1 Thing You Can Do This Week to Improve Your Chances

Stop Complaining

I know you’ve heard this many times—even by this simple writer.

But I would like you to consider it as a personal life choice and a means of procuring survival.

Complaining takes a very ugly route—a four-step decline into stinky doo-doo.

  1. Life sucks.
  2. You suck.
  3. God sucks.
  4. I suck because I’m stuck.

As you can see, with each new step, deeper and deeper depression sets in, until finally the complete sense of doom makes us feel we’re at the mercy of all circumstance.

Now, simply telling someone not to complain is like encouraging a friend on a diet not to eat too much. It often increases the temptation, and therefore sinks the ship of possibility.

I’m not trying to get you to stop complaining cold turkey.

I’m telling you to back your way out of it.

When you start thinking “you suck because you’re stuck,” just change the complaint to a statement—a simple one:

“This is the crux of what is really bothering me.”

You will be surprised, if you chase the bird to the tree, how much easier it is to see it.

So once you’ve made the statement—and it does not have to be happy or friendly—then change that statement to a memory.

In other words:

“Maybe God doesn’t suck. Maybe there was a time I was in just as bad a state as I am now and survived it. When did that happen? Do I have a memory of being victorious in any situation that was as horrible as this?”

If you can come up with a statement of what’s bothering you, deciding that you no longer suck, and then spark a memory of when you overcame, then therefore God doesn’t suck—and you might be able to change that memory to sharing.

Find one person among all those people that you think suck and tell him or her about your predicament.

Share about your complaint, how you found out what was at the heart of it, and how you came up with a memory of something you pursued before which succeeded—hence, “you’re not a little weenie.”

Yes, take the memory of being redeemed and share your hope.

So change your statement of dissatisfaction into a memory of overcoming your dilemma, and present that memory to another human being.

After this, you just might be ready to change your sharing into planning.

Said plainly:

“It turns out that life doesn’t suck. It just picks on people who expect everything to come their way.”

So you find yourself complaining: “Life sucks, you suck, God sucks and I suck.”

Here’s the counter:

  • Change that complaining to a statement
  • Statement to memory
  • Memory to sharing
  • And sharing to launching a great plan.

Complaining.

Best suggestion? Back off.

That’s often really good advice.

And not just for when you’re out chasing a serial killer with a squirt gun.

 

Fat Chance … August 10, 2012

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I have a terrific idea. (Forgive me–I guess what I should say is that I have an idea. Let me present it to you and you can determine its merits.)

It’s a concept for a new diet. Since dieting itself has fallen under severe criticism, I have come up with a plan which is practical in its application and simple in its proving. Here it is: since America is getting more obese all the time, what I am going to do is work on maintaining my present weight, and very soon the country will catch up with me and I will end up, poundage wise, in the middle of the pack and therefore it will appear I have lost weight. Then people will look at me and comment, “My goodness gracious, Mr. Cring. You don’t look nearly as big as you once did.” I will be free of the stigma of obesity, admired for my diligent efforts–although unfortunately, my health and portability will not have improved in the slightest.

Although I present this little scenario tongue-in-cheek (please don’t go out and apply it) it does seem to resemble the way we try to solve problems in our country. It is this penchant human beings persist in pursuing when trying to find a one-size-fits-all garment to cover all the inadequacies of our fellow-man. I don’t know when it started. There is a little nasty streak in all of us that believes “if I can do it, why can’t you?” For instance, for every cigarette-smoking slender person who shakes his or her head, wondering why I don’t lose weight, I, in turn, purse my lips and frown over why he or she can’t get off of nicotine.

It just doesn’t help matters. It reminds me of one night when I was at a fellowship with friends and one of the attendees became frustrated because an acquaintance was unable to find employment and was mooching off of those around him to survive.

“Why don’t you go out and get a job?” he screamed at the offender.

The man remained calm and replied, “I have made a job out of trying to get a job–except I don’t get paid for it.”

We often don’t understand one another’s difficulties, so it’s no wonder we haven’t taken the time to learn each other’s potentials.

As I have traveled this nation in 2012, I am learning how to become valuable to my human friends. I’m not always successful, but I am trying to comprehend the variety of ways that I can offer my services without becoming overly zealous and interfering. It is not easy. But I have discovered four ideas that I would like to share with you–because honestly, there is a fat chance that you’ll be able to help anyone if you start out by believing you are better than they are. So here are my suggestions:

1. What is my friend’s point of excellence? Excellence for me and excellence for the next guy is different. If I try to apply my concept of prosperity and personal growth onto everybody else, I will destroy them and on the way to that destruction, I will frustrate them from ever wanting to be around me. Finding their point of excellence is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself AND them. If they are mentally challenged, it may just be discovering that their excellence is being able to perform simple duties and take care of themselves. For some young people, excellence does not mean going to college, but rather, developing a trade or finding a way to apprentice into a business, to secure a sense of accomplishment and wage. Take a few minutes and find what the point of excellence is for your acquaintance in need–or do them a favor and leave them alone.

2. How can I help my friend get started? Don’t give people a plan. It is condescending and often mean, especially if they are unable to follow the intracacies of your pattern. Help folks find a way to get started. It’s the greatest thing you can do. Once they are started, let them find the impetus, the evolutions, the direction and the energy to continue–or walk away from the start-up.

3. How should we celebrate weekly progress? I will tell you that many a venture has been destroyed by celebrating too soon–or failing to acknowledge the increments of movement forward. They have to decide when to celebrate. It won’t be, up to you, but rather, up to the people participating to determine when they feel they have achieved a level of credential that is worthy of a party.

4. And finally, when do I back off and when do I back up? As you can probably tell, this one is huge. To everything there is a season. If they are trying to quit smoking, reminding them every week of their plight will certainly drive them back into the pits of tar. By the same token, failing to notice the signals of when our friends are yearning for support and exhortation can be discouraging to them, making them wonder if you have stopped caring. Actually, the answer on when to back off and when to back up from a project is fairly easy to understand. If there is no question in the air, an answer should not be provided. If your friend is not requesting new information or sharing his plight and seeking counsel, offering such advice will certainly scare him away from pursuing his dream, and will end up making him feel diminished. I often receive emails from people explaining their present circumstances, but nowhere in the message will there be a question. To offer counsel without inquiry is not only to intrude, but also to frighten people away from mountain-climbing.

So returning to my original, comical suggestion about weight loss, I will tell you this: like every other human being born since Adam, I will finally get to the business of changing my life when I am weary of my life unchanged. What you can do for me is:

  • Help me find my personal excellence.
  • Give me a place to start.
  • Celebrate with me when I have small victories, even though you may not understand them.
  • And back off when I’m frustrated; back me up when I’m trying my darndest.

Becoming valuable–it really is the practical application of the philosophy, “NoOne is better than anyone else.”

 

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