It has never been so easy to criticize, complain, and point fingers, as it is today. The internet guarantees open leeway for trolls and other notorious critics. But of course that behavior as a whole is nothing new. People were always like that. The only thing is that before they didn’t have the megaphone, which is the Internet today, to announce their thoughts.

Here’s a proposition, a principle that you will probably find much easier to live by: the “you’re responsible for this” principle. It works like this:

Every time you want to complain about a situation or about someone, you will be responsible to fix it. If you don’t want to be responsible in doing anything to fix it, then shut your mouth.

For example: you criticize the lack of cleanliness in your work place. So now you’re responsible for fixing the problem. Pick up the vacuum, or go speak to the person in charge of the cleaning team, or go and ask for more trashcans in your section, or go clean your own plate in the kitchen after lunch. Perfect, now you’re responsible. If you don’t want to be responsible, then please don’t criticize how they’re cleaned. Spare someone’s ears.

You thought the presentation of the marketing manager was tedious. An hour long of blah, blah, blah, which didn’t amount to anything. So now you’re in charge of improving the quality of the presentations of the company. You’ll give your feedback (who knows maybe even the two colleagues you talk to will too,) give suggestions for improvement to the presenters, you’ll contribute ideas, you’ll contact the HR department about communication training for the presenters, or perhaps even give those “bores” a book on the subject. Anything contrary, zip your pie hole and focus on your own life.

Perhaps you consider this principle a bit radical. Instead of complaining, if everyone applied this principle at work, at home, in school, in the community, in the city and in their own life, imagine how better everything would be.

So remember, when your tongue itches and you feel tempted to criticize someone or something, first ask yourself if you are prepared to be responsible to improve the situation. If not, choose silence.

P.S. Try out saying this to someone who lives complaining and criticizing in your ear. Very, very soon, they will stop…

P.S.S. See that Jesus applied this principle too: When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.” But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.” – Mark 6:35-37

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By Bishop Renato Cardoso