The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely the one who dropped it.
- Lou Holtz
I recently had an experience that caused me to scratch my head in utter disbelief. It was a small thing. A very small thing. A small thing that suddenly became a thing of monumental proportion. Work had been done - hard work and a lot of it. The end result was resplendent and far exceeded initial expectations. Moods were high and celebration was in full swing when someone decided to take offense at the most ludicrous, puny, and highly subjective thing. My jaw dropped in disbelief. This guppy in the ocean suddenly became a great white shark - not because it was a bad thing - but because of the fatal effect on morale that pointing it out caused. This was a very small fish yet someone decided to fry it anyway.
I struggle to understand why people waste their time looking for reasons to be dissatisfied? Do they feel it gives them an air of superiority to create issues where no issues exists? Are some people just inherently unhappy and desperately in need of the tiny morsel of attention they receive by pouring cold water on the good fortune or elated moods of others? Maybe it's the result of a life devoid of real problems or just having too much unoccupied time?
When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself. - Earl Nightingale
Just as frying a small fish leaves the fisherman as hungry as he was before, complaining offers no nourishment to body or soul and causes others to starve from withheld appreciation for well earned praise. Is that the point?
Some other examples of frying small fish include: knit picking, fault finding, criticizing, and gossiping. A complete list could fill several blog posts.
Complaining isn't fishing. It's pointing at people who are fishing and declaring they're doing it all wrong. Sure, our hands don't get as dirty while complaining as when we're fishing, but complainers carry their own kind of stink. When we are busily engaged in working toward a worthy achievement we have a lot less time for small fish frying.
Complaining and criticizing are attempts at diverting attention away from our own shortcomings using the "look over there" tactic - and often it works. Instead of being seen as a slacker we're seen as a complainer. When's the last time you cleared your calendar to spend time with a complainer? Me neither!
I know someone who believes SO strongly that toilet paper should be put on the roll with the paper coming off the front instead the back that they are offended when they encounter it WRONGLY positioned. Not only that, but they make it a point to FIX IT - even at other people's homes. This is a perfect example of frying a small fish. I look forward to the day that my life is so well ordered that I can fit this in as something to worry about.
If I could give any advice that may change the course of someone's life it would be to only fry BIG fish. Don't waste your time championing petty plights. If you have the passion to fight for something, make it something BIG. If you're going to go through all the trouble of dragging out the oil, and getting flour and grease all over your kitchen, ONLY FRY BIG FISH! Your life (and stomach) will be fuller.
Photo Credit: Original Artwork by Sarah Kopp