Other times, it’s not. Sometimes it’s best not to be polite or soft spoken. Sometimes a more aggressive approach is needed and, when that time arises, well …
Prepare, my friend, to receive a proverbial throat-punch.
Guess what: We complain too much. I know I do, because I discovered that recently. (I read A Complaint Free World and was astounded to realize how much I complain every day. I suggest you check out this short book on the topic: Click here to grab a cheap copy; that’s an affiliate link. I dare you to take the no-complaint challenge posed in the book: Go 21 days without complaining. It’s significantly more challenging than you realize, and you’ll likely make the same sobering discovery I did: you complain more than you realize.)
We complain about things we have zero control over, like the weather. Why? We can groan and moan all we want but it won’t make the heat dissipate or the snow melt.
But we also complain when we can influence the situation. And, dear friend, I have discovered the secret to handling these situations.
I present to you the incredibly easy two-step system for positive change:
Step 1: Shut up
Step 2: Do something
It would do us all some good (yes, I’m definitely speaking to myself, too) to shut up and do something.
How to Effectively Shut Up, and Do Something
Let’s take some common complaints (several of my own included) people make on a daily basis and apply the two-step shut up and do something method.
You hate to see animals abused or abandoned. Shut up and do something like donate to a reputable charity, adopt a pet, or volunteer at a shelter.
You feel like crap and have low energy. Change your eating habits and move your body. Get your butt in bed earlier. You know these things are important. Shut up, and do them.
You’re bored. Read a book or pick up a new hobby. Either way, shut up and do something.
The event you planned didn’t work out perfectly. Yes, shut up and do something, but also: screw perfection.
You want, and need, to boost your savings account. Ruthlessly cut expenses. Enroll in automatic deposits. Stop replacing things that work perfectly fine. (No, in fact, you do not “need” the newest smartphone.)
You’re tired of watching people live their lives on TV while you’re just passing time and not living yours to the fullest. Shutty, and then cancel your television package. (This is brutally effective at forcing you to do things.)
You hate seeing other people get treated unfairly. Commit to leaving each person you interact with a little better than when you saw them. Speak up when people are being mistreated (this an example of when you should not shut up).
A certain strength training exercises causes pain or discomfort. Shut up, stop doing that exercise, and do one that does not cause pain. You can always do something.
That maniac on the road is driving too fast and is going to kill us all and, hey look!, that idiot over there is driving painfully slow and is going to cause a 50-car pile up on the highway. Just, shut up. You can’t really do anything other than stay calm and practice safe driving habits.
You hate where you live. Make it better by choosing to focus on what you can do where you live, or move. Either way, shut up, and do something.
You “don’t have time!” to do A, B, C, D, and definitely not E. Correction: What you mean is you choose not to make time to do those things. (Remind me, again, the latest show you binge-watched on Netflix?)
Your coworkers annoy you. You can’t change people, but you can control how you act toward them and you can choose to see the best in that person. Focus on the awesomeness within (no matter how small), encourage it, and watch them flourish.
You’re constantly complaining about the diet you’re on and the list of foods you can’t eat. For one, stop dieting. And, yes, shutty.
Someone made a mistake with the paperwork at the DMV. Realize that people make mistakes and instead of griping ask calmly what can be done to solve the problem and ask what you can do to help. These people are used to getting yelled out; you’ll be surprised how quickly they can solve a problem if you’re calm and rational.
You don’t have time to work out. Yes you do. (See above on choosing to make time.) It’s true that you may not have time to work out four days per week for an hour each session, but you can do something. You may have to work out at home with bodyweight exercises or use minimalist-type routines that don’t take much time to complete.
The shut up and do something method is simple: Instead of complaining about something or someone do something productive.
I’ve been embracing this advice over the past several weeks (some of the examples above are mine), and that’s why I’m sharing it with you now. I finally decided to shut up and do something.
The next time you start complaining ask yourself: What can I do to change this situation? If you can do something, do it. If you can’t, don’t complain because it’s out of your control.
There. Hopefully that punch to the throat wasn’t too terribly painful.
Join me, will you? Let’s all shut up and do something. Now is a great time to start.
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