Happy New Year.
The Christmas festivities are over. Now, it’s back to work. And, if my Facebook feed is anything to go by, people are not best pleased.
Watching this raccoon’s candyfloss disolve has really put my January blues into perspective!
But, can this attitude towards the way you’re going to spend your coming days really benefitting anyone. Probably not.
So, herein came the inspiration for January’s challenge:
The Disadvantages Of Complaining
Some people argue that a good old moan makes them feel much better. However, these are usually the people that you don’t want to be stuck talking to at a bar or around the water cooler at work.
However, the destructiveness of negative language cuts deeper than you may think. As Will Bohen – a Kansas City minister – succinctly laid out:
Word Choice => Thought Choice => Emotions => Actions
If your word choice is negative, eventually your emotions and actions will be, which will lead to more negative word choices and you are suddenly stuck in a never ending cycle of gloom!
Conditioning To Change Behaviour
But, how do you learn to stop complaining?
Well, Will also determined a pretty neat way to change this behavoir that looked beyond simply trying not to complain or be negative.
He designed a simple mind trick that was activated every time you are negative. His solution was to wear a small bracelet or other item on your wrist. Every time you complain, you have to move the bracelet to the other wrist and then start again.
Simple, but effective, metacognitive awareness training!
But, What Constitutes A Complaint?
This challenge was also partly inspired by a Tim Ferriss podcast from a few months ago. You can read more about his “21 day no complaining experiment” to get some more inspiration and tips.
However, I thought it was also a good idea to use his already tried and tested definition of what constitutes a complaint. He uses the following:
“Describing an event or person negatively without indicating next steps to fix the problem”.
Therefore, “Brian is a ****, I hate him” is a complaint, but “I realise that these things about Brian are negatively effecting me and these are the steps I’m going to take to avoid that” would not be a complaint due to it being constructive in nature.
What Are The Benefits Of This Mini-Challenge?
Tim Ferriss again concludes on his experience by saying:
Here are a few of the changes I noticed then and am noticing again now:
1) My lazier thinking evolved from counterproductive commiserating to reflexive systems thinking. Each description of a problem forced me to ask and answer: What policy can I create to avoid this in the future?
2) I was able to turn off negative events because the tentative solution had be offered instead of giving them indefinite mental shelf-life (and “open loop” in GTD parlance), resulting in better sleep and more pleasant conversations with both friends and business partners.
3) People want to be around action-oriented problem solvers. Training yourself to offer solutions on-the-spot attracts people and resources.
Sounds good to me. Time to find myself a bracelet to throw on. Let me know if you are joining me in the challenge by commenting below. I’ll also update on my progress in the Moneystepper Facebook Group and I’ll love for you to do the same.
So, enough of this January doom and gloom, and bring on a positive and complaint free 2016!