04 Jul Are you ready for a Complaint-Free World?
We love our 21-day experiments in Purna Yoga. They give us the opportunity to practice svadhyaya (self-study). One of Aadil’s favorite 21-day experiments is noticing one’s spoken complaints and making a concerted effort never to complain or make excuses. Fellow Purna Yoga instructor and director of Purna Yoga East in Clayton, North Carolina, Catharine Eberhart, turned me on to this video talk from Will Bowen, founder of Complaint-Free World.
This video is lengthy but worth your time if you want to minimize the complaining you do. ‘What would that do for me?’, you might ask. Think about when others around you complain. Do you like listening to it? How does it make you feel when you listen to others complain? Bowen says the act of complaining decreases your happiness because at that moment of complaining you’re focusing on how the world isn’t as you’d like it to be. So, when we stop complaining we become happier, grateful for what we have. I’m certainly all for increasing my happiness.
In this talk, Bowen explains the difference between appropriate complaining (lodging a complaint directly and only to the person who can resolve the issue) and the complaining that decreases our happiness. He lays out five reasons why people complain and how to respond to others when they’re complaining (valuable information for improving your relationships at work, at home, and with friends).
The rules of this 21-day experiment are simple. You can get an official Complaint-Free World purple bracelet or use a purple rubber band (like the ones that bind asparagus from the grocery store). Put the bracelet on one wrist and you’re at Day 1. With every spoken complaint, you switch your bracelet to the other wrist. With every switch, you’re back to Day 1. Bowen says that it usually takes four to six months for people to go 21 days without complaining. You might find that you even have a bit of a learning curve to realize when you’re complaining. As Bowen says, complaining is like bad breath, much easier to recognize when it’s coming out of someone else’s mouth.
Check out the video. Consider doing the 21-day experiment with the bracelet. Start to turn your awareness to your speech and become mindful of when you complain. Who knows? You might become a happier person.