On Whining, And Why It’s Good

I recently finished listening to the audiobook version of Mark Cuban’s “How to Win at the Sport of Business” last week and in it he articulates a philosophy that I have, in a very neat way.

Whining is so much better than not whining.

I’ve been thinking on an off about this, especially when I was in University. At my old University there were a lot of things that didn’t work as they should. We as students surprisingly often had to fight for some basic student rights. Of course I couldn’t let that go. Why should they get away with something just because few people know better, or because they make complaining almost a Sisyphus task.

So I complained. And complained. And complained. Factually. Most often friendly. But persistently and highly informed. A couple of times this complaining scored the entire class benefits. Yet, all along you hear: “Why complain about it?”.

I tell you why. Because I can’t just go along with things that I can change. If you give up that early, and don’t even bother to whine (as Mark Cuban neatly puts it), you believe that you cannot change something. That you are powerless. That because things are a certain way, they have to be that way.

Wrong. I often cite David Hume, the Scottish philosopher, who stated “Just because something is, doesn’t mean it ought to be.” (known as the is-ought problem, or Humes Law). It sums it up rather nicely.

Why did I bother complaining? Because I can’t put up with unjust behavior and even less, condescending behavior. I just can’t stand it. I’m allergic to it.

While you certainly have to choose your battles (let’s face it, you are probably the one who’s going to be most agitated during the process), don’t leave them all unfought. Make a difference.