One thing that I have always worried about is being classified as a "bitcher." You know the type—people that always complain about things that are going wrong for them, but do nothing to make their situation better. For years and years, I looked at these people and thought, "Jesus Christ, I don't want to be one of those people." So a lot of times when I could have or should have complained, I just shut the fuck up and internalized it.
The problem is, I still wasn't actually doing anything to make things better. The road from being someone who doesn't do anything to being a bitcher is a lot easier than moving from not doing anything to doing something.
Being around bitchers is terrible. Nothing is ever good enough. Other people are always causing them problems. The worst part is, a lot of times, they don't even bitch to the person that's the object of their bitching! They never confront people that are doing wrong by them not necessarily out of a fear of confrontation, but rather so that they can bitch about it later. Bitch, bitch, bitch—that's all they ever do. Bitchers' lives are endless sinks of negativity, attracting miserable shit that will make them bitch even more.
Doers, on the other hand, actually do something to fix problems. Doers find ways to get shit done. Look up how to fix that broken toilet on the internet, or call a plumber. Re-hang that towel rack. Start developing another source of income if you don't have enough money. Nine times out of ten, proposing solutions will at least get you some kind of forward momentum. Of course, this doesn't apply to dealing with airline personnel. But most of the time, it at least helps.
Are you worried that you're becoming a bitcher? Or worse yet, a recovering bitcher? There's still time to change! I've found that writing ideas down and creating a plan, more often than not, helps focus you on solutions to problems.
Another exercise that helps is think of an issue plaguing your town and how you'd fix it. St. Louis certainly has a lot of these, but I'll use car break-ins as an example (namely because my car was broken into recently). A lot of people bitch about all of the car break-ins here in town, but don't do anything to change things. "That's just the way it is," or "things are getting so bad now," are a couple of common refrains.
I took a couple of minutes to think of potential solutions. The obvious solution is harsher penalties for perps, but a lot of times these are kids that get a slap on the wrist from lax judges. So I looked up the St. Louis penal ordinances and code, and tried to figure out what it would take to change the penal structure. It turns out it would be doable if I put my mind to it, but, to be honest, at the moment it's kind of far down my list of priorities. The point is, though, now I know what affirmative steps to take when I turn my attention to that problem. It might take a while, and a few initiatives on the ballot, but you have to start somewhere, right?
Don't be a bitcher. Be a doer. Propose solutions. Get shit done.
Questions? Comments? Think I'm bitching too much? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on twitter @djgelner.