“Complaining is finding faults. Wisdom is finding solutions.”
– Ajahn Brahm
Welcome to this week’s unpack.
Today’s quote is from popular Buddhist teacher Ajahn Brahm.
Are you a chronic complainer? It’s easy to fall into the trap of finding fault after fault in our lives, particularly when we start to compare ourselves to other people – and doesn’t social media make that so easy!
Let’s be real, most of us love to complain. It might not be publicly or even to other people, but it’s hard to deny that a complaint (whether “justified” or not) is like a cosy, warm blanket on a chilly day. It’s weirdly comforting to sit back and whine about something unfair that has happened to us or how someone behaved etc, because it doesn’t require us to do anything other than dwell in our (completely rational) righteous indignation.
The problem is, it doesn’t get us anywhere beyond where we already are.
As Jack Canfield explains in his book The Success Principles, we complain only when we believe something better exists. So, you might complain about dinner being cold, because you believe it would be more enjoyable served hot. You might complain about your house being too small because you believe your life would be better if it were larger.
But here’s the thing – knowing it could be better, identifying the problem, is only half of the equation. Anyone can find a problem, but, like Ajahn Brahm points out, wisdom comes from finding solutions.
Sometimes the solution is straightforward, but it might require us to change something, which makes it more challenging. Sometimes it might be out of our control, so we need to do what is within our control and then let go. There is always a solution and often it requires us to just stop participating in the problem – but that means ditching the blanket and finding warmth somewhere else, somewhere more constructive.
So the next time you find yourself complaining about something realise that you’ve done a great job of finding the problem, but then don’t just stop. Take the next step to uncover the solution, however uncomfortable that might be. It’s the only way to the next level you.
Wishing you a week of newly found wisdom. See you next time!
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