#47: Whining and Complaining [Podcast]

Welcome to Episode #47 of the Fight for a Happy Life podcast, “Whining and Complaining.”

Okay, I admit it—I like to talk. But if you ever catch me whining and complaining, do me a favor and slap me in the face!

But before you do, give me one chance to whine and complain about people who whine and complain. Don’t worry—I have a plan to defeat them, too!

To LISTEN to, “Whining and Complaining,” you can either:

Whining and Complaining poster

To READ along, or if the player won’t play, you’ll find a full transcript down below.

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Thanks for listening! Keep fighting for a happy life! 🙂

Whining and Complaining


Today on Fight for a Happy Life… whining and complaining.

Welcome to Episode #47 of Fight for a Happy Life, the show that believes a little martial arts makes life a whole lot better.

 Ando here and, as always, I’m happy you could drop by.

I want to start off today with a quick shout out to a couple of listeners who were kind enough to leave a review for the show over on iTunes. In case you didn’t know, adding reviews helps this podcast rank higher in the search engines, and that helps other people like you and me to find the show. So, a big thank you to my friends KidAlvis, TrueThrashGod, and Lucy McQueen. Bless your sweet hearts.

And if you enjoy this show, and you’d like to help other people find it, leaving a review over on iTunes, Stitcher, GooglePlay, or whatever platform you enjoy, it’s a big help. Thank you for that.

Now, if you don’t leave a review, do you think I’ll be angry? Do you think I’ll whine and complain about it? Nah. You know why? Well, that’s what I’m going to talk about right now.

[01:45] You’ve heard me say many times, 46 times if you’ve listened to every episode, that a smile is your shield and your sword. I also claimed way back in Episode #10 that a smile is your greatest self-defense weapon. But let’s face it—it’s not always easy to smile.

To me, smiling is a skill. It’s no different from a punch or a kick. It takes practice. But the funny thing is, unlike punching and kicking, some people out there will be uncomfortable when you smile. Upset. Angry even. I’ll give you an example…

I was walking through a supermarket the other day. I liked the song that was playing on the sound system, so I started whistling along. So, I’m shuffling down the aisles with a little pep in my step, and I noticed that my good mood got three different reactions.

The first group of shoppers gave me a little nod or a little smile. They saw that I was in a good mood and they were happy to share in it. And isn’t that the way life should be? Unfortunately, that was just a couple of people.

The second group was the big one. The silent majority. I split that group into two halves. The first half is made up of all the people who didn’t notice me because they were too busy living their own lives, and that’s fine by me. Do your thing, people.

But the second half is made up of all the people who heard me whistling, saw me smile, and then ignored me. They made a choice not to look up or engage in any way. I figure they were either happy I was happy, but didn’t feel comfortable sharing that with a stranger, or because they weren’t happy I was happy, but resisted the urge to hit me over the head with a jar of applesauce.

Of course, it’s also possible that they heard me and just didn’t care either way. I don’t know. Anyway, to the people who just didn’t care, or who resisted smashing my dome with a jar of applesauce, thank you for your patience and restraint. Carry on. But to the people who were uncomfortable to make eye contact, or smile back, or whistle their own happy tune, you make me sad.

When good, happy people feel uncomfortable connecting with other good, happy people, well, then the critics, cynics, and cranky pants of the world win.

Which brings us to the third group—the critics, cynics, and cranky pants. These are the people who, when they see someone happy, they roll their eyes, huff and puff, or make snarky comments. These people aren’t afraid to connect. They’ll look right at you. Not to share in your good mood, but to challenge it. They’ll look right at you with a sour face as if to say, “What are you so happy about, you idiot?”

Man. If you’re in that group, I have a message for you. $%# you!

That’s it. I have no respect—zero—for anyone who not only refuses to plant flowers, but thinks it’s okay to step on someone else’s flowers.

And do you know who I respect the least? Do you know who I think are the worst people on the planet? I mean, after terrorists and criminals, of course. Old people. Not all old people, of course. I’m talking about grumpy, rude, intolerant old people.

