When my wife and I celebrated our anniversary, we decided to spend a couple of nights at a bed and breakfast. The B&B had the option of spending a little extra money to get a room with a hot tub. The idea of a hot tub sounded nice so we got that room but in the end never used it. Sometimes the idea of something appeals to us more than the reality of that thing.
Sometimes though we experience the opposite. We dislike our situation and wish for something to replace it. We don’t like centralized engineering, we don’t like that there were layoffs, we don’t like that our boss didn’t give us the raise we wanted. Often we complain about the path someone chose when the obvious alternative seemed perfectly viable and preferable. We can visualize and wish for the life with the option that wasn’t picked.
Wishing for an alternate and knowing the path that gets us there gives us motivation to work for that reality. The problem arises when we complain about reality but can’t really visualize or suggest the alternative. We wish things were different, but different how? We’re not sure, just not this. We’re complaining without a cause.
Not being able to visualize the realistic alternative to our current situation leads us to being jaded. Like when the people managing our apartment complex treated us like their job would be awesome if it weren’t for all the tenants.
If we’ve identified something we don’t like, we should do more than whine. We should become proponents of the alternative, even with its warts, and fight for that instead of spending time complaining. We should know what outcome will satisfy us and when that comes be satisfied.
It’s always easier to critique than create.