When you are irritated with something, you generally tell someone. When that person understands, they generally take the opportunity to tell you their shared frustrations. When you next encounter this sympathetic individual, there is a tendancy to strike up another conversation about your common gripe. You may then send funny e-mails back and forth to each other, lampooning the ridiculous situation, perhaps even spreading out the complaint web exponentially as you forward the message to your mailing list who does the same, and soon the e-mails are circulating a 2nd and 3rd time and everyone is familiar with your concern.
Great. Now what? Now everyone knows you’re upset. So what? What real good did that accomplish? What result did that have on the initial condition? Not much. It has increased awareness, and the concept may have gained supporters, but the problem, whatever it was, remains the same and you’re still unhappy about it.
Here’s a suggestion. When you get irritated by something, by all means, tell a friend. It does help to be heard. If you’re still irritated later, tell your friend again, or even tell a different friend, or several friends. However, when you find yourself irritated A THIRD TIME by THE SAME THING, it is now time to DO something rather than keep SAYING something.
What can you do? Some issues seem hopeless. None of them are. Some of them are huge and quite intimidating, but none of them are hopeless. You can have an impact on any issue of your choosing, if you decide to ACT rather than TALK.
One of the first things you can do is get out your checkbook and donate money to people who are already working to solve the problem. I challenge anyone to find me a problem that does not already have a non-profit organization formed around solving it. (And, if you find one, and tell me about it, the first thing I’m gonna suggest is that you form a non-profit organization to go about solving the problem.)
If the problem doesn’t need more money thrown at it, but rather, needs to experience a deficit before it gets better, then use your money to voice that opinion by witholding your money. If you are upset about rising gas prices, buy less gas. If illegal aliens are irritating you, make sure you are not patronizing businesses that employ them. If you are outraged that your jobs are being outsourced to India or China, cancel your service when you call and reach a customer service representative that you can’t understand.
Yes. When your cable TV goes out and you call to complain, and you get someone in a foreign country, use your dollar to voice your opinion and cancel your cable TV service, but be sure to follow your cancellation with a letter that states that you are canceling because you don’t agree with their outsourcing policy. If you are outraged by the Chinese practice of killing girl babies so a family can have another child, hoping for a boy instead, you need to stop buying anything marked, “Made in China,” and you need to stop patronizing any store that carries any Chinese item.
Oh, now wait a minute. I’m suggesting you stop buying gas, cancel your cable, and start buying high-priced electronics? Yes. That’s exactly what I’m suggesting. No amount of complaints or e-mails will make a difference to those in power. It is not until their businesses are in danger that they will do anything differently.
Not willing to make those sacrifices? Then admit that and stop making yourself and everyone around you miserable by complaining. Just admit to yourself that you want to have a luxurious lifestyle and that the lifestyle comes with costs. Then pay the costs, with a smile, and enjoy your luxuries.