How To Use Whining As A Way To Not Get Things Done

Originally published on 16 April 2007..

This article, Stop Whining and Take Charge of Your Life –, gives a good checklist of items on how to recognize when you need to take charge of your life. However, I don’t think it does a good job of addressing the whining part.

It is one thing to be stuck and need to get going again. It is another thing to be stuck and complain about it unendingly. I find that usually whining takes the form of “I can’t…” “I don’t want to…” or “This happened to me…”

I look at whining as a way to avoid getting out of that stuck place. Far too many people must subconsciously think that if they complain about something enough, or get enough sympathy, these situations will miraculously resolve themselves.

But my way of dealing with whining is simple. It means pointing out the whining during the act. (And yes, I do this to myself when I recognize myself whining about something, too). How I do it depends on how much I respect the person, and how often I’ve had to do the calling down. Sometimes a gentle “and how are you going to get past this” is enough…however, other times the tactless “please tell someone who cares” is necessary to jar the whiner out of the pattern.

In my own case, when I catch myself whining, I make myself sit down, list what is bothering me, and determine why I am whining rather than taking action. This is usually enough to get me moving again.

But whining is much easier than actually moving forward on my goals.