You’d think that the older you get, the kinder you’d become, right? You should be more patient and more understanding. But have you visited a nursing home or a retirement community lately? I can’t believe how many senior citizens are shuffling around on their walkers with a scowl on their face and a nasty comment on their tongues.

Losers. You heard me. They’re losers because even after 70, 80, 90 years of life, they still haven’t figured out how to make themselves happy or how to make the people around them happy. I just want to kick out their walkers and hide their teeth.

Happy Old Couple

My heroes! 🙂  Photo by Lotte Meijer

Look, if a kid is eight years old and you tell him he’s going to Disneyland for his birthday, and then at the last minute, you cancel the trip, I get it, I completely understand if that kid gets angry and throws a tantrum. I get it if the kid says he hates his mom and hates his dad and wants to kill himself. He’s eight years old! He doesn’t know how life works yet.

But when you’re 80 years old? Heck, even 70 or 60 and you’re still throwing tantrums? No, you know what? If you’re over 20 and you’re still blaming other people for your problems, or playing the victim, or thinking the world is out to get you, grow up.

I have no sympathy for bitter old people. You know who I feel sorry for? I feel sorry for their grandkids. Those poor kids have to spend time with a terrible role model for living a long, happy life. I feel even sorrier for the senior citizens who did figure out how to live a long, happy life, but got locked up with a bunch of losers.

Angry old people are my enemies. Happy old people are my heroes.

So, if you’re over 20, this is what you should know—life is tough. But guess what? It’s tough on everybody. Everybody! We all feel heartbreak and disappointment. We all miss opportunities and fail to achieve dreams. We all get mocked and cheated.

So, if you think pain makes you special, you’re wrong. Doesn’t matter who your parents are, where you were born, or how much money you have. You, me, and everybody has good days, bad days, triumphs, and tragedies. We’re all on the same emotional journey.

So, if you can’t find a reason to smile, then you, my friend, are a failure… and I can prove it. I can prove it simply by looking at people who are suffering just as much as you, or maybe even more, and can still smile. If they can smile, so can I. So can you.

Now, I’m not saying we should all walk around laughing like a bunch of lunatics. I’m saying that if you’re committed to fight for a happy life, then you will find a reason to smile no matter what. You won’t let disappointment ruin your day and you won’t use pain as an excuse to ruin someone else’s day.

Again, I’m not saying that smiling is easy. It’s not. Smiling is hard work. Whining and complaining, on the other hand, scowling and sneering, those take no practice whatsoever. That’s why the only people who should be allowed to cry, scream, and throw tantrums are babies.

Babies don’t know any better. But you do. You know that losing your temper and lashing out at other people is not something to be proud about. Whining and complaining are lazy, ignorant, and childish behaviors.

If you want to be proud of yourself, try smiling when you’re in pain. Even better, try helping someone else smile through their pain.

[10:04] I know this all sounds obvious, and yet, you will find whiners and complainers everywhere. Another example…

A couple of years ago, my wife and I were at the airport. We were lined up, ready to board, and an announcement came over the speakers to let us know that our flight was going to be delayed 20 minutes because the President of the United States was about to land.

When I heard that, I perked up. I thought, “Cool! I can see Air Force One!” And I did. But do you think everybody was excited?

Waiting for My FlightNope! Even as the announcement was still being made, I mean, as soon as the word “delay” came over the speakers, you could hear people groaning and mumbling. Now, keep in mind, we’re talking about a 20-minute delay here. The announcement wasn’t, “Sorry, suckers. Your flight’s been canceled. And we’re keeping your bags. Go home.”

No. It was a 20-minute delay. But there we were, broken up into three groups.

One small group was excited. One big group went back to texting and chatting like they didn’t even hear the announcement. The third group, of course, whined and complained, and that’s who we all had to listen to for the next 20 minutes.

How crazy is that? Here were more than a hundred human beings all going through the exact same situation, but reacting in completely different ways. Now, again, I’m not saying we should all be the same, but shouldn’t we all be mature enough to recognize that some behaviors are healthy and constructive while others are unhealthy and destructive?

