21 days without complaining.

Stop grumbling of any kind, no slander, no whining. Nothing.

Stumbled upon an article on complaining the other day. And because i am all about being mindful, like to challenge myself and discover my habits, this, i thought, is for me.

I had to research the background of it.

The original guru was Will Bowen. He is the World Authority on Complaining. Will Bowen is a multiple #1 International Bestselling author, an award-winning trainer and speaker and the founder of A Complaint Free World.

And then there is Tim Ferriss, a productivity expert and quasi self-help guru.

But let’s start at the beginning. When we talk about `complaining`, what do we mean by this?

The Urban dictionary write;

“Complaining is usually what hypocritical people do when something displeases them. They would rather use a verbal indication to express their displeasure of a certain thing, rather than taking a stand and doing something about it”.

Google writes;

“Express dissatisfaction or annoyance about something”.


protest, grumble, moan, whine, bleat, carp, cavil, lodge a complaint, make a complaint, make a fuss

When we look at the word from a historical perspective;

`Complain` comes from the late Middle English. Before that from the Old French complaindre. Then from the medieval Latin complangere ‘bewail’. And as root from the Latin com- (expressing intensive force) + plangere ‘to lament’.

When we pick up the challenge to abstain from complaining, what are we actually accomplishing?

Seems that most of us use for 30–40% of all conversation that center`s on a complaint or criticism.

Seems a lot? A simple practice of keeping track of how people start a conversation that centers on a complaint or critique, will make you aware of the natural tendency we humans have to look at life in a bit negative way. Or watch your social media timeline.

It is all in the words we use!

*Fix the words and you fix the thoughts.

Word choice determines thought choice, which determines emotions and actions.

I will add that the opposite is true too!

*Fix the thought and you fix the words

Being aware of your thoughts (using mindfulness) will influence your use of language, which will determine emotional respond and effects your choice of action.

The simplicity is compelling, but the moment you start understanding, it becomes an awfully complex process.

Abstaining from complaining might sound easy — but this particular path to mindfulness is harder than it looks

This all brings me to a challenge I like to impose on myself. If you are up to it, you can join me .

21 days without complaining.

The rules are simple: put an elastic band on one wrist. Every time you complain, switch it over to the other wrist. Repeat, until the band has remained on one wrist for three weeks. When you complain you start at day 1 again. No excuses.

I defined “complaining” for myself as follows:

  1. Describing an event or person negatively without indicating next steps to fix the problem.
  2. Using Cuss words and other common profanity. Which forces me to re-word, thus forcing awareness and more precise thinking.
  3. Complaining thoughts are negative and are influencing your mood.

What i will allow is using constructive criticism; in the sense that the criticism is “well-meant” or in a positive way. The criticism is intended to serve a purpose which is constructive, or which the targeted person would approve of.

The defining part was a bit difficult. But it is good to have the ground rules clear. Because not complaining is really hard. Until you try to stop, you’ve no idea how often you do it and how you are sabotaging the conversation.

Mentioning this, it would be wrong to say that all complaints are negative. In fact, some can be (extremely) positive. You could even view the whole of human progress a result of complaining. Complaining has rescued many opportunities; abuse in the work place, human rights, animal rights, polio, government policies, maybe even the climate problems.

All conversations can be used for good as well as evil. A lot of the time, we complain as a way to connect. Sharing the negative can be felt as a warm rush when you discover that someone else hates that thing you hate.

At times we need to complain, and we need negativity. This challenge is not about that.

This challenge is about being aware of your thoughts and words, that will influence your use of language, which will determine emotional respond and effects your choice of action, which influences the relationship with self and others.

In simpler term;

Try being aware of what you’re doing and what’s happening around you.

Stop grumbling of any kind, no slander, no whining. Nothing.

The results of `training` yourself may be that you are a joy to be around with. That you become an action-oriented problem solvers.

Training yourself to be positive and offer solutions on-the-spot attracts people and resources.

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My challenge started on April 10th, 2017.

I will occasionally share my experiences with the 21 day challenge. And will summarize, god knows when, as i reached the 21st day.

The first day experience went as follow;

Before jumping out of bed i lost the day. There was a complaining thought! Of course, I thought, this counts too.

Then at breakfast it got sealed and done with another rand about some political BS. So this is what Twitter does to me!

Let’s lick the wounds and switch my rubber band to the right arm.

Lost this day and thought ; let the games begin, I got all hyped up. I will not get defeated like this. I have been practicing meditation and mindfulness for years now. This will not do!

The rest of the day i was reminiscing about what happened this morning. I started noticing that i was following my thoughts as i was speaking, even more then I normally would do. On the watch for complaining thoughts.

I was happy of the fact that i shared my challenge with my wife. Somehow i felt this to be supportive. A way of receiving double feedback of myself and from my wife.

The day went smooth. I actually found myself at ease, my mind and thought activities where relaxed. Doing garden work will do this to me. Gives me the opportunity to focus and relax my thought activities.

De La Bleue Fox

Thanks for reading. Be radical, be present.

Michel _/|\_