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Chris LoCurto


September 12, 2011

Stop the Madness: Declare a No-Complaining Zone

September 12, 2011 | By | 25 Comments">25 Comments

I always find it interesting when people complain about others, and then do the same exact thing. After I was saved, I read through the Bible for a year. For the first time, I understood some of it. Before that, it was just Greek to me.

As I went through Exodus, I found myself saying to God, Dude, what was up with your people? Look at them complaining in the wilderness about a lack of food and saying at least there were pots of meat back in captivity. True, there were pots of meat…BUT THEY WERE SLAVES, those dorks! Geez God, what’s up with them?

That’s about the time I felt God saying to me, You do the same thing, only with different issues. You’re no different. Oh crud! I do, don’t I? That was a turning point for me. I started trying to apply the scripture of Matthew 7:3-5

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Sometimes in leadership, or just plain life, we find it very easy to complain about other people. I can’t believe so and so isn’t getting that stuff done! Then, when you ask that person to do something, it’s always, Oh, I don’t have time to do that. How about when someone complains about another person not having a good system for running things? If it’s that bad, why haven’t you come up with a better plan?

I have a friend who every once in a while complains about the people she works with. The funny thing is that I’ve seen her do the same exact stuff for years. I gently remind her of a similar situation when she acted the same, and she looks at me like I’m crazy. Oh well.

We might not be able to fix all of those around us, but we certainly can start with the plank in our own eye. Before you start to complain about someone else, ask yourself if you do the same thing. In fact, how about just not complaining at all? It will make your day a lot better.

Question: Do you find yourself slipping into the easy habit of complaining?

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  • Louise Thaxton

    And the answer to your question is “YES, YES, YES” – sometimes I can get into that evil mode of “complaining” – not good! And to tell the truth, when I do – I know almost instantly that I should stop – shut up – physically clamp my hand over my mouth.

    The scripture (Matt. 7:3-5) you reference is a good one for me to print out – keep handy and refer to often. Thanks for reminding me, Chris (and Holy Spirit!)

  • Uma Maheswaran S (@mahez007)

    True Chris! The word of God repetitively reminds us of the dangers of complaining, murmuring and complaining:

    (1 Peter 2:1) “rid yourselves of all ……slander of every kind.”
    (James 4:11) “Brothers, do not slander one another.”
    (Colossians 3:8 ) “now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: …..slander, and filthy language from your lips. ”

    It is very tempting to gossip and complain about others. But, we need to control our tongues wisely.

    • Chris LoCurto

      So true Uma!

  • ginasmom

    Confession…….i do complain sometimes, not all the times, just a tiny, tiny bit sometimes, okay once or twice:), but it’s so much easier to complain than to try and fix whatever the issue is, and it feels so good to be getting it off my chest since a “problem” solved is a problem halved (or something like that) and “explaining” how unfair the individual is, and it’s an easy subject to get into (nobody will accuse me of not making conversation…….you get the drift.

    We come up with all kinds of excuses, but what i’ve learnt is to ask the complainer (Even if it’s me – harsh but stops me in my tracks) the following questions:-
    1) What have you achieved in the past by complaining? (Especially for repeat offenders).
    2) What’s the goal of the complaint? What’s the expected outcome?
    3) If it just to pass time – my answer is ‘go read a book’ or do something else with your life.

    If it’s really a genuine issue go address it with the individual in question, and move on. Kind of harsh, but works, expecially since complaining can and does lead to gossip in the workplace, which i want no part of.

    • Chris LoCurto

      You crack me up! Good advice!!

      • ginasmom

        Thanks Chris on both accounts:), i enjoy thinking this stuff through (aloud).

        • Chris LoCurto


  • specializingintheimpossible

    If you’re a problem solver, but your much-appreciated advice is rarely acted on, is there anything you can do, besides keeping your mouth shut, to not come across as a complainer?

    • Chris LoCurto

      You’re most likely a high detail person. With that, you tend see things some people can’t. And if you’re sounding like a complainer, it’s probably because you’re hitting the issue and not the solution to someone who’s not a patient person. If all of this sounds correct, try going to that person with a concern that you have a solution to. When you do that, they will begin to love you for it. Or at least like you more. :-)

      • specializingintheimpossible

        I understand what you’re getting at, and agree. I do bring solutions, thus the ‘much-appreciated’.
        Do you offer one-on-one business counseling with workers and their bosses? ;)

        • Chris LoCurto

          HAHAHA…actually looking into it as we speak.

          • specializingintheimpossible

            Pure Awesomeness! :)

  • Eric Speir

    It’s certainly easy to be a complainer in this society. It’s easier to be complainer then to be a problem solver. I’ve been trying to work on this issue in my life on a personal level. I would rather develop a heart of gratitude over being a complainer.

    • Chris LoCurto


  • Jana Botkin

    Happy Blogiversary, Chris!

    • Chris LoCurto

      Thanks!! I didn’t know until Joel pointed it out. :-)

      • Joel Fortner

        I also notice when you have your hair done.

        • Chris LoCurto

          HAAAAA!!!! Ok, Marybeth told you to say that. :-)

  • Joel Fortner

    It will probably come as a shock to learn I have nothing to say about this post. But in other news, isn’t September your 1-year blogging anniversary or am I missing something?

  • Chris

    The articulation by a complainer has always bothered me no matter the level of the person involved. Leaders, peers, or other team members. And I do hear it at all levels.

    One thing I do think many leaders need to take caution of is when they brush aside legitimate observations as petty complaints and even demonize those who have the “audacity” articulate them.

    There are the 2% critics who are crazies. Then there are people who articulate legitimate observations that are real but deemed pesky or to address the observations require them to modify what appears to be a successful path.

    • Chris LoCurto

      So true. In that case it’s the leader who’s complaining. :-)

    • James Randorff (@JRandorff)

      If these are being brought to a leader/supervisor, they are not complaints, but rather observations. To me, a “complaint” goes amongst peers (or to anyone else who is not in a position to do something about it).

      As Chris said, a leader who takes criticism and then demonizes the one who gave it is, himself, nothing but a complainer.

      Also, keep in mind that many complaints sound very intelligent and articulate. If, however, they are shared among those who cannot affect an outcome, they are still merely complaints.