A common default trap that many fall into is BCD. When faced with a problem or difficult situation, there is a tendency for people to react by Blaming someone else, Complaining about the situation, and Defending their own default behavior. We’ve all done it. Some do it a lot. But understand this: BCD never solved a problem, achieved a goal, or improved a relationship. The reality is that BCD damages everything it touches.
It is for this reason that we encourage people, teams, and organizations to adopt a “No BCD” policy.
Everything going just the way you planned is quite rare. A key attribute of a discipline-driven life is understanding that situations do not always go as you’d hoped or wanted. Success lies in the hands of those uncommon few who know how to thrive in the face of challenges and adversity. Recognizing that at some point things will go wrong — and then responding effectively when they do — is an essential discipline in the pursuit of the best version of you.
The “No BCD” rule doesn’t mean ignoring problems. Problems are real, and when you are discipline-driven you accept that reality. You don’t react by blaming, complaining, or defending. You respond with problem-solving and resilience.
BCD is a bad investment of time and energy. Here are seven reasons why, with a recommended solution for each:
- BCD is easy, but it makes things worse.
It doesn’t require any effort or skill. It’s always easier to complain about problems than it is to solve them. Not only is that lazy, but it guarantees the problem won’t go away. BCD does not fix or solve anything for anyone. It only makes things worse by adding a bad attitude to already existing challenges. It’s an excuse for not doing the hard work that life requires.
Solution: Resist the easy (and crowded) path of complaining and blaming. Take ownership and find solutions. Don’t make a difficult situation worse by reacting with BCD.
- It takes time and energy away from real problem-solving.
The time and energy you waste on blaming or complaining would be much better invested in fixing problems and achieving results. BCD is a culture killer in a business, on a team, or in a school. It creates an environment of negativity that undermines engagement, motivation, productivity, and creativity.
Solution: Invest your time wisely. Focus your effort on finding solutions, not complaining about problems. Keep in mind that talking about a problem isn’t BCD. Fixating on the problem and continuing to complain about it is BCD. Success goes to solvers, not complainers.
- It is habit-forming.
BCD gets easier each time you do it. Once you start, it’s hard to stop. It becomes your default reaction when things don’t go the way you want, and there will always be things that don’t go the way you want.
Solution: When you encounter difficulties and obstacles, don’t be surprised. Be prepared. Recognize BCD in your life and replace it with problem-solving and resilience. Stop feeding the BCD habit!
- It is contagious.
BCD is very social. People who BCD are recruiters who feel compelled to communicate their complaints and criticisms. They want other people to share their negative perspective. This promotes unhealthy relationships that feed on negativity. It creates a “fellowship of discontent.”
Solution: Understand that a relationships based on complaining are pseudo-connections that are neither beneficial nor healthy. Refuse to participate in BCD, and be relentless about solving. Whenever possible, stay away from negative people.
- It damages your credibility.
The more you BCD, the more you will develop the reputation of a complainer, and people won’t see you as helpful. They will hesitate to collaborate with you and will avoid your negative energy.
Solution: Protect your personal brand. Build the reputation of someone that others can count on to get things done, not someone who complains. Become a source of positive, productive energy.
- It is prohibitively expensive.
In order to be productive, an organization invests in people. However, when associates engage in BCD, they waste time and money and undermine performance. You can (and should) calculate the cost of BCD in your organization. Consider a company with 250 associates where, on average, each person engages in 5 hours of BCD per week. At an average wage of $35/hour, the weekly cost of BCD in this company is $43,750. The monthly cost $175,000. The annual cost is $2,100,000. The point is clear: Organizations can dramatically lower costs and increase productivity by eliminating BCD.
Solution: Be strategic and efficient. Reduce BCD in your organization, stop wasting money, and improve performance. Create a solution-driven culture.
- It is toxic and erodes the human spirit. Finally, BCD is a thief that robs us of happiness and hope. It sabotages our productivity. It deceives and seduces good people into making bad decisions.
Solution: When confronted by an obstacle or challenge, resist the temptation to blame or complain. Tap into the best version of you. Ruthlessly eliminate BCD from your life.
Get rid of any lingering attachment to the entitled mindset that you shouldn’t have to deal with frustrating situations or irritating people. You are not exempt from the difficulties and obstacles of life. When you face a challenge, don’t complain. Don’t quit. Find a way.
Do the work!