Friday, January 14, 2011

Still Working On Not Complaining

My reminder bracelet
If (when) I complain,
I shift it to the other wrist
Last May I wrote about the book "A Complaint Free World" and its simple idea:
We'd all be happier if we dealt with our problems without complaining and, if we could go three weeks without complaining once, the habit would be ingrained.
I figure it'd be easy to go 21 Days Of No Complaining, but here it is eight months later and I'm still working on it. However, I feel it has been worthwhile even if I have not succeeded completely yet.
The key mechanic is the Complaint Bracelet. Right now it's on my left wrist; if I utter a complaint (...thoughts don't count ... think anything you want!!!) then I switch it to my other wrist. My natural competitiveness (or shame...) helps me resist complaining, I really don't want to make the public gesture. This may not be entirely rational, but it works ... so I'm not complaining about it!
Although I have yet to go the full 3 weeks without a complaint, I do feel much more positive and energetic. It is especially valuable when I am with my wife. When conversation runs short, it's easy to find something to complain about (let's be real: there are a LOT of things that "deserve" complaints!) but this easy conversational gambit is just the lazy man's way. Much better is to think of something positive to say, and the desire to avoid having to switch the bracelet (...especially with The Lovely Wife looking on!) helps me be positive.
This doesn't mean ignoring problems; to the contrary, when there is something to complain about, I enjoy the challenge of discussing the topic but not complaining. This sort of forces me to attack the problem with good cheer, which quite frankly, works a lot better anyway.
Thus, although I have not yet "succeeded" with the full program, I already feel success. Let me therefore recommend the book to you: A Complaint-Free World!

(p.s. I didn't get an official bracelet; just any old bracelet will do!)

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