This world is full of bad, irritating, stupid, nasty and irritating things (like people using the same word twice in an enumeration!).
Some you can do something about. If it’s a mess in my house I can clean it up. If I don’t like the look of my shoes I can buy new ones. Don’t complain, fix it!Some things you can’t do anything about. If it’s raining, no chance in hell that I am going to be able to do anything towards making the sun shine. If the government makes a stupid decision (and they inevitably do) the amount of effort do rectify it is astronomical (not impossible, just not worth it in general). Don’t complain, go on with life!
For these two cases everything is relatively clear-cut. Either take your responsibility and change whatever it is that is bothering you, or put it out of your head and continue with what you were doing.
Unfortunately there are also some “in between” cases. These mostly have to do with people who are close enough that you have some influence on them. But of course you can’t control their actions (no matter how much we would like to. And no matter how much better this would be for the person in question…).
One of my “favorite” examples of this is people who are late. I’m neurotically compulsive where it come to time. It’s valuable and I don’t like wasting it (did I mention I was Dutch?!?). Other people however seem to have far less of a problem with wasting time. Especially mine.
5 minutes late is fine. 10 minutes is irritating. At 20 I’m about ready to get up and leave. (Can you imagine how much fun I had in South America, where arriving late is the national pastime?)
I’m trying hard to get this into the “don’t complain, carry on” box. Good for my sense of zen (I’m hoping). But do me a favor: Next time we have a meeting, be there on time. I’ll love you for it!