The trouble with whining

A friend was lamenting that he was sick of whining. And I could understand why – he had inflicted his whining on me too!

Whining doesn’t get us very far itself but it can be a phase that we need to go through until you figure out what you want and start working on how. While you’re whining, you’re not focusing on what you want; when you can get clear, set some targets and at least start moving – even if only with baby steps. And once you’re moving towards where you want to be, the world is a very different place.

Like a rocking chair: Fun for a while without getting you anywhere.

The trick is to break ourselves out of the cycle of whining and complaining. We’ve got lots of good reasons to whine too – life isn’t fair. Yet whining doesn’t make things better. Whining gives us a sense of connection with ourselves and with others when we whine to others – a feeling of self pity is at least a feeling of connection.

Sooner or later, the solution is to stop it. And when you do, remember that there’s a great intention behind that behaviour – that you want things to be better and you want to connect with others. Rather than chastising yourself for having whined in the first place, what would happen if you focused on the positive intent of the behaviour and started connecting positively and working towards what you want?

Dealing with seasons of change

Last month I left Brisbane on a 30 degree day and arrived in a Shanghai with snow on the ground. Normally seasons don’t change this quickly, though they always change.

And seasons change whether we want them to or not.

The question is always how you cope with those changes. Do you lament the end of the sunshine as autumn begins, or do you embrace the beauty of the changing colours of the leaves on the trees?

Since arriving back in Shanghai, my lifestyle has changed a lot. Whereas previously, I was working closely with one company delivering trainings, now I am running my own events. Instead of focusing my energy on just delivering the best that I could deliver, now I am handling most everything myself, learning about all the little stuff that I used to have a team to handle for me.

(So if you’re in Asia and after some great NLP training, you know who to call!)

The last time that I found myself in this season was when I registered my first business in July 1998. It was scary and exciting and wondrous. And it’s been pretty amazing so far this time around.

Stuff happens that doesn’t bring us pleasure. How do you handle that stuff? Do you fight against it? Do you long for the longer summer with the leaves on the trees? Or do you embrace the present and get on with making the most of it?

Be outstanding!

Asking for what you really want

My friend John asked me today why I do what I do. It’s a pretty big question. After responding with, “just because” he probed further and gave me the opportunity to share with him (inflict upon him?) some of my rationalizations, justifications and excuses. It was delightfully self-indulgent 😀

But it didn’t give him the answer that he was after.
What he really wanted to know was what I hoped to get from doing what I do. He was looking to understand what I was doing things for. And you don’t get that by asking, “Why?”

Even phonetically, “why” sounds so much like “whine”!

Asking someone why opens a can of worms as much as it gives them a chance to talk. Maybe you want to know why – it happens. But much of the time you’ll get the information that you’re really after faster by asking “what for”.

Maybe try it out with yourself – notice something that you do. Perhaps something that you’d like to change, but even for something that really juices you and makes you feel great. Then ask yourself, “Why do I do that?”

And then ask, “What do I do that for?”

Notice the difference. You could try it out on someone else too…

Optimization of everyday life: Making better decisions

Most of the time we don’t make rational decisions. Much of the time we can’t – there’s too little information and too much uncertainty. But if we can start to use some numbers, we can make the comparisons simpler, less subjective, and give us more of what we want, more often.

That’s the point of this post – and I’ll get back to that in a minute…

I have been reading Common Wealth, economist Jeffrey Sach’s take on how to make the world a better place. This morning, I came across his chapter on the economic proposition justifying social welfare – how increased taxation with a corresponding increase in social services can be fiscally responsible and yield quantifiable social benefits. While his argument was quite one-sided – after all, it’s his book – it got me thinking how we can use a bit of mathematics to make better decisions. Sachs was asking this sort of question:

If you were in government and thought that you had too much money, would you cut taxes or increase social welfare?

But I was thinking about my everyday decisions.

In the next few months, I have a number of flights scheduled though not yet booked. For example, I am due to fly from Sydney to Brisbane sometime after 7pm on the evening of 28 January. That route is mainly serviced by Qantas and Virgin Blue at that time. So how does one decide which flight to take?

Continue reading “Optimization of everyday life: Making better decisions” »

Alec Baldwin is a failure as an actor?

Alec Baldwin is a well-known actor. Many would consider him successful. He has starred in many moves and appears in popular television shows. Yet he sees himself a failure. Just recently, he said, “I consider my entire movie career a complete failure.”

I couldn’t help but ask myself, “How?”

Rather than trying to reassure him that he wasn’t, or denying that he was a failure, I got curious and wondered how he could feel a failure after so much ‘success’. And sure enough, the answers were clear too. For him,

“The goal of movie-making is to star in a film where your performance drives the film, and the film is either a soaring critical or commercial success, and I never had that.”

And although he starred in the 1990 action film The Hunt for Red October, which made more than $200m, it was successful because it was based on a popular Tom Clancy novel – not because of his performance.

Damn, people can be hard on themselves!

He feels that his career is a failure not because it “is” – after all, how can we really define whether someone’s career is a success or a failure? But he feels that is is a failure because of how he defines success.

What do you want most? What drives you?







Each of us have many things that drive us. Some things that pull us forward – that we want to experience something. And maybe there are other things that we desperately want to avoid.

We all want to experience different things. And that’s great – that’s one of the things that drives the rich and diverse world in which we live. Yet how well are we setting ourselves up to feel good? There are so many ways that we can find to feel bad. And there are so many things in the world today about which we could feel bad if we wanted.

Feelings – good and bad – are a process. We have a mechanism for feel happy or sad, excited or anxious, loving or angry. If you can get to know how you feel the way that you do, you can find yourself back in the driver’s seat.

What could happen if you could feel better more and more often?