My son Xander is two years old. He’s been whining a lot recently, and frankly I find that unattractive.
Allow me to explain.
If you look back through all of the 119,000+ tweets that comprise my Twitter history, you’ll find two, maybe three examples of me truly complaining.
This is a big thing for me, and it was ingrained early on. The person I look up to most in the world is my mother, and the thing I find most intriguing about her (and the thing I’m most glad I inherited from her) is her total inability to complain. I adore my wife for that same reason.
I genuinely feel that there is no real value in complaining.
To me, the only things anybody has a right to complain about are things like their health. Short of the death of a loved one, or a terminal illness, or some other horrible tragedy, everything feels controllable. If you’re in control of it, you have the ability to fix it. Where is the value in complaining? Instead of complaining, my process is this: Assess the problem, find the solution, and get on the offense. I’m an offensive player, and I feel like complaining is the defense.
This 100% translates into my HR policy. I talk to my VaynerMedia employees about the concept of “honey over vinegar” a lot because I thrive on positivity. I deal with complaining by educating and empowering people to take control, because I genuinely feel that there is no real value in complaining.
I suppose another angle is that I just don’t know who would be listening. I’ve always been the boss, so I don’t know who to complain to. I have friends who are single entrepreneurs — the kinds of guys who are 100% in control of their lives — who complain like crazy, and I drill them on this just as hard as I’d drill one my my employees. It doesn’t matter. You’re still in control.
Maybe it starts with seeing a therapist and really assessing yourself, but it’s absolutely a state of mind thing. I suppose if I back up, this attitude on complaining is another offshoot of my self-awareness. And I got lucky. I know luck is a part of it. I have family members who are complainers, and that just makes me feel even more lucky that I got the genes I did.