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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A World without Complaints... (originally posted 09-12-11)

I stumbled across a sample of a book on my Kindle. Likely, I downloaded it at 4:37 in the morning when I can't sleep and I'm not making much sense. I've been know to record Britney Spears' Biography and the History of Skirts on my DVR during these times, so this book sample wasn't so unusual.

However, it turns out, there was a new idea I'm keen on...

It seems that the idea is to go an entire 21 days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping. Why 21 days? Because that's usually how long it takes for a habit to take hold.

The people in the book have you purchase a rubbery bracelet like Lance Armstrong's LIVESTRONG bracelet, but in purple and with the word Spirit written across it. Every time you catch yourself complaining, criticizing, or gossiping, you take the bracelet off your arm and put it on the other arm. It's a physical reminder of what you've done. The goal is to keep the bracelet on one arm for more than 21 days.

Why do this? Because it's like going down the road late at night. If someone comes over the hill with their bright lights on and you stare at those lights, you'll veer towards the lights and likely have an accident. But, if you instead look on the right hand side of the road where there is sometimes painted a white safety line, you'll be perfectly safe and continue on your pleasant journey.


If you keep focusing on all the bad things in your life, you veer towards them. You invite them in and you eventually crash right into the middle of them. If instead, you focus on positive things, then you invite them in and you move towards them. If you look at your positive goals and move forward, you are more likely to walk directly towards them.

I like this idea but I'm not a fan of paying someone for things like this. So, I opted to use a ring that fits my third finger on both hands. Every time I open my mouth and let a complaint, criticism, or piece of gossip across my lips, I switch the ring.

I have to be honest, when I first start thinking about doing this, I thought, "Well, hell, what else am I going to talk about?"

That's how pervasive it is in my life.


I started last night and I've already switched the ring 24 times in 12 hours - 8 of which I was asleep. I'm going to be doing this until I can get 21 days. If you're interested in doing it to, you're welcome to order the bracelet or get one like it, or just use a watch of something else you can see but won't be distracting.

Oh, and before you ask, thinking a bad thought doesn't count. The reason is that once you change what comes out of your mouth, your thoughts begin to follow. It's likely that as you go on with this experiment, you'll find your thoughts are just as positive as the words coming out of your mouth.

Also, if you do this with someone else and you hear them complaining, you can remind them to switch their bracelet, ring, or watch. But switch yours, too, because (as the  book says), you're complaining about their complaining.

Let me know if you decide to do this because I'd love some compatriots!

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