Being Constructive: How to Move Forward

To create positive change we all need to be constructive in our approach. We need to focus on finding solutions, not just complaining all the damn time. As a country, we waste so much time and energy bitching and moaning that could be much better spent.

All the whining, from regular people, elected officials, the media, etc, bitching and moaning might as well be our national pastime. Just saying something sucks is childish, lazy, and not helpful especially if you’re just trying to make people upset.

Identifying problems is essential, I have a whole section of the site dedicated to it. But more important is understanding why, and offering strategies to make progress. Without offering constructive ideas for how to improve the situation, we are not going to make any progress.

Name Calling and Over-Generalizations are Counterproductive

It only serves to escalate the situation. It might make you feel better to put someone down, but it’s not helping the situation. If we can remember that we are all on team America, communication will be much easier and more effective.

Don’t be #counterProductive

The “Other Side” Isn’t “Evil”

You might disagree with someone, but keep things in perspective. Honest, constructive communication is so much more valuable than anger. We’re all people.

People hate each other

We’re shaped by our circumstances and environment. If someone has a point of view that is different than yours, the best thing you can do for everyone (especially you) is to try and understand why they believe what they believe. That includes understanding what they actually think, not your preconceived notion.

Anyone who doesn’t like the status quo, and who wants to effect positive change, should have to be constructive as their goal.

On Being Constructive

If we want to solve problems, it helps if everyone is acting constructively. Fighting and concentrating on emotions is usually not helpful. If you aren’t sure how to communicate effectively without relying on labels, here are some tips:

  • Be Specific – Speaking in broad, general terms is less effective than getting down to the nitty-gritty details. When you’re specific, it’s easier for the person you’re communicating with to understand your perspective and where you’re coming from.
  • Give Examples – If you can provide examples to back up your statements, it will make your argument more persuasive. Focus on the fundamental problem, and avoid getting bogged down in the details.
  • Avoid Generalizations – Making sweeping statements about groups of people is almost always counterproductive. It only further alienates and divides us. Statements like “all Democrats want X” or “Republicans always do Y” only serve to drive division, which most of us can agree is a huge problem.
  • Offer Solutions – If you have a solution in mind, share it. This shows that you’re not just looking to complain, but that you’re interested in finding a way to improve the situation. Complaining is easy, but it doesn’t make progress. Building something better is much harder.

Being A Constructive Person

Most of us want to make a positive difference in the world, but it can be hard to know how. These are some steps you can take to be more constructive.

Recognize That There is A Problem

The first step in making a change is recognizing that there is a problem. By identifying a problem, you are one step closer to creating a solution. Reframing from complaining and instead focusing on the potential solutions often generates a path to progress. Every obstacle presents the potential for growth if you take an active role in identifying them. By looking at the problem objectively and thoroughly, you can hone in on possible solutions.

Acknowledge that Complaining Without Offering Solutions Isn’t Helpful

Understand and be conscious that complaining without offering alternatives can be extremely unproductive and damaging to the country. All the negativity we hear from so many politicians and talking heads, without a reasonable alternative, is a big reason why everyone is so angry.

Constructive criticism is one of the best ways to move forward as a country. Expressing dissatisfaction in a productive manner not only lets you explain your discontent, but, by stating the problem clearly, it makes identifying causes and productive strategies much easier.

Thoughtfulness, problem-solving, and creative ideas benefit everyone. Criticizing constructively acknowledges your frustration with the current situation while proposing plans for progress.

We Can’t Change the Past, But We Can Influence the Future

While it is natural to feel frustrated or disheartened by situations that could have been handled differently, dwelling on what has already passed won’t help us move forward. Bitching about how terrible the Democrats or Republicans are, their past misdeeds, their extreme hypocrisy does very little to move us forward as a country.

Despite what the divisive media says, we always have the opportunity to shape the future positively. Instead of just complaining and pointing out problems, put your energy towards finding constructive solutions.

Brainstorm Possible Solutions to the Problem

Brainstorming is one of the best methods for coming up with constructive solutions. A good place to start is to research what others have come up with. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel, and if someone else has a working idea, it’s much easier to make it better than it is to start from scratch.

Creativity when brainstorming solutions is great – clearly what we’re doing now has its issues. Don’t be afraid to share ideas that sound outlandish or far-fetched; they might bring up other potential solutions. Think holistically when approaching the problem; by considering all aspects of a system, you may be able to eventually find a viable solution that works. Even if you can’t solve the problem immediately, consider how your idea can help propel the process forward and incrementally affect change in a positive direction.

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Choose the Best Solution and Take Action

It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of negativity –but solutions are within reach. Take a step back, think critically, and identify the best possible solution to whatever problem you’re dealing with.

Don’t just talk about it–go out there and take action! Get involved with Less Bad, or seek out organizations already working on something similar. If they don’t exist, start your own!

Making sure you choose the right path makes all the difference. Change starts with proactive decision-making combined with inspired action, so throw on your courage and press forward toward progress!

Evaluate the Results of Your Actions and Adjust as Necessary

When evaluating the results of the actions we take, it is important to remain proactive and optimistic. When new issues arise, take a look at what could have been done differently and adjust accordingly. This could include changing course, finding ways to deal with new issues as they come up, or simply starting anew with a different plan.

Yes, this constructive approach is harder than running your mouth, but it pays off in the long run.

By taking steps toward improving things now instead of endlessly complaining about them, we can make a real impact in our own lives and the lives of those around us.

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