Feeling anger and frustration is natural. I admit that. I’m angry and frustrated on a daily basis, but I have worked hard to transform those negative feelings into positive thoughts and actions. Allowing yourself to not only stay angry and frustrated, but to then amplify those negative feelings by choosing to whine and complain is absolute insanity.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from martial arts is how to roll with a punch. How to let go of pain and frustration. In the martial arts, if I hold on to anger and frustration, I’ll get beat up. If you take a punch and don’t immediately move on to your next move, you’re doomed.

In a real fight, whining and complaining will literally get you killed. To survive, you need to figure out what you can gain from the pain. You need to stop boo-hooing and get back to doing.

So, if you’re complaining about your sparring partner being too rough… try moving and blocking better. Or stop sparring that guy. If you’re whining about how you’re not flexible enough for high kicks… try making more time to stretch. Or stop throwing high kicks. If you’re angry about everybody else being promoted to a higher rank except for you… try training harder. Or find a new school.

The heart of martial arts is self-reliance. Taking responsibility for yourself. For me, the first goal of a martial artist is to seek control over your body, your thoughts, and your feelings. The second goal is to seek control of somebody else. Specifically, a bad guy who’s trying to take control of you.

Which means, as a martial artist, if you’re walking through the world without a smile, or without the power to find a smile, well, you’re not much of a martial artist.

Straight up. Your training is deficient. Your training should be helping you to not only throw a punch, but to take a punch. You should be a master at moving from failure to opportunity. And as far as controlling someone else? Your training should not only be developing the power to raise your own spirit, but the power to raise the spirits of the people around you.

What’s the alternative, really? To wake up in the morning and immediately whine because you’re still alive? To start your day with a tight neck and an upset stomach? To walk outside hoping you won’t make a new friend or learn something new?

Come on. I mean, if you think like that, okay. I respect your right to make yourself miserable. But you don’t have the right to actively campaign to make other people miserable. I don’t respect that.

If you think it’s okay to roll your eyes at someone who’s happy, or sneer at someone who’s enjoying their day, or criticize someone who has overcome their pain, hey—do me a favor and just drop dead, okay?

Does that sound too harsh? Deal with it. This is self-defense. Emotional self-defense.

You want my wallet? Take it. You want my smile? You can’t have it.

Make no mistake, my friend—we are at war. The critics, cynics, and cranky pants are the enemy. We must not allow the scowling, snarling whiners and complainers to steal our smiles.

Happiness is not easy. You know that. Happiness is fragile. Which is why it helps to know you’re not alone in fighting for a happy life. So, if you can build a team, an army, of positive people, around you, do it. Yes, you can still be happy even if the whole world is cranky, but when you can find positive partners and friends, life sure gets a lot easier.

So, part of your emotional self-defense strategy should be to surround yourself with people who will strengthen your smile when you’re feeling pain. In turn, you’ll strengthen their smile when they feel the same way.

If the people around you today, your current partners and friends, are not on Team Happy, get rid of them. Is that too harsh? I don’t think so. If your friend stabbed you in the heart with a knife, would you keep them as a friend? So, why would you allow a friend to stab your heart with insults, insensitivity, or indifference? Why would you allow a friend to inject you with the poison of a bad attitude?

Again, this is self-defense. We’re all in the same boat, my friend… a lifeboat. And if someone in the boat doesn’t want to help you paddle for shore, dump them overboard. Or eat them.

Okay. So, I’ve admitted that grumpy people, particularly grumpy, old people, make me angry. But I’ve also told you that anger is a waste of time. So, what is the appropriate way to respond to the whiners and complainers of the world? What should you do when a dragon breathes fire in your face to burn up your good mood?

The answer is simple. Smile.

Your smile is a shield to protect you from the heat of their hate. Do not let tension in someone else create tension in you. Do not let someone else’s bad mood tear apart your good mood. Do not let a dragon transform you into a dragon.

That is self-defense on the most fundamental level. The fact is you may never need to defend your body from a punch or a kick, but you will need step up and defend your optimism, hope, and good mood every day of your life.

Your smile is not just shield, however, it’s also a sword. Surviving a dragon attack is one thing, slaying that dragon is another. So, go to battle and defeat the dragon by killing it with kindness. Stab them in the heart with your smile.

