[First off, let me say thank you to the hundreds of you who sent me a reply to yesterday's Pause. Wow. Some of you shared heart-wrenching, yet optimistic, stories of pain and passion for change. Keep 'em coming.] So onto today's Daily Pause: What word did you guess was in the blank? I use this as part of a leadership training, and here are the most common answers. Blame Procrastinate Criticize Do nothing Die Most of these would fall under one word: Complain. There is nothing we love better than complaining. After all, it feels like it does so much for us. It gives us a voice for our frustrations. It props us up for a few moments of legitimacy. We can actually feel a sense of community with those who share, or validate, our complaints. Yes, this is a commiseration, a community of the miserable, but it at least feels productive. See, taking our complaints to someone else (someone other than the person we are complaining about) feels like we are actually doing something about the issue. We feel energized, validated, and connected, so it must be productive, right? Actually, no. In fact, just the opposite. It turns out that complaining to someone else is almost always the opposite of doing something productive—it’s the thing we do in order to excuse ourselves from doing from the dastardly job of actually addressing it. What most of us need to learn, in order to experience the life-change we want most, is to confront more, and complain less. This occupies a whole chapter in the book I wrote to my daughter as she left for college, Choose Your Own Adulthood. (It makes a great stocking stuffer gift to your adolescents and young adults! Reply to this email with a recipient's name & your address, and I'll send you a PayPal link to buy a personalized signed copy directly from me for twenty bucks, free shipping).