Excuses, complaining and the many reasons for why things are the way they are just don’t matter.
Choosing to take action are the only answer.
This idea is hot on my mind. The last two months I’ve chosen a new way of being. Zero complaining. Zero excuses. I’m certainly no saint on a high throne.
I’ve had a handful of “zero” days that I fist pump proudly about, trying to recreate each day. I’ve had plenty of days where one, two or 20 have crept out in a day. The point isn’t perfection.
What the experiment has shown me are two things.
Awareness Leads to Decrease
For someone who calls herself an optimistic person I was doing it — this excuse making/complaining — more than I realized. Much like the solution to cleaning up your public speaking by counting the ‘ums’ when presenting by having someone ring a bell every time you say it, the same applies with excuse making and complaining.
You never realize how much you do it until you start counting. And then with that awareness, you start correcting it immediately. I no longer tolerate within myself complaining behavior as a normal way of operating. With that new awareness and intolerance, I have decreased it considerably.
Here’s a recent example. A petty but perpetual complaint that runs on loop in my mind and out of my mouth is the heat. We live in Phoenix. Average summer temp this year: 110 degrees. Like an old man who has hemorrhoids, bad knees and watches Fox news on repeat all day, I’m cranky about it and an unpleasant person to be around at times.
There are only three options to choose from a) Embrace and accept it. b) Put an action plan together for being elsewhere the entire summer next year. Or c) Move to another city.
Anything else is madness and counts as complaining and making excuses for why it is the way it is.
Our finite brain space is too precious for wasting on woe is me.
Zero Tolerance. Good or Bad Thing?
The other thing about this experiment is I no longer have patience for others who complain and make excuses. Increasingly, it’s people I never noticed it with before who constantly complain or make excuses for their choices.
I often wonder if that’s making me a bad friend or impatient with others. Perhaps. But life is about choices. Make a choice. Then accept the consequences that come with that choice — the good, the bad… everything. Otherwise, make a different choice.
Solutions are the answer.
I recommend you read an old post from VC and former CEO, Ben Horowitz Nobody Cares. He talks about his days as CEO of Loudcloud when they weren’t hitting numbers. He was feeling sorry for himself and he discovered this revelatory idea.
One former NFL coach telling another who was wondering whether they can win given all the injuries across his players,and all the reasons why that was why they wouldn’t do well.
Al Davies says to Bill Parcells, “Bill, nobody cares. Just coach your team.”
“That might be the best CEO advice ever. Because, you see, nobody cares. When things go wrong in your company, nobody cares. The press doesn’t care, your investors don’t care, your board doesn’t care, your employees don’t care, even your mama doesn’t care. Nobody cares,” says Horowitz.
I emphatically agree with Ben here.
The moral of the story: Move on. Get over it. Just go run your company. Live your life. Make the choices that need to be made for progress. Get uncomfortable and do your best, despite the damn heat.
If you liked this, please recommend it and it’ll let me know what’s resonating, plus more people will see it. I appreciate you taking the time to pass it along.
A former software exec turned turned brand strategist, startup advisor and 3x entrepreneur, Kathy writes about leadership, personal development and entrepreneurship through her weekly email where this was first published athttp://www.kathysacks.com.