Lots of interesting talks lately with the other half. A particular comment that struck was that there are a lot of people considering taking large steps in their life but not actually taking them. Makes sense, mid-life crises are built around finally having the time to be introspective. Likely have a career, kids are not requiring 24/7, most finance/health items are under control. All of a sudden you have time to think.
Yet, while people are often stuck in the rut of complaining about something rather than taking action. They are paralyzed in the “what if” scenario. That, perhaps, with motivation the external factors will change into a positive one. That the next roll of the dice, or lottery ticket won’t be a bad one and they will strike it rich. Rather than simply picking up and stop playing the game entirely.
Don’t get me wrong, no one can succeed in life alone. I am far removed from being hard-ass to the point where other people around me have to follow my way or get out of my way. I truly believe that everyone is good at something. It’s just that often people are not doing the thing they are good at. And people will not simply take an external voice and agree to change – that has to be driven internally.
I used to see this particular psychologist and she articulated the mindset with a single question. “What’s likely to happen, and can you live with it?” The person that’s 300lbs and is wondering what to do.. well, they either going to be healthier and live longer, or they are just going to stay obese. Is it harder to eat better and take a walk, or struggle to get out of bed and use the washroom? The person in an unhappy relationship, counselling either improves communication and the other party wants to succeed, or it solidifies the fact that there’s no salvage to be had. Either way, it’s better than waking up to someone you don’t get along with.
The older I get, the more I realize how I fit into the spectrum of “let it be” and “let’s do something”. In the wide majority of situations, I want to do something, and I want to do it with other people. If those other people don’t want to, I won’t go around convincing them… I’ll either do it myself, or find other people to do it with. I feel much better looking in the mirror and saying that I at least tried to make a positive change, compared to just complaining.
Not to say that people aren’t allowed to blow off some steam. There are times when things get just right under the skin for a short period and you just have to deal with it. But we all know plenty of folks who have been singing the same tune for months/years and nothing to show for it. If they are stuck in talking about all the things wrong and never thinking about what control they have over improving things…I’m finding that my relationships with those people are getting frayed.
Introspective post that’s a mix of all over the place. That’s the reason this blog exists, letting me put some structure to the thoughts. Hopefully it has a similar impact on readers.
tldr; don’t complain or ignore, do something for positive change
I like that psychologist’s question, going to keep that in my back pocket from now on.
In my youth, I had a tendency to do what you said above, vent and complain about any unhappy state of affairs, which was usually a lot of things. I credit one of my bosses who slowly but steadily cut the habit out from under my feet by challenging me to put up or shut up. “Well, what do -you- propose then?” They’d say.
Taken aback, I had to think on my feet really quickly to push and articulate the uncomfortable hunches that prompted those complaints into, as you said, what’s likely to happen if we do it -this- way, and how about doing it -that- way, or even this other third route, and here are the pros and cons of all three possible paths.
Ie. make sure you pair those complaints with some positive/constructive solutions or alternatives.
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That is the exact same approach I use. Letting people think a bit, then helping them through that change… that’s some good stuff.