Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Complaint Free World

I don't believe I've blogged about this yet, but I was thinking about it again today so who cares if I've blogged it before, this one is worth repeating.

Several months ago I was watching the Today Show as I got ready for school and they had a man on talking about his book called A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted. I am not a huge self-help book person. I'd rather read fiction if I'm reading something besides political science. And if its non-fiction its usually a church book. And actually I'm not going to read this book, but the principles are simple and I can apply them without reading the book (brilliant!)

Confession: I am a complainer. I admit it. And grad school has made an even bigger whiner and complainer out of me. I shouldn't blame it on grad school though because the truth, if I'm honest with myself and with all of you, is that I choose to complain. Joe is big on this type of stuff--everything is a choice, especially your attitude--he's always so positive. I have only seen him get really sad or negative on a handful of occasions. But I complain regularly. I complain about how things are not going my way, about the crummy weather, about my weight, about my poor performance in school, about how life is unfair and people can be mean and lame and steal your stuff, and son on and so forth and Joe says, "Well we are where we are so what are we going to do about it now." This is a much more proactive and positive approach to life (as opposed to my natural inclination--whining and complaining).

Elder Henry B. Eyring--or maybe it was Jeffrey R. Holland (both leaders in my church) quoted someone else in a talk and said that "There's no problem in the world so bad that complaining won't make it worse." Now THAT is true. I don't know why I complain so much because it doesn't make me feel better--though I must admit hearing others complain does help me not feel so alone in the world about my inadequacies and frustrations, but I'm sure there's a much more positive manner in which we could have such discussions.

Anyway so the Complaint Free World people have these bracelets (I know, cliche, who doesn't have a bracelet these days?!) and you can get a couple for free by going here. They have handed out almost 5 million bracelets. Amazing. And I'll tell you why. Its not because I love silicone. Its not because I think the color purple is the perfect accent color for any wardrobe. Its because I think these bracelets could make a serious difference in your life.

So the idea is this: you wear the bracelet and the goal is to go 21 days without complaining---21 days straight. And every time you complain you are supposed to take the bracelet off and put it on your other wrist---the idea being you become much more aware of your complaining and can cut it down. And every time you switch wrists you have to start the 21 days over. Some people can get to 21 days within a few months, for one woman on the TV show it took something like 2 years. But the point is that I believe less complaining will make me happier. It will make me more pleasant to be around, which in turn will make me 10 times more popular, which will in turn give me less to complain about--its a deliciously vicious cycle. (Okay, how much do I love the phrase deliciously vicious!!--There are definitely not enough opportunities to use that one).

I plan on starting the bracelet plan after finals, when I have time to hunt for the bracelets...they are somewhere in this house.

To round out the post I would just like to note some things that I've decidedly recently are delightful:

  • democracy, need I say more
  • perfect weather days--55-70 degrees where "all I need is a light sweater"
  • people who are witty--you know who you are
  • interesting, inspiring people. Now I can find something interesting about just about anyone, but I'm talking about those rare people you meet and you just think "this person is amazing how can I be around them more?"
  • a clean house--oh the wonders it can do for your spirit
  • children. because they really do bring you back to the "real world" and they find such wonder and excitement in every day events.
  • mentors: positive reinforcement and advice from those who have come before you is so critical in grad school, and in life in general.
  • blogs: I can talk about whatever I want, I can stay in touch with friends, I can stalk people I know--or people I want to know, but don't know---or people who just have cool photographs or ideas.
  • google, this list would not be complete without google. I love them. when the google server goes down, even for a 5 minutes, I don't know what to do with myself.
So there you go. A complaint free post. I feel better already.

5 little remarks:

Amy said...

I am a complainer. Russ is more like Joe and finds the positives in things. I on the other hand just complain. Something I need to work on. I guess I should order me one of those bracelets.

When Joe lived with us for a little while, I noticed how positive he was. Even though he was going through such a difficult time. Way to go Joe!

Felicity said...

I went to the bracelet website and couldn't help but laugh that the first FAQ was "Wait a second...I thought these bracelets were free! [referring to the $0.75 shipping charge]"

The irony of someone complaining on the Complaint Free website? Priceless.

Tannie Datwyler said...

Richard and Joe sound a lot alike. Richard is so positive and always says, "you can choose how you feel and react." I never thought I would mellow out, but being married to him has truly made me more laid back. I still have a bad temper sometimes and I get frustrated easily, but I have learned how to choose how I act. I like that braclet idea.

Leilani said...

Thanks Anna, totally what I needed today. I think it will take me 5 years to go 21 days without complaining. Better start now!! :)

Heather said...

Nice! I'm so glad that you posted this information, because when you say that you have a natural inclination to complain, it really sounds like you're describing me! Seriously! So, I've been trying to work at being more positive lately, but so far I haven't been very successful with the whole not complaining thing. So, I really like this idea of wearing a bracelet, and I'm going to use it. Thanks Anna!!!

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