December 2, 2002.
Quite a number of years ago, I stumbled across a phrase in a magazine that really piqued my interest. The phrase simply said "never complain, never explain." From the moment I read it, those four words really hit home with me. To my way of thinking, they summed up the philosophy of all winners. A winner should never waste his or her valuable time complaining or making excuses.
I decided to tape a piece of paper containing this phrase to a wall in my office along with an accompanying challenge. As soon as I went an entire day without voicing a complaint or offering up an excuse, I could take the message down.
I have always enjoyed a good challenge and I figured this phrase could provide a tough test of my will for a day or so. The first day or two quickly passed without me accomplishing my goal. "All I need to do is toughen up a little and I'll get the job done. No problem," I confidently reassured myself. A month later, the piece of paper was still taped to my wall.
I couldn't believe it, I still had not gone just one day without making a complaint or offering up some sort of excuse. In fact, I had complained about something and made an excuse about something else at least one time every single day for a month. Not one or the other - but both!
I was disappointed that I had failed to accomplish what had originally seemed like such an easy goal. But more than that, I was embarrassed. Now I was really motivated to answer the challenge and get this message off my wall once and for all. Make no mistake about it, I would get the job done this time for sure!
Five years later that torn, tattered, yellowed piece of paper with the simple little message was still hanging defiantly on my office wall.
How could this have happened to me? I really gave it a good shot, but one way or another, I would always find a way to slip up at some point during each and every day and start complaining or explaining about something or another. One thing I learned from this challenge was we all complain a lot more than we think we do and we make excuses left and right.
We blame people and things and circumstances for just about everything. If you think not, go ahead and put the phrase up on your wall and see if you can go one entire day without offering up one single excuse and without making one single complaint of any kind. No blaming, no complaining, no criticizing, no excuses for one entire day.
I know what you're probably thinking right about now. You think it will be easy, don't you? Ha! I thought so too. I now realize that the fulfillment of that simple little pledge will be a lifelong pursuit of mine.
Even if you and I fail to live a single day devoid of any personal complaining or explaining, we can still significantly cut down on the amount of complaints and excuses we make and that is indeed a very good start, isn't it? When you take on this challenge, you will begin eliminating a lot of negative feelings and destructive actions from your life and consequently will become a much better person to be around.
There is no better time for you to get to work on your very own "never complain, never explain" challenge than right now. All you have to do is stop complaining and quit explaining and get started today.
TODAY'S MOTIVATIONAL AND INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE:
You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.
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