In principle, if I haven’t tried to make something better or if I’m not willing to help make it better, I have no business complaining about it. Rather than stand outside the circle and complain about the decisions others make, I do well to appreciate those who are willing to do the hard work of group decision making.
In fact, complaining without contribution actually hurts group decision making because it demoralizes current decision makers and discourages potential new ones.
Practical Tip: If I am unhappy or disappointed with the decisions of my group (perhaps an organization I belong to or perhaps my government), before criticizing I should first be grateful for the decision makers’ efforts.
Second, I try to understand their perspective, how it’s different from mine, and why.
Third, if my discontent is real and lasting, I ask myself, “What am I willing to do about it?” I ask myself, “Am I willing to change my personal behavior in some way to make things better? Am I willing to somehow participate in the next round of decision making?”
A thoughtful statement about what you are going to do — followed up with action — is always much more effective than a lazy statement about what someone else should do.
– Craig Freshley