21 Days of No Complaints is basically what it sounds like. You try to go 21 days without complaining not even once. Every time you do, you switch a rubber bracelet from one wrist to the other and the day count restarts back to zero. The idea is based on a book by Will Bowen called “A Complaint-Free World,” in which he participates in this very experiment and writes about the challenges he faced and the benefits he received as a result of sticking to his goal.
WHAT I WANT FROM YOU: I want you to try this experiment.
I will send you a free wrist band if you pledge to try to go 21 days without complaining. All you need to do is email email@example.com a mailing address to send the wrist band to. I have a bunch of extra bracelets that were donated, so they are on a first come first serve basis.
We like to tell ourselves that venting is an important part of letting things go. But more often than not I find that it allows our thoughts to stay negative much longer than they would otherwise. I know this is true for me and will be taking the no complaint pledge with you.
So pick a day this week to start your 21 days of no complaining.
Write in a journal or notebook when a complaint slips.
What was the complaint?
Did anything change as a result of speaking the negativity out loud?
When is it most difficult to withhold a complaint? Why?
Have I made different choices with my actions as a result of changing my words?
But what is a complaint?
You have two options listed below. The first is from the author creator of the movement and the second is from author/dabbler in lifestyle design Tim Ferriss.
1. A Complaint Free World – Original Author/Creator of a Complaint Free World Movement
Switch wrists whenever you:
4. Inform someone else they are complaining
** What Tim thinks: “This is where I disagree with some of the rules set by Will. He asks you to switch wrists whenever you gossip, criticize, or complain, and the definitions can be a bit vague. He also requires you to switch wrists if you inform someone else they are complaining. I think this is counterproductive, as I’m big on constructive criticism.”
2. Tim Ferriss’s Take on Complaints
“I defined “complaining” for myself as follows: describing an event or person negatively without indicating next steps to fix the problem. I later added the usual 4-letter words and other common profanity as complaint qualifiers, which forced me to reword, thus forcing awareness and more precise thinking.
Following the above definition, both of the following would require a wrist switch:
“Man, I went into the post office and had to stand behind this rude jerk for 30 minutes. What a waste of time.”
“John can be such an a**hole. Totally uncalled for.”
The following variations would not:
“Man, I went into the post office and had to stand behind this rude guy for 30 minutes. It was a waste of time. From now on, I’ll go in the mornings before 10am to avoid the crowd.”
“John was a bit of muppet in there, wasn’t he? I suppose I’ll just send the e-mails directly to Mary in engineering for the next two weeks to get buy-in, then he’ll have to agree.”
It’s important that you keep track of your progress because I want you to write the next Kindling Leaders Blog entry. Every 1-2 weeks I will send an email to the participants to get feedback. I encourage you to respond- you can give me a quick update: “Had to restart after 4 days” or “still going strong, noticeably less stressed” or whatever the update might be. Or you can spend a little more time and write a paragraph or two on your progress and I’ll update the blog with your responses.
My suggestion is to pick one of the two definitions of a complaint as listed above. If you do choose Tim’s way, I encourage you to still be mindful of things like gossip and other’s complaints, even if you aren’t abstaining from or recognizing them yourself.
Word of the Month – Winner for October
12 people have spoken and the winner of the Word of the Month poll is the word: OPTIMISM/OPTIMISTIC
Look for this Word of the Month entry in the next week.