Turn complaints into commitments

People complain because something that matters to them isn’t going as they expected. Instead of owning that unmet expectation and sharing how much it matters to them, they complain. Complaints indicate what people care about most.

When you complain, ask yourself: “What is it that I really care about that is not happening here?”
When someone else is complaining, think “How are they being disappointed?”

Listen into the complaint. Words like “shoulds”, “oughts”, and other assumption language can help you recognize their expectation/ disappointment. These are things that the complainer is committed to. Complaints about others coming late might be indicating a commitment to punctuality.

We may not even realize how committed we are to a certain expectation, until it goes unfulfilled, gets disappointed, or is offended in some way.

Frame your complaints as commitments. “This is very important to me.” If you really can’t do anything about it, why complain (your complaining won’t make someone any more punctual)? And if it is something that is your circle of control, show your commitment to it and do something.

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