No Complaining Without Contribution

In principle: If I have not tried to make something better or if I am not willing to help make it better, I have no business complaining about it. Rather than stand outside the circle and complain about the decisions made by others, I do well to appreciate those who are willing to do the hard work of group decision making. In fact, complaining without contribution actually hurts good group decisions because it demoralizes current decision-makers and discourages potential new ones.
Practical Tip: If you are unhappy or disappointed with the decisions of your group (perhaps an organization you belong to or perhaps your government), before criticizing, first be grateful for the decision-makers' efforts. Second, try to understand their perspective, how it is different from your own, and why. Third, if your discontent is real and lasting, ask yourself, “What am I willing to do about it?” Ask yourself, “Am I willing to change my personal behavior in some way to make things better? Am I willing to somehow participate in the next round of decision making?”
A thoughtful, “I'm going to ________” followed up with action is always much more effective than a lazy, “You should ________,” or “They should ________.”

Tags: