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The 21-Day No-Complaint Challenge
Well, today I passed the 21-Day No-Complaint challenge, again, just like I did in October last year. And now I can take off the little purple wrist band which you’re supposed to switch to the other wrist each time you complain verbally. You can see Tim Ferriss wearing one in the linked photo on this page.
In that article Tim defines “complaining” as describing an event or person negatively without indicating next steps to fix the problem, plus the usual 4-letter words and other common profanity. The avoidance of all this forces us to reword, which in turn forces more awareness and more precise thinking. It’s a very cool way to re-wire the brain for more positivity and less negativity, and we all want that, right?
Last year I said on Facebook “I can honestly say that my behavior has been permanently modified by this experiment”, and now I have proof. Because last year it took me over 2 months to rack up a full, uninterrupted 21 days of not complaining (it took Tim over 2 months too, by the way) but this time it only took me about a month. In fact, after the usual initial frustration (e.g. I accidentally yanked the front bumper off my car and swore like a sailor for about 5 minutes, causing me to switch my purple wrist band from right wrist to left and resetting me back to Day 1…) followed by about 10 days of carefully not complaining, I pretty much sailed through the remaining 11 days.
To keep track, I did a self-assessment every day, marking it on my calendar. Last year I did it with a couple of close friends and we kept each other accountable, and this year I did it with 2 of my business consulting clients, again focusing on accountability. Very worthwhile.
Once again, I find that I’m now catching myself before letting out a complaint, and then simply deciding not to. Like Tim, I also find that I’m thinking much more in terms of solutions and much less in terms of being negative about things, which of course is awesome. The most interesting thing I’ve discovered is that I complain much more in Japanese than I do in English. Fascinating…
Ok, who wants my purple wrist band? 🙂