Recently I found myself complaining and criticizing an event I attended. It was so easy to get worked up, agitated and negative. I was frustrated and critical the rest of the evening about everything, and as a result, I didn’t sleep well!
The next day, reflecting on how I responded to that situation, I realized it wasn’t one of my finer moments. The complaining fed the negativity, the negativity fueled further criticism, and downward the spiral went. I was caught in a vicious cycle!
Further reflection took me down the path of asking myself, “what could I do about any of the things which were upsetting me?” The things that caused me to complain in the first place were way beyond my control. What a waste of time and energy for me to get so worked up about that something so insignificant! And more importantly, what right did I really have to criticize others?
I was reminded of Matthew 7: 1-5: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
In business, how do people feel about those co-workers, managers, vendors, or customers that spend most of their time criticizing and complaining? They are the people that others want to work with the least. What does that cost them? How much turnover do they have on their team? How does their attitude impede their ability to maximize their earnings, and their ability to rise to senior leadership roles?
No matter how “justified” I felt at the time of this incident, my attitude was self-defeating. Criticism is like a drug. It gives us a false sense of power over people and situations that we can’t control. And ultimately, it accomplishes nothing.
Criticism is a habit that we need to break, and it starts with a commitment to personal excellence. Today’s the absolute best day to make this commitment.