Are you annoyed when you stumble across yet another rant that appears to be full of emotion but is hardly presenting any insight in how it should bring any other relief than channeling the originator’s frustration? Or is simply hinting towards how ignorant the “others” are?
I am. And by experience I know I am hardly an exception.
Nevertheless a rant can be very useful, but on a condition, which is apparently quite counter-intuitive. A rant is an essential step in what should be a multi-step approach:
- Your frustration starts boiling. It is your moment of clarity for seeing the essence of the problem to its full extent! Keep your calm and interactive attitude, mitigate your frustration by thinking about and preparing for what you will do in step 2.The worst possible scenario at this moment is creating distance by becoming very outspoken. Preserve your frustration for the better. You are lacking the time for essential reflection at this point anyway. On the contrary, keep on challenging in a constructive way, listen well to what the others bring on and capture well what is going on, the positive and the negative. You need to go into learning mode. You will need a detailed understanding of the situation later.
- Write it down as soon as possible. It is your moment of clarity, right? Don’t let the clarity slip away. Writing it down is the ideal way of finding personal relief for your frustration and to avoid any premature sharing that you may regret later. There is your rant. Let it out.
- DO NOT SHARE/PUBLISH IT!!! You will annoy people! Resist the temptation!
- Let it sink. Reflection time! Add more detail and additional views when they come to you. At this point, you may also want to look for partners – not all likeminded! – with whom you can constructively and safely exchange views in order to better explore and understand the problem.
- If it is not worth gaining priority or you’re not willing to put any effort into doing something about what you are opposing, you can stop here and feel definitively relieved now.
- If it is and you are among the willing, you can continue:
You will need to change your perspective towards the problem to a broader one, one that includes the people as part of the situation, yes also the so-called “ignorant others” that you will have to work with anyway!
Only a solution approach that acknowledges that fact and addresses how to bring and keep people on board, can lead to real, long-term relief.
Remember the situation. You will need the full understanding now. It will make clear where the real constraints are, and what can realistically be done. The solutions to our problems are inherently embedded in the problems themselves.
If you are not yet familiar with the really magnificent classic book “Change: Principles of Problem Formation and Problem Resolution” by Paul Watzlawick, John H. Weakland and Richard Fisch, now is your opportunity to study it. It dates back to 1974 (and got a paperback reissue in 2011) but has not lost any of its relevance in getting a deep understanding of change as you intend to pursue.
- Form a better understanding of the problem in its entirety
- Build your problem resolution strategy
Unfortunately it often goes wrong in step 3.