High cost of gas. Incompetent colleagues. Pushy clients. Lazy teenagers. Uninspired spouses. Ungrateful employees. Inflexible airlines. The objects of our disaffection may vary, but complaining about life is always in season -- even though it's usually a futile exercise. People spend such vast amounts of time complaining, in fact, that I have come up with name for it: "BMW mode" -- short for "belly-aching, moaning, and whining."
I use to think people complained because they had a lot of problems. But I have come to realize that they have problems because they complain. But there is hope.
Robert Kegan, a professor at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, has spent 15 years studying why people complain and have found that complaints can actually be the seeds for individual change. Kegan suggests turning the "language of complaint" into the "language of commitment". He writes that behind every complaint is an idea or a value that a person is committed to. Otherwise, why be upset? For example, a person who complains that his potential client is a jerk might be committed to the idea of having a relationship with that client that is based on respect and trust. And once that person stops thinking of themselves as a complainer and start thinking of themselves as someone who is committed to something, that sets the stage for them to solve their problem. That happens not by dismissing the complaint but by finding the commitment behind it.
I used to complain about everything. My underpaying job. My seat at church. The house I lived in. The lack of money. What I didn’t know that each time I complained to God about something, I expressed my unwillingness to be thankful for what God was trying to do in my life. And, complaining always pushed me further away from my goals. Here’s what I learned: If something can be changed, work to change it. If it cannot, why worry, be upset, and complain?
So for the next seven days, let’s change our language of complaining into a language of commitment. Get out of BMW mode by monitoring your words. If a complain is about to come out of your month such as “I dislike my situation”, change to “I thank God for His favor to promote me quickly”. After seven days, not only will your attitude about life change, but it will change the people around you.
A popular conference speaker in great demand, Robert is known for his innovative presentations, solid content, and practical application, spiced with the right amount of humor. Robert leaves his congregations and audiences ready to take action! He launched Robert Watkins Ministries to teach churches how to experience financial and entrepreneurial freedom.
Robert served in the United States Army and graduated from West Georgia University. He also founded Conquer Worldwide, which has mentored and educated thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs, professionals and business owners. He also launched Kings & Priests International in 2001, which has trained thousands of Christian leaders for financial freedom, leadership development and business success. He then founded Young Leaders Unlimited, a character-development program for teenagers.
Robert also received an honorary doctorate degree in business and theology and has spoken a many higher learning institutions including Harvard School of Business, Emory Business School and West Georgia University to name a few. He has written several best-selling books and programs including Be Your Own Boss and How To Hear From God the the upcoming book Never Chase a Paycheck Again.
With all of Robert's successes, his greatest joy is his family. Married for 17 years to Evelyn Watkins; they are raising two beautiful daughters.