Don’t Criticize, Condemn, or Complain.
Raise your hand if you avoid someone because they criticize, condemn, and complain too much?
You started to raise it didn’t you? I did.
I am a fan of the work of Dale Carnegie.
In his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, he lists principles we can use to enjoy more harmonious and mutually beneficial relationships.
One of those is not to criticize, condemn, or complain.
Now, before you get your hackles up and make the argument that we should not be passive push-overs because there are injustices that we need to actively and aggressively fight against, you are right.
This is not suggesting that we should stand by while someone is being bullied or abused or when personal, business, societal, or political wrongs need protesting or correcting.
Carnegie lays out strategies for dealing with minor and major situations and influencing outcomes.
He makes a sound case that usually beginning with criticizing, condemning and complaining is a waste of time and energy and sets our cause back.
Most of our interactions don’t rise to the level of requiring an attorney, sounding an alarm, or employing self-defense strategies.
Some people are doom and gloom personalities.
They are not clinically depressed or suffering from other legitimate issues that need our understanding and support. They have just made it a habit to find the dark side and comment on it with criticism, condemnation, and complaining. Some of them seem to think that makes for interesting conversation.
Some even believe that it will change someone’s mind and get them on their side. It seldom does.
It irritates and drains the energy of the people who have to be around them. Of course, given the opportunity to escape, we won’t be around them any longer than required. We hope that car ride, that lunch appointment, or that encounter ends sooner than later.
It would be wonderful to get four of them together in a car for a long road trip! Without us.
As Carnegie says in his book,
“Criticism is futile because it puts a man on the defensive, usually making him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a man’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses his resentment.”
If we want more opportunities to interact with people and influence outcomes for the greater good, we need to be welcomed into their circle.
Displaying a positive, supportive and encouraging attitude opens more doors and creates more opportunities than criticizing, condemning, and complaining.
When the time is right we can then use other principles Dale Carnegie taught to make a meaningful and lasting change even under difficult circumstances.
You can put your hand down now.
Have a cheerful day.