Real achievers never complain about the past.
Complaining is a form of self-talk in the science of communication. When you experience a situation you dislike, you can hear a voice inside your head talking negatively. If it is an experience you want to learn from, the voice will be talking positively. It is easy to differentiate between the two.
Once I asked a client to stop complaining. I said that each time I hear her whining about how her friends are not being supportive or how her boyfriend is giving her a hard time or even complain about the weather, I will charge her LE 100 instantly. Result: She started to talk only about her future.
When you focus on the future, you see opportunities. On the contrary, when you look back you only see obstacles. Henry Ford once said that “obstacles are those frightful things you see when we take your eyes off your goal”. Do you think he didn’t have challenges throughout his life? He did, but he didn’t whine about them. Ford understood the importance of focusing on goals. It takes away any distractions and helps identify disguised opportunities.
To change your complaining behavior, you must have a specific goal to focus on and a positive attitude.
Let me share a story about attitude that has always inspired me. There was a famous opera singer called Ernestine Shumann-Heink. Madame Heink was considered one of the most famous Opera singers of all time. A reporter once asked her about an incident she had experienced early in her life.
Madame Heink was a little girl with no money and no future. She went to the director of Vienna Opera House and asked for a job in the chorus. He looked straight into the little girl’s innocent eyes and told her with a very gruff voice: “You want to become an opera singer? You must be crazy. Look at yourself. You better buy a sewing machine and get a real job. And forget about becoming an opera singer.”
Madame Heink never forgot this incident. When the reporter brought it up, she smiled at him and said: “In my early days I swept floors to save money for my singing lessons. While I was doing that I only had one picture in my mind. I saw myself on the stage singing and everyone was admiring me for my performance.”
Like Madame Heink, you too must direct your thoughts towards the future you want to have.
But there is an important connection between your reaction to situations and your future. Your future depends on your attitude.
You need to have a very specific goal that you strive to achieve. Once your goal is set, your attitude will protect you from those who constantly say “you can’t”.
Another key factor for any achievement in life is “the ability to take action”. You often talk to your friends about great ideas and the next thing you know, someone else has done it.
Why? Because you failed to take action, while someone else was turning this idea into a reality.
People acquire the habit of complaining because they don’t have real goals to keep them busy. There’s a huge difference between wishful thinking and day-dreaming and real goals that we burn all bridges to reach.
Having the right attitude, setting solid goals and taking affirmative action will change your life forever.
Karim El-Shakankiry is an internationally renowned life coach, motivator and public speaker. He is the founder of “yesUcan” organization for personal and corporate coaching based in Montreal, Canada. He is the first to introduce life coaching in the Middle East and is the president of the Arab Coaching Federation.