Never Complain. Never explain. How would you manage if you were challenged to a 21 day challenge to be complaint free? 21 continuous days of being complaint free.
A little while ago a mentor of mine, Craig Desorcy had a post on Facebook where he spoke about Never Complaining and Never Explaining and it reminded me of a book that I had read a little while ago called A Complaint Free World and, as the title suggests, it is challenging us to create a complaint free world.
How much better the world would be if we could refrain from complaining.
The problem that we have is that we focus on what is wrong in the world, and the more we focus on that, and complain, and thereby perpetuate the problem, the more we have that is wrong with the world. So, let’s change it around.
You might think that you’re a pretty positive person. I like to think of myself as being a positive person, and I like to think that the Universe has my back, but when I first did this challenge, I realised that I complain a lot more than what I thought I did.
If you take, for example, driving to work one day and somebody cuts in front of you – do you get really annoyed by it? Do you just let that go and say, “Maybe the guys having a bad day.” Or do you get angry, drive to work, get there and then proceed to tell every single person in the office about the bad experience you had? Spend the day festering about the bad incident. Go home and tell everybody at home about it over the dinner table thereby ruining a lovely meal? What have you achieved by doing that?
You certainly haven’t improved your day. You’re not sending out the the kind of vibes that you would want to send out if you want to bring good things to you – you’re sending out the bad vibes.
If we look at the definition of a complaint it means “to express grief, pain or discontent”. In his book, Will Bowen says you have to actually express the complaint. Thinking about it doesn’t matter. It’s when it actually passes our lips that the complaint is registered as a complaint.
What he has you do is wear a bracelet on your one arm and when you complain, you switch it over to to the other arm. Each time you complain you switch it back and forth, back and forth, until one day you go to bed and you realise that you haven’t switched the bracelet during the day and you go, “Wow – I’ve had one day complaint free!”
He talks about you going through four phases.
The first phase is Unconscious Incompetence. We don’t know what we don’t know. We don’t realise just how negative and complaining we can be and this is where you think, “I’m a positive person, I don’t complain and this challenge will be a piece of cake for me.”
But how many people do you know that come to you and say, “I’m a really negative person. I complain all the time.”? We can easily see it in the other people but we never see it in ourselves.
The next phase we get to is Conscious Incompetence. This is the stage where it is very easy to give up and I put my hand up and say Yes – it’s probably about the stage that I gave up as well when I first did the challenge. You’re now conscious of how much you’re complaining but you’re still battling to to make the actual change.
We then move on to Conscious Competence. Instead of the bracelet being a tool to remind you about how you’re complaining, it actually becomes a filter through which your words have to pass. You start thinking about what you’re going to say and go, “Is it going to pass the test, am I complaining? Is this actually worthwhile saying something?”
You know how your mother always said, “If you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything.” Well, this is the stage that you’re at now and sometimes you might find that you’re very silent because you don’t have anything good to say and you don’t want to say anything bad because you’ve made so many days progress and you don’t want to go back to day one and start the process again.
The last phase is Unconscious Competence. This is the stage that you want to be where it’s natural for you to think and focus on the positive and not be negative about things, and not complain unnecessarily about things. That’s a stage that we can all aspire to.
The fact that it takes an average of four to eight months to complete the challenge, doesn’t mean that you have to be put off by it and go, “Well that’s a long time to go before you’re getting any benefits” – the good thing about the challenge is that, even as you do it, and even though you may have to keep going back to day 1 and starting off again, you’re still going to reap the benefits. You’re becoming more conscious about what you’re doing and you’re going to become a happier person. It is really worthwhile keeping on with the challenge.
“But,” you say, “what about those times when there really is something to complain about? When something’s wrong and you need to tell somebody about it?”
There’s a distinction – a complaint is distinguished from a statement of fact by the energy that you use to express yourself. “It’s cold outside” stated as a fact, contrasted to “It’s cold outside,” said as you shudder and look depressed. The energy you have and the difference in how you say something makes a difference of you complaining about it or letting somebody know a neutral comment.
Complaining doesn’t solve the problem.
The shortest path to get what you desire is not to focus on the problem. You need to focus beyond the problem. Talk about only what you desire and only to someone who can provide the solution. That’s very often where we go wrong because we will tell everybody and anybody about the problem that we’ve got and will complain about it.
You’re at a restaurant and you get served your soup and it’s cold. Telling your dinner companion about it isn’t going to make the soup suddenly be warm. Telling the people at the table next door to you isn’t going to warm your soup up.
Calling your waiter over and just letting them know that the soup is cold and letting them take it back to the kitchen to heat it up is going to get you a result. You don’t have to be mean and nasty about it either. It’s just a case of telling somebody about it and getting the desired result that you want.
Why do we complain?
There has to be some benefit for us to actually go to all the effort of complaining. In his book he talks about the GRIPE.
G is get attention
R is to remove responsibility
I is to inspire envy
P is for power and
E is to excuse performance.
We all have a desire to get acknowledged and complaining often gives us that attention. If you think about kids – how often will a kid misbehave so that they get can get attention – even if it means being smacked, they will misbehave just so that they can get that attention. That attention for them is better than nothing.
We seek to blame other people or circumstances to justify our own lack of effort so we don’t want to take responsibility and say, “Hey it’s my fault. I’m sorry that didn’t happen.” We are going to blame something or somebody else for it not happening and we are going to complain about that person or that thing.
We complain or we gossip about someone else as a means to show that we are not like that, we’re much more superior than them. “She’s untidy” means I’m a neat person. “She’s a maniacal driver” means I am a safe and courteous driver. You’re wanting others to appreciate you and see your good points.
Complaints are often the currency with which we purchase power. One person covets a position of authority and complains about the other person to purchase other people’s loyalty. You only have to look at election time and see the dirt that gets thrown around about the other political party to see how this is used. How many politicians use the tactics of what they’re going to do and why you should vote for them? More often than not they talk about why you shouldn’t vote for the other party.
Excuse for Poor Performance
In contrast to removing responsibility which we spoke about earlier where the person was complaining to justify their inaction, here the person complains about the circumstances after the event to explain about their failure.
We all use those reasons. I know that I am guilty of all of these reasons for complaining and awareness is our first key for making a difference.
I’m taking up the challenge again and I sent my husband off to go and buy me a bracelet to wear and this is what he came back with. I didn’t give him any explanation or tell him why I was needing it, and I didn’t give me any instructions. I just said I wanted a bracelet that’s on elastic that I can easily change it, and I told him just to trust has his own intuition.
The meaning that I’ve put to this is
– the blue is for the throat chakra which is communication – I want my communication to be good communication and
– the white pearls denotes purity and so pure intentions with my communication.
The pendant that’s on it is the tree of life which is about connection of all forms of creation and to the spiritual realm so I’m wanting to connect all of creation together in a positive inspiring way and for us to be connected to the spiritual realm.
My challenge to you is: are you ready to take the 21 day complaint free challenge and make a difference in your life and let that ripple out into the world? Let me know below!