O'Donnell Kerr Financial Planners
  • 02 February, 2016

Do we have a reason to complain?

I live in Australia, I am healthy and I have a good job which pays well. I have a very nice home, I am 400 metres from a beautiful beach, and I have a wonderful partner. I also have a supportive family and a wide circle of acquaintances and friends.

Life if generally very good and has been kind to me, but I still find issues to complain about. Whether it be traffic, standing in queues, weather too hot, too cold, too wet, people walking on my new lawn, delayed or cancelled flights, slow internet speed, a noisy neighbor, planes flying over my house, the list goes on and I am not alone in my gripes.

The reality is that not many, if any, of the issues we generally complain about are any more than “first world” problems.

So if life is good then why is it that we do still seem to complain? And often more so as we age? Perhaps the following reasons might have something to do with it:

  • Habit – we all do it and we do it without even noticing that we are doing it.
  • Bonding – we are looking for people with similar gripes and, if they agree with our complaining, we feel vindicated. Sometimes it can even feel as if we have made a new friend for life – until they disagree that is.
  • Pessimistic and narcissistic – we may view our lives negatively (the media does not help with this).For instance, we may get trapped into thinking that no one suffers like we do and no one has had the bad luck that we have had to endure.
  • Impatience – we believe that time is critical and any delay will completely disrupt our whole day/the rest of our lives (maybe a little dramatic, I know)
  • Avoiding responsibility – if we are able to blame or complain about someone else then the unsatisfactory results of our action or inaction are no longer our fault.
  • Procrastination – if we continue to complain we avoid taking any of the necessary action required to stop ourselves from complaining in the first place.

So, what can we do to try and change things for the better?


  • Be aware – stop and think about what you are about to say, “complaining” it is not an easy habit to break but try it for 24 hours and then take it from there
  • Be positive – concentrate on the good in your life and if you don’t believe you have any good in your life then look at how tough the lives of people living in certain parts of the globe are at the moment
  • Avoid negativity – don’t start a conversation with a complaint. Try a compliment instead. You will be surprised at the change in the attitude of the person with whom you’re talking
  • Practice patience – if you need to wait for something or someone, then try one of the three ‘L’s’: 1. Look- watch people and you may learn something about your fellow man; 2. Listen- music always makes time go faster; 3. Learn-read a book or an article.
  • Look forward – try not to live your life by looking backwards, regretting and complaining about what you should have done but never did
  • Be confident – understand what you want from your retirement, be committed and strong and don’t be swayed by what others may say.
  • Take responsibility – both for your actions and for what you need to achieve; try not to procrastinate by avoiding both the decision and the action.

I am aware this is a blog full of clichés but often clichés have a lot of truth to them. Being negative about your life and continuing to complain will only alienate you from your friends in the long run. This will then make life even harder and give you more issues to complain about – making it harder to ever break the cycle.

Life and retirement is a lot more fun if you can shake off any bad habits of negativity or complaining and instead focus on being positive and happy. It’s better for you and your loved ones and it won’t be long until you start to reap the rewards.

The Realise Your Dream blogs are written by Peter Kelly and Mark Teale. More information about the authors can be found here

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