This weeks article is brought to you by Martin Rooney over at Training for Warriors. He puts this idea of complaining, and tolerance very eloquently as we have all complained about something in our lives and have tolerated something we don't like at some point in our lives as well - maybe more than we would like to admit to :)
I'll let Martin take it from here...
Because it had rained for two straight days, a number of people at the hotel afterward were complaining about the weather.
Then a couple of California natives at dinner complained about the taxes and high prices of gas and housing in the state.
At the airport the next morning, a few of the women working at the counter were complaining about their new uniforms.
Then on the plane, passengers complained that there was no coverage of the Super Bowl. These experiences reminded me that people complain a lot and about a lot of different things.
The root of the complaining, however was the same: there was something that either made each person upset or angry.
As I thought about the quote above about culture, I had a breakthrough: the things they were complaining about were all things they could control! But instead of changing them, they chose to TOLERATE them instead!
If you can agree an organization’s culture is defined by what it tolerates, you should also be able to grasp that your personal life will be shaped by the irritating things you tolerate too.
Although my use of the word tolerance may seem contrary to how it is often used today, my goal is to challenge you about how the concept of tolerance applies to your personal life. In order to do that, I have to make sure you are clear on what tolerance means.
Here is a working definition I put together to help myself understand it better:
Long version: Your tolerance is your willingness to put up with something with which you do not necessarily like or agree. The greater your tolerance, the larger your capacity and longer your ability to endure continued subjection to that something without a reaction to change that something.
Short version: You put up with things you don’t enjoy for a long time and do nothing about it.
Notice there is one thing missing from both versions. Neither ends with, “and then you spend a lot of time complaining about it.” Tolerance means you permit the thing that upsets you. You allow it without any interference.
To mimic Tom Hanks from the movie, A League Of Their Own, “There’s no complaining in tolerance!”
Is there an area of your life you don’t like yet you control whether it exists or not? If your answer is “yes,” instead of doing something to change it do you just complain about it? Hopefully you see how crazy complaining sounds because allowing an upsetting situation to continue and then complain instead of figuring out how to change the situation sounds crazy to me too.
After reading this, you will no longer be able to “turn a blind eye” on the real source of why you complain. And as a result of deciding what you will and won’t tolerate, your complaining should actually stop. Forever. Excluding lactose and gluten, sometimes a little intolerance can be a good thing.
When it concerns movements like anti-discrimination, there is a call today for people to be more “tolerant.” When it comes to the beliefs and backgrounds of other people, I agree. But, there are other movements that rightly ask you to practice intolerance too. Anti-bullying, anti-drug and anti-harassment are great examples.
In addition to those, in terms of beliefs and behaviors that are holding you back, I think you should develop your own zero tolerance policy. In order to get you thinking in that direction, here are 5 areas in which I would suggest practicing a little intolerance would be a good thing:
5 Areas To Practice Personal Intolerance
1. Unworthy Effort Don’t allow a mediocre or bad use of your talents
2. Unhealthy Lifestyle Don’t put up with poor diet, sleep patterns or a sedentary lifestyle
3. Unfulfilling Job Don’t permit years to tick off on something you don’t love to do.
4. Unhappy Relationships Don’t endure poor choices of associates or treatment from others.
5. Unwealthy Finances Don’t accept low pay or escalating debt.
In order to “level up,” you may need to turn your tolerance level down. If you became intolerant of the list above, you would remove both the “un” from the front of the words and also some poor behaviors and beliefs from your life.
So, in order to stop complaining and live the life you desire, you have a simple choice: TOLERATE or ELIMINATE. Not happy or fulfilled with some things in your life right now? You can either keep putting up with it or do something about it.
Below is a list of things you can either continue to endure or remove. In the case of tolerance, just keep doing what you are doing. In the case of elimination, you will need to discover the root of the problem and remove it:
To TOLERATE or ELIMINATE Your Health Will you tolerate or eliminate a bad diet?
Will you tolerate or eliminate being overweight?
Will you tolerate or eliminate being tired all the time?
Your Relationships Will you tolerate or eliminate people you don’t want to be around?
Will you tolerate or eliminate negative conversations?
Will you tolerate or eliminate abusive remarks or treatment?
Your Career Will you tolerate or eliminate a job that doesn’t inspire you? Will you tolerate or eliminate lower pay than you deserve?
Will you tolerate or eliminate long hours or a longer commute?
Your Finances Will you tolerate or eliminate wasting money?
Will you tolerate or eliminate increasing debt?
Will you tolerate or eliminate zero savings?
So what will your decisions or choices be now?