It’s not exactly what you think.
Not Shut the Fuck Up; Spartan the Fuck Up.
So where am I going with this?
I hate complainers. This doesn’t mean I never complain. I’m human. Give me a break. And it doesn’t mean that I always complain about worthy things. Sometimes, I, too, need a reality check to reframe the lame things I think are worth being so upset over. Generally, though, I tend to look for solutions, and I’m finding that I have less and less patience for people who aren’t creative attackers.
WTF is a Creative Attacker?
Someone who approaches problems from the back end: solutions instead of wasting time focusing on the problem and the perceived failure, interruption, etc. A person of action.
Creative attackers don’t waste time whining. They just take a second, reset, and approach it from a different angle. Creative attackers are the best. They’re resilient, and they aren’t phased by no. Gary V is a phenomenal example of a creative attacker.
I’m not a full creative attacker. I’m learning. It takes a lot of practice, and just a touch of self-control.
Let me be clear: I’m not referring to the people in life who actually have large problems. Those kind of complaints are justified, and I’d go so far as to say it’s not complaining so much as processing. PSA: It’s okay to talk about the shit that sucks that’s hurting you. I’m talking to the people who sit around and bitch about every leaf and feather that inconveniently blows onto their metaphorical porch because they can’t find anything better to do with their time.
Here’s a thought: get a goddamn hobby.
There’s this thing I say to the kids I nanny that drives them bonkers: Be a problem solver.
Kids, by nature, are complainers. Maybe not all, but most. It’s how they communicate their needs because they haven’t yet learned that 1. it’s socially annoying, and 2. it’s not helpful or constructive, but 3. they don’t know how to tell you in a way that doesn’t sound whiney. So you have to teach them.
And what I’m noticing is that a lot of adults need to be taught, too.
I know people who like to be miserable just for something to do. I think they lack the self-awareness to realize that they’re doing it. I don’t think they could tell you why even if they knew they were doing it. But if you watch what they say they want versus what they actually choose, you’ll notice that they go for the things that will give them something to occupy their time in the form of heavy complaining. I don’t understand this.
If you’re so bored, why don’t you use all that energy for something that contributes to your life. Start a garden. If that sounds as dreadful to you as it does to me, do something more exciting. Join a pick-up volleyball team. Learn how to do something you’ve always admired in others. Or if you’re feeling really adventurous, try a Spartan workout.
I’ve decided that when I encounter habitual complainers in my life, there’s going to be one response: Get up. You’re doing a Spartan workout with me. Let’s see if you feel like whining about anything else by the time we’re done. If you still feel like talking shit about what some girl wore to some place, or the way that guy parks his truck, or whatever other dumb friggin thing it is that people waste time on, drop and hit 30 burpees.
Actually, let’s make that a challenge.
Every time you complain about anything that isn’t epically life-altering (and not in the First World Problems sort of way), do 30 burpees.
I’m challenging myself to it this weekend. I’m going camping for the first time in my life, and new experiences are the best provocateurs of discomfort. And when people are uncomfortable, they complain. Let’s see how I fare.
If nothing else, it’ll make you more mindful of what you’re contributing to your relationships. Is it positive? Or are you generally so dull that you have nothing better to share?
Quit your bitching. Find something to do.