One of my favorite bloggers to follow is Mr. Money Mustache. He’s a posterchild and an advocate for early retirement/financial independence, and I find him to be smart, inspiring, and incredibly entertaining. One of the posts that has stuck with me since the day I read it is How to Tell If You’re a Complainypants.
He focuses on internet trolls and readers who viciously oppose his life choices by questioning his health and wellness, his college fund for his child, and even his entire veracity. He points out that these people are so afraid of the unknown, that they find his adaptability and openness to change unsettling (for example, many are critics of the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Money Mustache retired when they were 30).
He defines Complainypants as the following:
A Complainypants looks only at results – seeing the external trappings or the successes of a particular role model’s life, and justifies why he can’t have those things. And then makes himself unhappy because of not having those results.
So, how can you avoid being a Complainypants?
I don’t have all the answers, but I do know a few things about keeping my head about me. I think this is a very common mentality in this generation (and, in fact, for many others as well), and I think there are a few keys to staying out of it.
- Read some inspiring stories, not all of them. If you spend your time reading every inspirational story available, not only will you not have time to live out your own, but you’ll begin to develop the mentality that everyone is doing these things every day.
- Learn to reflect. When you read an inspiring story or hear from a role model, don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that they’re better, stronger, or more financially savvy than you. Look at your own life and point out things you can change for the better, and more importantly, places where you’re already doing okay. Being proud of what you’re doing is essential.
- If you don’t agree, ask questions instead of fighting. Instead of immediately lashing out at someone because they’re different, pause for a moment and ask them a question instead. One of MMM’s common attacks is about how he’s not saving for his child’s college education. Instead, why not simply ask about his tips on saving for college? He answered with this great post.
- Create baby steps for yourself. If someone has something that you desperately wish you had, take some time to identify baby steps that will help you move toward that goal. This goes hand in hand with reflecting – basically, just think for yourself.
- Don’t turn it into a fight. Healthy debate? Yes. All-out brawl? Maybe not. Don’t push inspiring people out of your life just because you think you’re far too right for them to even understand.
Ultimately, just relax. Take stories that you can use, and leave ones that you cannot.