Do you ever feel your blood boil? Often for me the simplest things can just start to make me feel really angry. And it is annoying because I know that they shouldn’t.
One of the things that my company does is help businesses with Social Media. As a result I have hootsuite open on my computer all day. I use this to monitor mentions over a wide range of clients, and my team’s responses. Sometimes I will see something that angers me. And I know I shouldn’t take it personally. More often than not this is when I see negative tweets about one of my clients.
They just seem rather pathetic as they whine over something completely insubstantial. I get that Social Media can be a great place to get redress from companies when they are not doing what they should. Indeed as a direct result of that I have achieved some fantastic customer service myself. Still it strikes me that there is a good way and a bad way of handling it.
Like any form of interaction there is a nice way and a nasty way to do it. Somehow Social Media seems to bring out the worst in some people. And because it is just words on a screen, it is easy to do. There are going to be some genuinely unpleasant people in the world. Though more often than not I suspect they are just having a bad day.
Still life is too short to spend much time on those who are negative. They say that we are the average of the five people we surround ourselves by most. There is I believe a lot of truth to that. So for me I think that if you can remove negativity from your life, then it pushes up the average of those people. And as a correlation allowing negative people around you decreases the average.
Someone recommended me a book recently. It is Bounce by British Table tennis champion, Matthew Syed.
One of the theories in the book is that talent is often the result of fluke combined with practice. So the reason why Tiger Woods and Mozart are so succesful is that they practiced more than anyone else. However it is fluke that they grew up in an environment that was golf or music centric. The old 10,000 hour rule coming to play again.
Syed grew up in an area where Table Tennis was popular. Combine this with the fact his school played table tennis to a high level, put him in the path of the game. Had he lived a few streets over then his chances to be in the path of table tennis would have reduced. Especially if the street he lived in was in a different school catchment area. His opportunity to become a world-class ping-pong player would dramatically reduce.
People say that you can make your own luck. And I believe this 100 percent. Still for a budding table tennis champion had circumstances not aligned, someone else would have been champion.
Or maybe you believe in fate and no matter where he was he would become a champion. However that is the subject for another blog post.
So that takes me back to why some people like to complain more than others. My guess would be that they live in a world full of complainers. A while back I wrote a post about Complaining being Draining.
Think back to the last time you complained. Did you find yourself drained? I know that I do. So I strive now not to complain as much as I can. And I also try not to be around people who always complain. That to me is just as draining!
I was listening to a talk the other day on body language. and they were talking about something called “Facial Feedback Hypothesis“. This suggests that your facial expression has a bearing on your mood.
So in many circumstances forcing yourself to smile can make you happier. I have often found this to be true, and even a fake smile can cheer me up. And body language generally has a positive impact on mood as well. It is something I would like to study further, and if you have any thoughts about it, I would love to hear them..
Next time you want to whine or complain, I urge you to smile first and think whether it is as bad as you think it is. This is similar advice to the wise words about how you should never write a letter when you are angry. Or if you do, then you should write it, but sleep on it before sending it or throwing it away. If I ever get as far as writing the letter I cannot think of a single time I have sent it!
As you smile, just wonder whether it is something you want to whine about. My guess is that 99 times out of of 100 it definitely isn’t.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
Time spent writing: 19 minutes
Time editing: 30 minutes
Time between writing and finishing – a long time (8 hours), experimented with editing at the end of the day
How happy with results: 4