I often talk about business with friends and fellow entrepreneurs. We talk about the good things that come with owning a business: the freedom, exciting new projects or our next big ideas.
Sometimes, however, we talk about the bad stuff. The little frustrations, the long hours, the inevitable difficulties that arise when trying to manage people and grow a business.
If you could hear our conversations, you might say we were whining.
Should we really be complaining about this stuff?
In many ways, no. We’re very lucky to get to do what we do for a living. Shouldn’t we just accept the bad with the good, stiff upper lip, and get on with our day?
After all, it seems trivial for us to complain about our minor inconveniences while others struggle with far greater challenges.
Aren’t we lucky to have these luxury problems?
Yes, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore them. Even trivial problems cannot be cured by ignorance; and even trivial problems are worth our attention.
Let’s Take a Trip
Two hundred years ago, if you wanted to travel someplace far away, you probably rode a horse or were pulled in a wagon. It probably took you several days to get to your destination, but hey, at least you didn’t have to walk. Right?
Complaining about the length or difficulty of your horseback journey would seem trivial compared to the challenges you’d face on foot. The slow pace and bumpiness of your ride were just luxury problems.
Fast forward a hundred years and the horseback journey doesn’t look so good anymore. Those “luxury problems” reveal themselves as genuine inconveniences compared to the ease of traveling by train, or car. In the age of modern jet travel, the idea of getting around by horse seems downright silly.
What’s the point? Isn’t progress inevitable?
The point isn’t that progress has been made. The point is that progress was spawned by someone’s dissatisfaction with the status quo.
“Discontent is the first necessity of progress.” – Thomas Edison
Sure, traveling by horse beats walking, but it wasn’t good enough for Henry Ford. Thank goodness.
Dissatisfaction is a Catalyst for Progress
So, back to our luxury problems.
If all we did was whine about our problems, we’d live in a state of pessimistic misery and never really get anywhere. That sounds like a pretty terrible way to live, and it’s exactly what awaits you if you don’t take action.
The key with dissatisfaction is to use it as a tool.
When something annoys you, let your frustration motivate you to find a solution.
Take a look at what isn’t working. Can you take action to make things better?
Do you need to create new habits to get there?
No matter what it takes, don’t ignore that dissatisfaction. Keep it close to the surface and use it to make progress.
Step 1: Getting dissatisfied with the way things are.
Step 2: Doing something about it.
What are you going to do?
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- The Merits of Dissatisfaction - November 6, 2012