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The Howling Dog Story.

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“If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

There is a great story about the howling dog:

There is a story of an old man and his dog sitting on the porch. It’s hot outside. The old man is sipping on his lemonade, and the dog is sitting next to him, howling in pain.

The neighbor across the street hears the dog howling for several minutes, and his curiosity gets the best of him, so he approaches the old man.

He asks the old man, “Why is your dog howling in pain?”

The old man responds by saying: The dog is sitting on a nail.”

Perplexed, the neighbor asks, “Why doesn’t he get away from the nail?”

The old man takes another sip of lemonade before replying and says – That is because he doesn’t find it painful enough yet.”

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain. – Maya Angelou

We all have nails poking us in our lives. Some of the nails are mildly painful, and others are extremely painful. We only change when we are hurt enough, either from desperation or inspiration.

Some of us have relationship nails. Yet, we fail to set healthy boundaries, and we nag when our boundaries get crossed because we fail to enforce consequences. We condole bad behavior from our family and friends because of our fear of loneliness.

Boundary Without Consequences is Nagging

Some of us have health nails. Yet, we eat junk food, fail to exercise, and we wonder why we are overweight.

Some of us have financial nails. We spend more than we earn; we fail to save and invest but wonder why we are not wealthy.

Some of us have career nails. So we go to jobs we despise, bosses we can not stand, and whine about our jobs and the rat race but fail to effect change because we have bills to pay.

“If you don’t make things happen then things will happen to you.”  – Robert Collier

Pain and Change

Author John C. Maxwell once quipped, “People change when they … Hurt enough that they have to, Learn enough that they want to, and Receive enough that they are able to.”  and Motivational speaker Jim Rohn noted, “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”

“People change when they … Hurt enough that they have to, Learn enough that they want to, and Receive enough that they are able to.” – Joh C. Maxwell

Like the Dog in the above story, we complain, nag, moan, grumble, whine, protest, but we fail to do the needful -change. Instead, we stay in our comfort zone, which determines our daily habits, routines, actions, and inaction. Nothing moves until you move; you need to change your strategy to get a different result. Doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

We act like the howling dog; we set boundaries without enforcing consequences. Hence we nag. As a result, we stay in toxic relationships, draining jobs, destructive environments, condole bad behavior, and we complain but do not act to change our lives.

Complaining is like bad breath. We notice it when it comes out of someone else’s mouth, but not when it comes out of our own.

Motivational Speaker Will Bowen writes in his book, A Complaint Free World:

We Complaining to the Wrong Person

When most people are unhappy with their boss, they complain to their spouse. When they are displeased with their spouse, they complain to their friends. They speak to anyone and everyone except the person who can actually improve the situation, and they live in disappointment and bewilderment, wondering why their relationships don’t improve.

People complain to Get attention, Remove responsibility from themselves, Inspire envy, have Power over others, and Excuse poor performance.

Bowen noted:

If you complain about a situation, you may be able to draw others to you, but you won’t be able to get much done, because your focus is on the problem and not the solution. Discern what needs to be done and then begin to speak in terms of what it will be like when the challenge no longer exists, when the gap is bridged, when the problem is solved.

“Complaining may benefit us in many ways, such as gaining sympathy and attention—it may even gain us a radio audience—but being happy is not a benefit derived from complaining.”

We generally change for two reasons: Inspiration or desperation. Unfortunately, some people need to get to their rock bottom before making the needed change or getting inspired and making the needed change we know we need to make. It might be through losing a loved one, losing a job, ending a relationship, divorce, or dealing with life vicissitudes.


“We generally change ourselves for one of two reasons: inspiration or desperation.” -Jim Rohn

We all have small and big nails poking us continuously. Unfortunately, life is not a bed of roses; it is not a matter of when the nails would come; it is when. The key to navigating the pain is to take the necessary actions to ease the pain. But rather than taking action, most of us sit and howl. We complain, nag and howl because the pokes aren’t yet painful enough. Instead of complaining and asking people who can not help us for advice, we need to do the needful: Start that business, end that toxic relationship, prepare for that test, start that training regimen, seek professional help – Just Do it.

All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much“Don’t find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain.”  – Henry Ford

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist | Marathoner | Bibliophile -info@lanredahunsi.com

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