Raw Potatoes And Other Dining Adventures

I admit it: I’m a big fan of the Law of Attraction. It’s become one of the focal points of my life and of my coaching and teaching practice. However, I’ve discovered that there is one drawback to the Law of Attraction: It takes all the fun out of complaining! Once you understand the basic principles of the Law of Attraction you know that whenever you complain, you’re in the process of attracting more of exactly what you’re whimpering about.

Here’s a case in point. This past weekend, my friend and I stopped by a little diner on the way back from our hike out on the coast. I ordered a simple brunch of eggs, potatoes and a biscuit. He opted for the BLT. All was good until we began talking about a dinner we had a few weeks ago at a local restaurant.

“Can you believe their prices?” I whined.

“Nope.” He replied.

“I mean, $18.50 for a personal pizza? What are they thinking?”

“What are all the people thinking that eat there?” He said. “That’s what I want to know.”
“Yeah. I mean it’s not even outrageously great food.” I said. “Good, yeah, but not great. Not $18.50 for a pizza with no leftovers great!”

And on it went for a few minutes until I caught myself, realized what I was doing, and said, “We’re screwed Mike.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well we’re both students of the Law of Attraction and here we are moaning about all the stuff we didn’t like at that restaurant. And as we both know, that means that we’re sending out big vibrational signals to the Universe saying, ‘look, we’re saying we don’t like all this stuff we’re talking about, but really what we’re saying is that we just can’t get enough of it. So please send us more!”

“Oh man, you’re right.” He said.

So we began focusing on all the things that we liked about dining out, but, alas, it was too late. Just then, the waitress brought my plate out, and I could tell, right away, that the potatoes were undercooked. They were milky white in color, with that glean of oil that has not been cooked off. There was no sign of the crispy crunchies on the outside that I like so much. Poking my fork into one of them confirmed my worst fears. They were hard on the inside. I enjoy most of my veggies a bit undercooked, I like my broccoli to bite back a bit, but not potatoes. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. That’s how I like them. And these definitely were not!

My friend, who happens to be a professional chef, was somewhat less deprecating of their efforts, but nonetheless acknowledged the al denténess of the potatoes.

And guess what happened next. You guessed it. I fell right back into the complaining space.

“These potatoes aren’t done.” I whined. “I can’t believe they would send out potatoes like this. I’m going to ask her to bring out some hash browns instead.”

But the waitress never came over to ask how our meal was. Which, of course, just added to my litany of complaints. I was rolling now.

“You know Mike, this is exactly why a good manager tells the wait-staff to visit each of their tables a few minutes after they’ve gotten their food. You don’t just leave them hanging. What if something isn’t right?”

Mike just sat there, listening and enjoying his BLT with no complaints. Not really responding to me. Waiting for me to get it. Which I did, eventually.

“I’m doing it again.” I finally realized.

“Yup.” He said.

Complaining is so seductive. I think many of us grew up on a diet of complaints and worry. I know I did. It’s a familiar, comfortable space to enter. When the world around us is falling apart, and even when it’s not falling apart, complaining often seems to make everything right in the world. Or at least a bit less wrong.

Call it glass-half-empty-itis or complaints-R-us, but whatever you call it, know that even the most optimistic among us have moments when we fall into that comforting place of pointing out all the things that are not working.

How often have you engaged in “water cooler” or coffee break conversations about a bad experience you had or how someone was rude to you, or cut you off in traffic, or the “six-slice” toaster you just bought that barely fits four slices?

Every moment you spend in that space of complaining, is a moment that you are saying to the Universe, “this is what I choose to focus my attention on.” And the Universe replies by saying “well then, I guess you want more of it. Here you go!”

How do you change this pattern? Change your focus. Instead of looking for the things that are not working, things that disappoint or distress you, look for the things that are working, the things that bring you joy, the things that make you feel good.

Instead of focusing on how overpriced a restaurant is (whether or not it’s “true” in your opinion) focus on the things that you really like about your time at that restaurant. Is the food good? If not, is it edible? Is the service decent? No? How about the artwork on the wall? Interesting? Nope. Hmm. How about the ambience? Not great? Well at least you don’t have any dishes to wash when you’re done! Find something, anything about your experience that feels good, that you can focus on and enjoy.

The Law of Attraction is quite simple: you attract what you focus your attention on. Focus on what annoys you and you will get more of that. Begin to shift your attention to what you enjoy and you will begin to get more of that. It really is that simple.