• What complaining comes from?
  • What complaining can lead to and what it takes away from us?
  • What can help you start taking action on a daily basis?
How to stop complaining and start taking action

Most people complain every day. The same goes for executives and managers. More importantly, they transfer their emotions onto others, which is reflected in the short, humorous dialogue below. So why is it so easy to complain, but not to act?

Two managers who haven’t seen each other for a while are getting together. One of them asks:

- What’s up? How’s your team, all good?

The answer: - Nothing interesting, better not ask, it’s a waste of time. Better tell me, how are you?

- Same old same old, constant changes, can’t do anything about it, and everyone is complaining.

The title question should be broken down into two: How can I stop complaining? First, we need to look at what causes complaining in order to find ways to deal with the problem. The second question is: How do I start? That is, how can I quickly break the habit and, as a manager, make sure I have a positive impact on myself and my team?

Innocent beginnings

Complaining seems innocent enough, after all, it’s usually just ‘small talk’ at work or about work, a way of venting our negative emotions in order to temporarily improve our mood. In fact, at first, complaining may help relieve stress, soothe our nerves, and boost our confidence - after all, things are going wrong around us, and it’s other people that are putting obstacles in front of us. But we managers are doing our jobs well. This approach is about improving our self-esteem and letting go of some responsibility.

When we complain to other people, there’s a good chance they will catch on. They may even take the same perspective. We then get the feeling that we’ve done something right and complaining in order to make things a little easier on ourselves becomes a habit. The consequences, however, are more far-reaching. By complaining, we show our dissatisfaction with the situation. We’re telling someone who isn’t able to help in any way about our negative experiences (just because you can complain doesn’t mean you can help). In fact, complaining makes it harder to act and creates a vicious circle. We whine and don’t act. We don’t act, so we whine. And so on.

This “small talk” isn’t just talk, but a reflection of how we perceive the world and how we relate to events in our professional lives. Innocent as it may seem, it creates a negative reality. Complaining is convenient because it doesn’t solve our problems or change anything, so there’s no risk that we will have to act. If we don’t act, we don’t risk failing, because there’s no responsibility.

What does complaining focus on and what does that take away from us?

As you can imagine, complaining focuses on the negative. This leads to a vicious cycle that’s hard to break. Our minds love to see patterns (even where none exist) and our attention itself has creative power. We strongly reinforce what we focus on, so when we complain all the time, we create a negative pattern. When we repeat a given behaviour and associate it with negative thoughts, it will eventually become a habit. Our brains then become more and more efficient at complaining and finding reasons to do so. Why? Because they treat complaining as something safe and familiar, developing an automatic reaction - a habit.

Such complaining winds up affecting those around us. There are two possible outcomes: either others will distance themselves from us, or we will find supporters and strengthen our dangerous habits together.

Complaining takes a lot out of us - we might even say that negativity is expensive. It hurts both the complainer and those around them, often making them keep their distance from each other. It destroys relationships. It raises stress levels (even though it may initially seem to do the opposite), and reinforces unpleasant memories. As a consequence, we lose our will to do anything, which can lead to feeling powerless. On the other hand, complaining prevents us from perceiving opportunity, since it kills our creativity and gives us a negative aura.

Few people perceive complaining as a serious threat. At first glance, it seems rather harmless and innocent. We believe that a little whining doesn’t really affect anything. However, as you can see, that’s not usually the case.

The remaining 67% of the article is available for logged-in service users.

If you have an active subscription, go to login. If you are not yet our Reader, please choose the best SUBSCRIPTION VALUE..

Log in Order a subscription Buy this article

Możesz też zobaczyć ten artykuł i wiele innych w naszym portalu Sprzedaz 24. Wystarczy, że klikniesz tutaj.

Favorites Print

Also check

Effective upselling and cross‑selling

Effective upselling and cross-selling
  • How do we implement effective upselling and cross-selling to increase turnover and also increase customer satisfaction?
  • Why are cross-selling and upselling sometimes ineffective?
  • What should managers teach salespeople so they can effectively cross-sell and upsell?
Read more

Online training ‑ don't throw your money away

Online training - don't throw your money away
  • How to choose online training that will meet all your needs?
  • What type of an online training should you choose?
  • How can you get the most from your participation in online events?
Read more

Go to



Privacy cookies

By Further active use of the Website (viewing content, closing the message, clicking links on the page) without changing the privacy settings, you agree to the processing of personal data by EXPLANATOR and partners in order to provide services in accordance with Privacy policy. You can specify the conditions for storage or access to cookies in your browser.

Service Purpose of use Enabled
Cookies necessary for the website to function You cannot disable these cookies, as they are essential for the website to function properly. These cookies also store the cookie settings you have defined. YES
Analytics cookies Cookies that make it possible to collect information about the way a user uses a website in order to optimise its functioning and adjust it to the user's expectations. Information collected by these files do not identify any particular user.
Marketing cookies Cookies that enable us to show you marketing content tailored to your preferences, and to notify you of marketing offers that match your interests, including information about the products and services of the site administrator and third parties. If you choose to delete or disable these cookies, advertisements will still be displayed, but they may not be relevant to you.