Students>Getting started>Whiners

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“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow you gotta put up with the rain.”  -Dolly Parton
Some students seem always to be living under a cloud of doom and gloom, they only hear, see, feel, and express negative things.

Don't be a whiner

When I was stationed on a U.S. Navy nuclear cruiser as a chief petty officer, all the chiefs went to the chief's lounge to have meals, and sit around and talk about work and the Navy in general. Everyone had something to complain about, but nobody liked a whiner. In the lounge was a small carved statue of an old sailor that was named "Chief Snively." Any time a chief started to snivel, one of the other chiefs would find the statue and present it to him to let him know he was sniveling and needed to shut up.

We have all seen the student that snivels, whines, and has an excuse for everything he or she does wrong or anything that goes wrong. He whines that he cannot kick properly because of an old dodgeball injury. She gets winded easily because everyone else works too hard, and snivels that it makes her work harder than she is able. While sparring, he stops every couple of seconds holding some different, supposedly injured, body part and whines. Although she cannot perform a technique properly herself, she is constantly pointing out to others what they are doing wrong. He says that if he had not lost the first match, he would have won the entire tournament. She is too old, too short, too heavy, too tall, too small, too tired, too sick, too hot, etc.

In the martial arts, as well as in life, no one cares about your excuses, your whining, or your sniveling—they only care about your results. During my career as a Navy master chief, I had subordinates who at times did not complete an assigned task. After listening to their excuses for the deficiency, some of which were valid (such as ignorance of some fact or a simple mistake), I only wanted to hear two things from them. "I will complete the task immediately" and "I will take steps to ensure the problem never happens again." No matter their reason for not completing the task, the task had to be completed. The person who loses a finger to due to your negligence in not performing proper maintenance on a piece of equipment does not care that you were tired from lack of sleep due to a new baby in your family. No matter what, you are responsible for your own actions.

Nobody wants to hear you whine about a problem, but they will listen if you:
  • Point out a problem
  • Offer a solution to the problem
  • Take action to fix the problem
  • Take action to ensure the problem does not occur again

Maybe you are too old, too short, too heavy, too tall, too small, too tired, too sick, too hot, etc. but there is little you or anyone else can do to alleviate those things, so whining about them is a waste of everyone's time. Instead, work around the things you cannot change and work to change the things you can change, and of course―do not whine.

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