Quite a number of years ago, I stumbled across a phrase in a magazine that really piqued my interest. The phrase simple said, “Never complain, never explain.” From the moment I read it, those four words really hit home with me. To my way of thinking, they summed up the philosophy of all folks “going forward”. Someone advancing on any “path” should never waste his/her valuable time complaining or making excuses.
I decided to tape a piece of paper containing this phrase to a wall in my house along with an accompanying challenge. As soon as I went an entire day without voicing a complaint or offering up an excuse, I could take the message down.
I have always enjoyed a good challenge and I figured this phrase could provide a tough test of my will for a day or so. The first day or two quickly passed without me accomplishing my goal. So, I thought, “All I need to do is toughen up a little and I’ll get the job done.” “No problem,” I confidently reassured myself. A month later, the piece of paper was still taped to my wall.
I couldn’t believe it. I still had not gone just one day without making a complaint or offering up some sort of excuse. Trust me, I am not a complainer by nature. I had, however either complained about something or made an excuse about something at least one time every single day for a month.
I was disappointed that I had failed to accomplish what had originally seemed like such an easy goal. But more than that, I was embarrassed. Now I was really motivated to answer the challenge and get this message off my wall once and for all. Make no mistake about it; I would get the job done this time…..
So months, years later… that torn, tattered, yellowed piece of paper with the simple little message was still hanging on my wall. Oh, yeah, I am sure I have gone a day without complaining or making excuses… but not “knowingly”.
How could this have happened to me? I really gave it a good shot, but one way or another, I would always find a way to slip up at some point during each and every day (that I was paying attention) and start complaining or explaining about something or another. One thing I learned from this challenge was we all complain a lot more than we think we do and we make excuses left and right.
We blame people and things and circumstances for just about everything. If you think not, go ahead and put the phrase up on your wall and see if you can go one entire day without offering up one single excuse and without making one single complaint of any kind. No blaming, no complaining, no criticizing, not excuses — for one entire day.
I know what you are probably thinking right about now. You think it will be easy, don’t’ you? Ha? I thought so, too. I now realize that the fulfillment of that simple little pledge will be a lifelong pursuit of mine.
Even if you and I fail to live a single day devoid of any personal complaining or explaining, we can still significantly cut down on the amount of complaints and excuses we make and that is indeed a very good start, isn’t’ it? When you take on this challenge, you will begin eliminating a lot of negative feelings and destructive actions from your life and consequently will become a much better person to be around.
There is no better time for you to get to work on your very own “never complain, never explain” challenge than right now. All you have to do is stop complaining and quit explaining and get started today.
I’m off to find a latte.