Thursday, November 01, 2007

Current Project & Complaint Free?

Here is a detail from one of my current projects (I'm losing count of all of the things I've started, all of those PIP's (projects in progress). Love that needle punch!

Christine Kane has issued a challenge: Go 5 weeks (it takes 21 days to form a new habit; I don't think I'll ever get there) without complaining, whining, criticizing, or gossiping.

Well, who could question that this is a worthy endeavor? And who could possibly manage to go 21 days without complaining (or criticizing, whining, gossiping--much less 5 weeks)? The trick, of course, is that when you forget, you just start over. If you have managed one complaint-free day, and then complain on day two, you just start over. If you are five days, ten days into it and forget, you just start over.

Soooo-----I imagine that I will remain on DAY ONE for the rest of my life. At least if you count my silent whines, the ones that are in my head, but never make it to my lips. I will have to work on a complaint-free morning or a complaint-free afternoon. Or a complaint-free hour.

Nevertheless, I'm gonna try--knowing full well that I will fail. And fail again. And again. I AM going to try this challenge for a while. It will be interesting to actually track my behavior.

Kane posted this list: 9 Irresistible Reasons to Go Complaint-Free Starting Today:

1 - When you’re complaint-free, you learn to find solutions rather than staying mucked in the problem.

If you don’t offer yourself the option of complaining, then you might start training your brain to actually find solutions and get ideas. As Maya Angelou says, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” (note: I love that quote!)

2 - When you’re complaint-free, you shrink your ego.

Complaining builds your ego. It makes your ego stronger because it makes someone or something else wrong. And it makes you right. You become inflated and puffed up. Well, actually you don’t, but your ego does. Ceasing the complaining/criticizing/gossiping habit tells your ego that you are in charge, and that you want to create new habits. (note: I never thought of this, but complaining is a way of laying blame elsewhere)

3 - When you’re complaint free for 21-Days, you’ve started a new habit and created a new you.

4 - When you’re complaint-free, it’s a conversation starter.

Imaginary scenario: Someone rushes into your office to gossip or whine. You get to simply smile and say, “Gosh, you know, I’d love to join in, but I’m in the middle of a Complaint-free Contract. Would you like to look at it?” And the person says, “Huh? What’s that?” Then you get to propel the conversation in a different direction.

5 - When you’re complaint-free, it’s a conversation deepener.

That same person who rushes into your office will listen for a while and then say, “Wow, that’s a really great idea. I always notice how easy it is to complain, and I want to be more self-responsible…” You’ll then share a deeper connection when you each admit that you want to live more happy and focused lives. (note: I some how doubt this, but who knows? I suspect they might look at me, nod, and back out slowly)

6 - When you’re complaint-free, it becomes viral.

You start attracting more positive people to you. The negative people will walk away and just think you’re a complete moron. But then, you’ll start noticing positive curious people coming into your life because you are so much fun to be around.

7 - When you’re complaint-free, you banish lazy thinking.

Think about it - you can’t get much lazier than complaining and gossiping. It’s the same well-worn neural pathway you’ve trudged down day after day, along with 85% of the population. When you’re complaint-free, you find other things on which to focus. With alertness and alacrity, you find new ways of seeing things. (And you get to use words like “alacrity.”)

8 - When you’re complaint-free, you create happiness.

9 - When you’re complaint free with a group, you get to soar on the updraft of the great group energy.

11:24 -- Just started over at hour one!


  1. I'm going to try this Jen! For me the hardest part is going to exorcising the reflex of criticism. I find it funny, in light of that admission, that I can't let go of a little piece of cognitive dissonance. Five weeks equal 35 days; THREE weeks equal 21. I do think that five weeks is the key point, though, since that's been long established in the psych community as the linear time frame for breaking any type of habitual behavior.

  2. P.S. when I go as far as looking at the CK post, I see she did correct the numbers in the first part of the post, if not all the way through. And of course, just like you, this is simply an observation rather than jumping headfirst back into no-no territory. This will be a really good practice for me because I have been hyper-conscious of my critical tendencies lately and do not like them one bit ...

  3. ACey -- :) I looked back at the section that said 21 days to form a new habit and just stuck that in! Duh!

    I'm going back and eliminate that last comment I made and I'm starting over at hour ONE. I knew I'd be starting over again and again.

  4. ACey -- O.K. I think I've made all of the corrections. :P Thanks for pointing out those confusing details. I'm already finding myself more aware of my tendencies!

  5. Well, now there's an idea...I think hour by hour is how I'd have to start...hmmm, I'm gonna give this a try...=-)

  6. wow a much, much worthier challenge than the one I started up on the mouse today (I don't think that was a complaint?)....thanks for something new to aspire towards.

    love it!

  7. Thank you for sharing this. I've never heard of her, but could spend hours reading her blog and connecting. I'm in for the challenge!

    Sheila in Ohio

  8. Kim - Must get over to the Mouse and see what's up!

    Sheila - :) I made the rest of the day. Of course, it helped that most of the day, I was by myself! But when I wasn't alone and thought I might complain/whine/criticize (even if silently), the challenge stayed in my mind.

  9. Debby - Hour by hour is the only way!

  10. Ohhh! i needed to hear this.

  11. What a great post - and I can see that you are loving that embellisher! Love the piece! Non complaining attracts more peace too I think... positive energy out = positive energy in. Okay - so I'll try it ... hummm wonder how that will work when I get back to work?!!

  12. Gerrie -- Amazing what you discover when you pay attention!

    Marie -- :) Not complaining at work will be much harder! Thanks for the nice comment about my embellished piece!

  13. You're right, this will be an hour by hour challenge to keep up to. I hear myself complaining more than I'd really want to; this will remind me to notice it more.

  14. Melanie -- I've found the process very interesting! I start mumbling when my brain kicks in gear, and I realize that what I was going to say was a complaint!


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