410.235.7070 Join Our E-Letter
businessGPS Taking You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Go.

Quit complaining! It's easier said than done. Try it.

Quit complaining! It's easier said than done. Try it.

June 30, 2011

(First in a 2-part Series)

We may be born whiners but as we grow older we realize we have a choice: we can continue to complain or be grateful for what we have. First, we have to stop the complaining. Next week, I'll share with you a few ideas to help you become more grateful that have worked for me and my family.

Nobody likes a complainer, except when you're the one doing the complaining.

Then it seems perfectly okay, right?

I used to think so too.

But over the years it's always bothered me when I found myself whining about one thing or another. Usually, it was over stuff that I had no control over anyway and if I did, well I had a choice. I could either do something about it or continue to act ungrateful.

Recently, I chose to do something about it and it's completely changed my outlook. I see my kids starting to change too and my wife says I seem happier and I have more energy. It's not easy but it's a very simple concept'

I got the idea from Will Bowen, author of the best-selling book, A Complaint Free World. Speaking at a meeting at our local athletic club, I was inspired by his vision for more people to speak about what they desire things to be rather than complaining about how things are.

The goal is to not complain ' not even once ' for 21 days straight. To remind yourself, you wear a rubber band on your wrist. Bowen's organization sells some nice purple wrist bands, but I chose to just use a less stylish, blue rubber band. Hey, it does the job.

The goal: 21 days of not ONE complaint ... 15 more to go!!

If you find yourself complaining you switch the band to your other wrist and start again at day 1. It's not easy. I expanded my goal to include not just complaining but also gossiping and criticizing. I'm on Day Six right now ' and I broke my old record of two days straight while not complaining. But I've been at it for 3 weeks ' I'm not complaining!!

Is it working? I think so. Like I said, my wife has noticed a change in me. I feel better; more positive. In fact, when I shared this idea with my family they thought it was impossible.

Here's what's interesting. The other day it was my daughter's turn to wash the dishes after dinner and like most teenagers she started to complain ' and get this, she stopped herself. This next part is amazing. Without saying a word, she took her pony tail band off her wrist and switched it to her other wrist.

As parents we're always leading by example. And it's always better to model the changes we like to see than to try to force change, whether it's at home, at work or in the community. Change starts from the inside (remember the Secret of the Watermelon)?

I've also asked others to hold me accountable ' and they seem to take a lot of joy in catching me when they hear me complain.

Of course it's more than just about hearing myself complain less. At the root of our complaints are other symptoms such as negativity and simply not being grateful for what we already have. We have much to be grateful for living at this time in history and in this particular country. And that's something we should celebrate, especially this Fourth of July weekend. I know I will!

I'll keep you posted how it goes. But I understand that for many people it takes 4-6 months before they finally reach 21 days straight of no complaining. Hopefully, I'll reach my goal sooner.