In any situation, especially disappointing situations, let people see that there is an alternative to whining and complaining. Maybe the grim and grumpy simply forgot how to be happy. Maybe they think being happy makes them foolish or weak. Maybe when life feels out of control, swearing and snarling makes them feel powerful again, like babies throwing tantrums.

That’s what this is all about—control. Remember what I said—as martial artists, we train to take control of ourselves and others. But many people—most people—have no such training. Therefore, they have little control over anything or anyone, including themselves. So, when they can’t get what they want or when they want it, they react with lazy and childish behaviors to feel in control again.

What they don’t understand is that smiling is also a way to take control. It’s also a choice! A more difficult choice. A choice that will not be available to you if you don’t practice. It’s just like a high kick to the head.

What complainers don’t understand is that when I smile, I’m fighting back. I’m not only defending myself, I’m marching forward.

I will not allow a red light, a delayed fight, or even a punch to the face, steal away my good mood. Life is simple… if you’re smiling, you’re winning. If you’re frowning, you’re losing.

So, my advice, don’t ignore angry people. No matter how angry or out of control someone behaves in a bad situation, stand up to them with a calm and friendly spirit. Smile. Make a joke. Point out the positives. That’s not just good for you, it’s good for the whole world.

When you stay positive, no one can ever claim that everybody was whining and complaining. Whether the cranky pants like it or not, they know there was an alternative, because they saw it. They saw you.

If you want the world to be a more positive place, then be a role model of positive behaviors. That brings to mind a thought written by Mahatma Gandhi, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.”

Exactly. That’s because, whether you like to admit it or not, we’re all still monkeys for the most part. Monkey see, monkey do. If one person gets angry, that gives someone else the idea to get angry. If one person stays silent, that makes it easier for someone else to stay silent. But if one person smiles, that makes it easier for someone else to smile.

I’m doing my part. I try to smile no matter what. Not just for my own health and sanity, but as an attempt to change the world. That sounds arrogant and crazy, I know, but again, what’s the alternative?

Should we let the sourpusses and sad sacks lead the way? Should we let the doomsayers spread their anger and hostility? No. We can’t let that happen. We can’t lose the war.

So, let your smile be your shield and your sword. If you want to walk down the street and see someone smile at you, smile at them. If you want someone to hold the door for you, hold the door for them. Monkey see, monkey do.

I know it’s not always easy to be the first one to do something, but that’s why I’m asking you to do it. You’re a martial artist. You’re a fighter.

Don’t tell me you’re brave enough to punch a bad guy, but not brave enough to smile at a sad guy.

If you see yourself as a warrior in any way, if you believe you’re tough, if you believe you’re strong, then just ask yourself—what are you fighting for? Are you fighting to make the world a nastier place by losing your temper and starting fights?

Are you fighting to be left alone so you can become part of the silent majority? Or are you committed to fighting for a happy life for you and the lives of the people around you?

You have a choice, my friend—be a warrior or a whiner. A winner or a loser. A leader or a monkey. You can wait for someone to show you how to live or just start living the life you want to live.

Get it straight—if you’re a whiner and complainer, it’s your own fault. You’ve been whining and complaining for so long that it’s become a habit—a bad habit. Break it.

I know that lashing out, calling names, criticizing, and complaining make you feel powerful. They sure feel more powerful than saying and doing nothing, right? But never forget that losing your temper is a lazy, childish, and ignorant reaction to a problem.

Anger won’t help you get out of a headlock. Insults won’t help you build a business. Making excuses won’t help you attract powerful people to your cause.

You always have another choice. Don’t forget that. A choice that is good for your digestion and immune systems. A choice that uses your creativity and resources to help you achieve goals and improve your life. A choice that’s not only good for you, but good for the people around you.

Smile. Laugh. Whistle.

I promise, when you make the most out of a bad situation, when you stand up to the dragons, you won’t be alone. You may not see them at first, but there is an army of positive people hiding within the silent majority.

They’re waiting for someone to show them that it’s okay to smile. They’re waiting for someone to slay the dragon. They’re waiting for someone to show them how to live a happy life.

They’re waiting for YOU. 🙂