“This is a terrible place to work!” “My boss is an idiot!” “I hate my job!”
We hear these complaints all the time, and we know how it affects us to hear them. We might join the complaint train, we might feel sadness and empathy, or we might even try to argue.
But let’s think for a minute about what it means to the person who SAYS these things.
When I say these negative statements, it takes an idea or feeling that might have been vague, and makes it more concrete. If I am dissatisfied with my job but then declare to someone that I “hate” it, I’ve now created in my own mind the image that is attached to a very strong, powerful emotion.
It then becomes easier to tell more people that I “hate” my job, because I’ve actually started adjusting my internal compass around this concept. Now I more deeply believe what I’ve said, and it becomes harder to change my mind.
Suppose my boss actually does something good for me. If I’ve declared to myself and others that I “hate” my job, I would have a lot of work to convince myself that it actually can be good. It’s inconsistent with my internal view, so I’m just likely to reject this new information, or dismiss it with cynicism.
After I’ve declared to myself and others that I “hate” my job, I’m going to eventually have to do something about it. After all, others will view me as a fool if I stay in a job I hate. So now I’ve created a bunch of tension inside myself because of this inconsistency – especially if I feel trapped in the job.
What am I proposing? That you go around declaring that you’re happy and satisfied, even when you don’t believe it?
That can work sometimes. In fact, if you’re constantly looking for what’s good in your life, you’re more likely to find it. And every time you tell someone else about something good, you’ve given them – and yourself – some positive reinforcement which generates energy.
But it’s not always possible. There’s lots of things to worry about, many ways that things are going wrong. Ignoring the reality creates its own kind of internal tension and even leads you to hiding from the world.
In that case, talk and think positively about what you’re DOING about problems. Get others inspired to make a difference along with you.
Not only will you make a difference in the world, but it will change the way you think about your life.
by Carl Dierschow