“Complaining is not a strategy” (Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder). This quote hits the mark and is now being featured in Startup Vitamins’ posters and other products.

I’ve been known to do a bit of complaining from time to time. What separates legitimate griping from unproductive whining? If you’re simply airing your frustrations without the goal of solving the problem, that’s whining.

If you aren’t focused on being part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. How do you stop whining?

Set a goal for positive communication. Kathy Caprino wrote on Forbes.com that you should have five times as much positive communication as negative talk. Doing so gets you 10 key benefits, like getting more support from others and being more resilient through the tough days.

Calibrate to reality. When we’re stressing out, we often lose sight of the facts of the situation. Think about the issue you’re whining about. What are the objective facts? Specifically, consider CIMA: What can you Control? Are there aspects you can Influence? Are there ways to Mitigate the negative effects on you? What’s left over you simply must Accept and move on.

Hang out with positive people. If your buddies are whiners, it’s going to be difficult to stay upbeat. Branch out and develop relationships with people who see the glass half full. You might even ask them how they manage to handle life’s challenges and remain optimistic.

Be true to yourself. When life hands you lemons, sometimes you just don’t have it in you to whip up some lemonade. Be gentle with yourself, recognizing that there are some days when you struggle to be positive. Recognize that tomorrow will be better, but today is just hard.

Whining, like all behaviors, is a choice. It’s your job to figure out if that’s how you want to invest your precious time – and whether it gets you what you want.

We can help you stay on the high road.

Photo from iStockphoto.