Ditch Complaining and Be the Change

be the change

Sometimes we know something without any scientific evidence. Like we know that getting outside to have some fresh air makes us feel better. And we know that making sure we’re hydrated helps fight fatigue. We don’t really need scientific proof, do we?

The risks of complaining are truly, if you’ll pardon the expression, mind-blowing. This first came to light with the Law of Attraction and the best selling book, The Secret. Now INC.com confirms that the more you repeat negative thoughts, the easier they pop up in your mind and guide your actions.

And that whole “birds of a feather flock together” that your mom told you about? It’s grounded in science – yikes!

When we see someone expressing empathy, it makes us more empathetic. And sadly, when we see someone bitching and moaning? Yep. Makes it easier to be that way, too.

Complaining also adds to stress and increases cortisol levels and we all know that does a number on our health.

So what can you do to stop the negative vortex from imploding in your world?

Take a cue from how we were taught to safely cross the road when we were kids:

Stop. Look. Listen.

How’s that?

1. Stop:

Stop the circuit of negativity that surrounds you, whether it comes from you, your staff, a patient, your colleague.

You can divert it by suggesting another topic. Or just come clean and say, “Let’s don’t go down that rabbit hole.” As a leader, you owe it to yourself and your team to be the traffic cop for thoughtful conversation.

2. Look:

Look for the positive in a situation. No matter what the story, you can always muster up something good to say.

If it’s a drama that happened in the O.R. that narrowly prevented even more drama, be grateful for the near-miss. If it’s another rainy day with crazy-bad traffic, be grateful for a car to get you to your destination.

3. Listen:

Listen to those around you for cues.

Some of the wisest people I know are all the people around me. The nurses, technicians, patients, secretaries, store clerks, hair stylists. Be open and receptive to learning from people every single moment. They’ll often point you in the right direction.

And think back to what we were supposed to do after we stopped, looked and listened . . .


Go forward.

Take that next step.


Click to Tweet: Be the one small change that can inspire big change.

Just make sure you’re headed in the right direction.

Please share one idea in the comments below that you use to stop the complaining in your world.



CATEGORIES: Blog on April 19, 2016 by Starla Fitch, M.D.

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4 thoughts on “Ditch Complaining and Be the Change

  1. Karen B

    It’s easy to complain, and once you start it’s a slippery slope into ‘Woe is me’ mode. Practice positive thinking. Take time, everyday, to be thankful.

  2. Beth Boynton, RN, MS

    Great post and suggestions, Dr. Fitch. I think our ability to listen rather than complain respects others and empowers us to be part of the solution! Made me wonder how complaining might be a symptom of toxic culture or a pattern of being a victim. (I’m guilty of complaining too sometimes!)


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