Quit moaning about things!

Doesn’t it just piss you off when people moan about stuff?

Maybe it’s a British thing, but people like nothing better than a good moan. I spent 18 months working at a University with over 3,000 employees. I hadn’t worked in such a big organisation since I left EY in 1993. It was incredible, moaning and complaining about stuff seemed to be the norm for so many. Yet no-one that complained ever did anything to make things better. They just complained.

They call these kind of people ‘Mood Hoovers’ – they suck all of the energy and positivity from you.

Gary Vaynerchuk is not everyone’s cup of tea, and there is a bit of swearing in this video, but he makes a very good point.

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, what should we do about stuff we’re not happy with? My friend Lauren Currie made a good point in a talk she gave at DJCAD recently. Lauren’s message was that you need to stop complaining about stuff – no more than 3 times is reasonable. After that, do something about it, don’t just complain. I think 3 times is being generous to be honest.

The question then becomes – How do we fix it?

I grew up in the business world of the 80s & 90s, and the mantra back then was ‘it’s not a problem, it’s a solution opportunity!’ or ‘don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions!’. And by doing that, we got stuff done.

But was that the best way to do it, to make change happen? I don’t believe so.

You see, I believe in the power of the group. I believe in collaboration; that by working on problems together we will get a better outcome. In fact, I believe that we need to challenge the problem before we start doing any of that!

Why do I say that? Well, it may just be that the problem you’re trying to solve isn’t the right one. It may just be the manifestation of a bigger, much deeper-rooted problem. So all you’re doing is fixing the effect, not the cause.

Here’s my 7 stage process for solving problems: –

  1. STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT STUFF!!! Yes, I’m shouting 🙂
  2. Create an environment where you can share the stuff that frustrates you. That could be a group of friends (like the awesome CMA Community that I’m a part of), it could be your fellow students at University, or it could be in your business. Whatever, just make sure you do this.
  3. Bring your problems and frustrations to the group. Working together, analyse what’s gone wrong and try to get to the bottom of the problem. What’s the real reason why things aren’t working?
  4. Start generating ideas for how it could be improved. At this stage, no idea is a bad idea – it’s more important that you just think of as many ways as possible of making a difference.
  5. Using these ideas, work together to design a solution(s) that will solve the problem.
  6. Prototype and then test these solutions. Gather feedback, and iterate.
  7. Implement the final solution. Problem solved!

Now you may be reading this and saying ‘that’s all very well, but how am I supposed to do this when I work for the NHS [insert any other behemoth]?’

I refer you to Ghandi, who said this:


Back to GaryVee’s video to close. He might swear a lot, but he does talk a lot of sense. We have a choice – we can either choose to moan and complain, or we can choose to take action. The latter makes a difference to the world, and it’s a lot more fun!

What’s stopping you?

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