“You get what you get and you don’t get upset” Chase (my oldest son) screamed as he ripped a toy out of Jax’s (my youngest son) hands. This is a popular refrain learned in nursery school. It is usually said when toys are given out. While there may be enough toy cars for all the children, there may only be a few blue cars to go around. If a blue car is what little Timmy has his heart on but instead he is presented with a red car, a tantrum might ensue. “I want that one”, “why does she get that one” may be heard. You get what you get and don’t get upset is a basic rule of engagement. It helps to maintain order. I would venture to say it may even be the beginning steps of learning gratitude and appreciation. Having a toy ripped from your hand because your older brother wants it does not necessarily fall under this description ‑ but I digress.
Unfortunately, for many of us, nursery school was a long time ago. We have forgotten the proverb and have become a bunch of whiners and complainers (not my readers I’m sure). When we do not get things our way we hem and haw.
Fresh out of high school I ran a recording studio with my brother. I handled all the day to day operations while my brother invested into the business. This gave him veto power. During a heated disagreement about the plans for the future of the studio he invoked his veto power. He gave me an analogy that I have since internalized. He said, if George Steinbrenner made the Yankees wear red hats, they would have to wear red hats. Steinbrenner was the owner of the Yankees at the time, and the Yankees are well, the Yankees. They are one of the most successful franchises in professional sports history and have one of the most recognizable uniforms in the world. Changing their uniforms would have been be an outrage.What my brother was alluding to was, if the Yankee players wanted to remain Yankee players and keep their big paychecks they would have to go along with what Steinbrenner wanted. They would ditch the pinstripes and don red hats.
Now, we are often challenged with a fork in our proverbial road of life. We are then faced with an option, right or left. Sometimes the choice does not seem much of a choice. For example, your boss calls you in on your day off. You may go in to work believing that if you do not go you will lose your job. So you go in to work in order to keep your job. You complain for weeks, months, or even years about how inconsiderate your boss was. In actuality you had a choice. You decided to wear a red hat.
This has helped me every day. Before I start to complain or find myself complaining I visualize a red hat. This helps me to curb my angst and put things in perspective. Now I aim not saying stop complaining, that’s not realistic, after all, we are not robots. However I do find that we complain as a coping mechanism, a crutch we lean on to bear the brunt of something we do not want to do, perhaps something we feel is out of our control. This is a fallacy. If you can imagine a red hat like I do it may help you make better decisions. You do have a choice. Complaining is not a third choice. You are either going to do it or you are not, you either agree or disagree.
There is a saying there are no bad contracts only bad signers. It means that a signer bears the responsibility for what they are agreeing to. Not fully understanding the contract or being ignorant of what the ramifications will be still leans on the signer. The contract may not be your cup of tea but may be awesome for someone else. So the contract is not the issue. If you do not like a given situation realize that at one point in time you signed up for it. For whatever reason you are not happy with the current terms of the nonverbal agreement it is on you to try to fix it. If all you do is complain in a passive aggressive way all you are really doing is agreeing to the contract. You agree to wear the red hat.
In life sometimes we have to wear red hats. We have to put up with something until we are at the place we want to be. Sometimes wearing a red hat can help us get there. Be warned though that wearing a red hat can also lead us straight to the perpetual state of suck. Therefore, if we minimize our complaining it can help us see the decisions we are making through a clearer lens and this helps us make more informed decisions. Complaining can act as an unnecessary distraction. Focus on what you have control over.
One suggestion before knowingly or unknowingly wearing a red hat is deciding if doing so will get you closer to becoming the best version of yourself or not.
Quit your belly aching!