I have a friend who complains about his job at least nine out of ten times I see him. That includes virtually every time I see him on a work day. Invariably his first comment is that work was really hard today. His job requires him to drive a group of housekeepers from house to house during the day. A typical day has him driving the crew to four houses. You read that right. His job requires him to drive to four houses in an eight-hour shift. Other than that, he sits in the company car and waits. Or walks around the block, or grabs a coffee at a local shop. Yet he complains. He complains not because it is difficult. It clearly is not. He complains because he has trained his brain to believe it is difficult.
How do you imagine he felt the day he was told he had been hired for that job? Do you imagine he was excited? That he was happy?
I imagine so too. You and I both know he was stoked. Yet he has allowed that sensation to fade and has replaced it with a sense of victimhood. And he has made it so.
As an aside, he is a great guy. I know him through my church, and he is really quite sweet. Yet it makes me sad to consider how he allows himself to be cast as a victim when the bad influence is provided by that guy he sees in the mirror as he is shaving. He is victimizing himself!
We all train our brains in a variety of ways, but the primary way we do so is by virtue of what we say. The way we describe ourselves or our jobs or our family members becomes our reality.
Whoever loves less in a relationship has the power. If you love your spouse less than she loves you then in some fashion you have the upper hand in terms of need. I am not advocating this as a healthy concept in regard to managing behavior; indeed I believe the best relationships have an existing mutual need. A powerful love from both directions. A loving relationship has the lover, the love and the loved: what the Catholic Church would consider the Holy Trinity (God is Love).
This translates throughout your life. The best work relationships exhibit employer’s appreciation of employees and employee’s appreciation of employers.
The first step, and by a wide margin the most important, is in training the brain. Our neural synapses are best paved when they are used frequently. Referring to your employee as a treasure or considering your employer one of the most critical elements of your life- these are thought processes which do great good. Better yet, when articulated to others, they are powerful influences in training your brain.
How often have you thought of your spouse and described your spouse to others as the world’s best? How great would it be to have the world’s best wife? Actually, I happen to know that because I HAVE the world’s best wife. If you met her you might think I maintain that viewpoint based solely on storefront, but beyond her looks (she makes Melania look frumpy) the bride is sweet, kind, faithful, and loves as hard as a human being can. I have the world’s best wife.
NEVER refer to your significant other in negative terms. No matter what. Do not train your brain that way. Always think of him/her as stellar. As loving. As the most important thing in contributing to your life’s happiness. Make it so.
Same concept with work. Speak of work in positive terms. Recognize the dignity of having a job. Recognize the impact you have on your own brain when you speak well of work. There is a litany of positives about your work that you overlook when you focus on negatives. Into every life a little rain must fall. No job is perfect; amongst your responsibilities is to make your employer a better place to work. Amongst your responsibilities is to be a great colleague, a great teammate. Great teammates do not complain in public about the boss, about the firm, about the culture. They work to improve these aspects. They do not voice a sense of helplessness. And they surely do not go home and complain incessantly about work. The role-model father or mother does not infect the children with this negativity. Dad does no one any good to sit at the dinner table and complain about work.
We live in a culture which seemingly honors a victim mentality. There is an illusory attraction to self-identifying as a victim. It is not just being part of a protected class but how opportunity seems to evade a large swath of our population. It is all-too-easy to be accepted as a victim. Some seem to identify a cool quotient to being a victim. These people are knuckleheads and not worth your time.
Train your brain to keep front-of-mind those elements of your life that make it so great yet are easily overlooked. Better to remember your overall good health than the balky knee that makes is painful to run. Better to remember the dignity your job provides than the promotion you did not get and maybe even did not truly earn. Better to remember that you can apply for any number of jobs any moment you like and that nothing keeps you from giving your two-week notice that is not under your own control. Better to remember you have the ability to learn rather than focus on what skills you do not have.
It is always better to have a positive attitude.
It is always better to be productive.
It is always better to be fresh in your approach.
It is always better to be enthusiastic.
It is always better to be positive, productive, fresh and enthusiastic.