“Don’t allow yourself to be heard any longer griping about public life, not even with your own ears!”
—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 8.9
Not only do even the most fortunate of us complain, it often seems like the more fortunate we are, the more time we have to do so. Marcus Aurelius was a reluctant chief executive—just as you might be a reluctant accountant, kid’s soccer coach, or lawyer. Or perhaps you generally like your job, but you could do without a few of its attendant responsibilities. Where does that thinking get you? Nowhere, other than in a negative state of mind.
It calls to mind a motto of British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli: “Never complain, never explain.” He said this because, like Marcus, he knew that the burdens of responsibility were immense. It’s so easy to complain about this or that, or to try to make excuses and justifications for the things you’ve done. But that doesn’t accomplish anything—and it never lightens the load.” – Ryan Holiday & Stephen Hanselman. “The Daily Stoic.”
When you find things that bother you in life within you career or relationships this principle is very important to remember. What good can be done by complaining even if we are the only one that can hear it? Life does not improve because we complain about things. Making excuses just keeps us from moving forward and overcoming obstacles. We cannot overcome a challenge without owning the outcomes and we cannot own anything if we are making excuses and complaining.
I took this happiness quiz to better understand my strengths in these situations. I encourage you to find out which items represent you best in any situation so you can become more aware and help you to overcome life’s challenges. FYI, my top strength was bravery. Which says, “You are a courageous person who does not shrink from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain. You speak up for what is right even if there is opposition. You act on your convictions.” This is something I am aware of in my life but seeing it defined in this way allows me to own my behavior and not make excuses when these traits come out in a negative light.