Posts Tagged ‘complaint’

The trap of entertainment!

by Himanshu Jhamb on September 6, 2010

On a recent business trip to New York, I was presented with a unique opportunity in a most unexpected way. I was going through my day like clockwork – attending client calls, leading my team through the initial stages of a big project & in and out of meetings – when a colleague of mine came into my office and started talking about leadership. The conversation started with my colleague sharing his opinions about how leadership had been assumed in the past (in our organization), rather than earned… and soon went further into other undesirable facets of the company that had plagued the organization.

Before I knew it, the conversation took a bit of a negative turn where I observed myself contributing to it as well by going over the undesirable past events… like they mattered! I have been in these conversations in the past… they happen all around us; in our homes, in businesses and even in hair cutting salons! I have, inadvertently, been an active participant in these conversations for hours together and in the end, always come out feeling a little “better”, but there has always been an accompanying feeling that something still wasn’t right.

I boil down this feeling to the nature of “complaints”, especially the ones that are repeated. It is important to notice that whenever we complain about the same thing repeatedly, without attempting to change the way we act – we are usually getting some “juice” from our complaint – which is, in a very weird way, ENTERTAINING, to us. What’s worse is, this is something we humans get simply hooked to! … And this, my friends, is what I call The Trap of Entertainment.

Think about it – Have you ever caught yourself in an argument that started with a complaint, lasted more than 30 minutes and you forgot what you were arguing about … while you still continued to argue? Why did you do that? There is some Entertainment you are getting from the situation – it’s important to note that though this might be entertaining, it is dangerously so. Why? Because the consequences are usually not so entertaining!

How does one get out of it?

So, given that it is natural to get into this, how does one go about getting out of this? Here are 4 questions that would help:

  • What can we learn from the past mistakes so that the same situations do not happen again?
  • What can we do NOW to make sure that the complaint we have of others in the past – Others do not have that same complaint of us in the future?
  • How can I make a positive difference to the other person’s life RIGHT NOW, in this conversation?
  • How can I provide VALUE to this conversation without getting sucked into sharing my opinions about the past events?

Avoid the entertainment trap by guiding your conversations with others with the help of these four questions and see how things start turning up for you… and share how it goes for you!