“A Complaint-free world. A 21 day challenge that will change your life” is an amazing book that I had heard about for a few years but hadn’t really got around to reading. It was written by Will Bowen who has written many books on how to improve yourself and your way of thinking. This is the first of his that I have read and I will definitely continue to read is work. The crux of the book is to try and get yourself aware of how your words affect your daily life by not complaining, gossiping, or criticizing for twenty one days straight. You have a bracelet that every time you complain, gossip, or criticize you switch to the other wrist and start the day count over. There are also a few apps that you can get to keep track but I found that the physical act of switching something from one wrist to the other was a good reminder and kept me more aware of my complaining throughout the day. The app being on your phone is separate from yourself and can be a bit of an “out of sight out of mind” scenario. They will send you a free bracelet but you can use whatever you want for the bracelet if you don’t want to use the one they send you. For example you could use a rubber band or a ring. Whatever you are comfortable with. The point of it is that you have physical action every time you do the things you are trying to refrain from.
The way you speak has a huge affect on your relationships and your happiness level. I have started to notice that our society as a whole has adopted some bad habits. It is just accepted that you criticize celebrities for example and then make excuses as to why its okay. “Well they are in the public eye. They should expect it.” “Yeah but they have all that fame and money. What do they have to complain again.” But here’s the thing about human beings, no matter how much money they have they never stop being human and everyone has their side of the story. Also If you feel comfortable criticizing celebrities you don’t know and gossiping about others in your own life you are going to start doing it more and more. So lets be honest, you would hate it if someone else was criticizing you or gossiping about how you go about any given situation. The point is that it doesn’t serve a purpose to find the negative in others or yourself especially if it never makes anything any better. In fact it usually makes things worse. That doesn’t mean you can’t disagree with others and how they go about life but you don’t need comment unless it is to make the situation better. Most of the time we don’t know all the information in the first place to be able to really judge a situation. I have a friend who I’m sure has opinions about my life or others but he never says anything because he knows that for the most part its not his place. It makes being friends with him great because I never feel judgment from him. I know that if he ever has anything to say about my life of choices it is because he genuinely thinks it is a big enough deal for him to speak up. If we are constantly wining about our situation or someone else’s we start to lose sight of what is really important.
Another side effect of doing this experiment is you become more aware of other peoples verbal habits which can make you realize that some people may not be the best to have in your life or at least maybe you spend less time with them. I have people in my world that I love but they are just so negative and constantly gossiping and criticizing others that it really just brings me down as well as wonder what they say about me when I am not around. Thats not really an environment that breeds trust. If those complaints led to solutions then it would be different but we all know someone who always has something they are upset about or are gossiping about and never really seek resolutions for those problems. You just can’t spend much time with them before either you start doing it too or just feel less happy by association.
The good thing is you also start to gravitate towards people who are more positive and accepting. When you are trying to make a change in your life whether its your diet or quitting smoking or anything that is going to include a few sacrifices, a friend who is upbeat and positive will help you to stick to the change. Being around someone who is happy about life in general will rub off one you and help you.
One of the biggest reasons I wanted to start this again after I tried and gave up last summer was that I am trying to stick to a nutrition plan and that can be a big rush of reasons to complain. “I can’t eat…” “I don’t like to workout” “it sucks to eat this and not that.” Complaining and negative thinking can sink your efforts to change before you really give it much of a try. Consciously staying away from those type of thoughts causes you to, by default, look at the good side of things as to not drive yourself crazy. So adding healthy physical changes and mental changes at the same time can help you.
It does take a while to go a full day let alone twenty one straight days. The book says that it takes most people between four and six months to go the full twenty one days but if you keep with it you start to see that your thoughts become less negative towards yourself as well as the world. Making it like a game can help prevent you from getting frustrated. After all the whole point is to shift your perspective from what is going wrong in the moment to what is going right. Change is hard but perspective and focus can be the thing that either brings failure or success. Check out the book if think this is something you might want to try. Even if you think you are a positive person it never hurts to improve. You’d be surprised at what a difference being self aware can make in your life.