A Complaint Free World?
If you haven’t heard of this movement, it was created by Will Bowen, the lead minister of the One Community Spiritual Center in Kansas City, Missouri. As an innovative Christian leader, he gave a sermon one day about the damaging nature of continuous complaining – and what a great place a complaint free world would be.
His congregation helped him come up with the idea of the 21 day challenge, where participants vow not to verbalize any complaints for 21 days. A purple Complaint Free Bracelet is worn and should the person accidentally verbalize the complaint, the bracelet needs to be switched to the other wrist for a further 21 days. Definitely a challenge!
My experience of the 21 day Complaint Free World Program (a few goes around and I’m there – most of the time!)
I decided to join the program about 5 years ago and started it at the beginning of a vacation (thought that would be easier).
I found myself in the position of switching the bracelet several times during the first few days whilst traveling with my husband and 2 small girls, but kept at it.
We were in Disneyland when I realized the benefit of beginning to disconnect from the energy of complaining and the effort required to verbalize complaints
It was a really hot day (around 95 degrees plus humidity) and it was my turn to buy some food whilst my husband took care of the girls. I lined up at a hotdog stand and found myself waiting quite a while.
Like a ripple or a wave, the complaints started at the second from front and headed backwards towards me. The two people in front of me start discussing and complaining about how long exactly their hotdogs would be and then turned to include me in the discussion.
I smiled, held up my wrist with the bracelet on it and said “Sorry, I can’t join in – I’ve taken the Complaint Free World Challenge!”. Neither of the people involved asked me for any details, but the complaint chain was broken and soon the hotdogs started making their way down the line.
Do your part for a Complaint Free World – free your Personal Energy Quotient by disconnecting from the energy of complaining
Disconnecting from the energy of complaining in that line was a big shift for me. I suddenly felt free to think my own thoughts whilst I was waiting (and taking a break from Disneyland!) and at that point in time I felt really relaxed – my world really was complaint free in that moment.
When working with this program it’s really important to read the material and understand the difference between verbalizing a complaint and making a statement. If you try the Complaint Free World program you’ll discover that your language skills will improve too, always a bonus!
A Complaint Free World – Resources
To start this program you can check out the Complaint Free World website. There is also a Complaint Free World Facebook page and several useful books as resources. Here’s a link to a video somebody sent me recently which records the benefits of introducing a complaint free culture into the workplace. The website also contains a downloadable widget to help you get through your days without complaining!
And as Will Bowen says in his book Complaint Free Relationships – the next time you need to make a public ‘complaint’, take a deep breath to keep your energy balanced (even if you’re annoyed) and begin your sentence ‘You may not be aware of this, but….‘
It will take the emotional charge away from your statement and encourage the other person to be more helpful, rather than put them on the defensive. Then perhaps they’ll think about becoming Complaint Free, too.