“I can’t believe our phone lines are down. What else could possibly go wrong this week? Are those workers upstairs? What is that drilling? Are they coming through the ceiling?” I couldn’t stop myself – suddenly I was rolling downhill, picking up steam, dissatisfied with everything around me. I think for the first time I really, really heard myself, and I did NOT like how I sounded.
Remember Charlie Brown’s teacher in the cartoon? The one that had a whiny trombone for a voice? That’s what I had started to sound like. Yes, it’s been a tough couple of years, but I’m sure the economy and changes have impacted a few other people besides myself. My life is, in fact, incredibly blessed by material possessions and family members that love me. So why did it seem like a dark cloud was hanging over my head?
My daughter summed it up nicely for me as twenty-year-old college students will do. “Mom – what is wrong with you? You’ve been doing nothing but complaining lately. It’s really annoying.” I took initial offense, desperately seeking ridiculous excuses like “Hey, I’m paying or everything” or “You don’t know what it’s like to run your own business” until I dissolved into laughter. “I have no really good excuse, honey. I just got started a year or so ago and I can’t seem to stop.”
It’s really that simple. Complaining is like a slow accelerator to total misery. I’ve always had the attitude that I’m responsible for my life, and yet here I was running an apparent whining marathon. I was sick of myself. Robert Hugh Benson said it best when he said:
“ I think that the insane desire one has sometimes to bang and kick grumblers and peevish persons is a Divine instinct.”
Basically, I wanted to kick my own ass. So, I did. I have now created the “No Complaining” week. I challenge each of you to start when you read this blog, and then try not to complain for seven days from the time you start. Here are some steps that will help you with this task:
1. Ask friends and family to let you know when you’re slipping back into complaining. My family is allowed to simply put up a hand and say “Stop.” I have guaranteed them that I will stop without striking them.
2. Start looking for solutions every time you want to complain. If your office phones are down, spend time finding the number of your phone provider and call immediately to schedule a technician. Don’t allow any comments like “Why can’t they simply do this right in the first place? I know they won’t show up. They never do.” Search for a solution instead.
3. Read about people that inspire you. Surround yourself with inspiring quotes. Feel free to follow me on:
I will be posting inspiring quotes and stories all week. If you tweet something, please follow with our hashtag #NoComplaining. By the way, I’m starting my No Complaining week by reading Gandhi CEO by Alan Axelrod. If anybody can inspire us to move forward and stop complaining, it’s Gandhi.
4. Journal! Write down what is bothering you, and how your new approach (no complaining) made a difference.
I’d love for your to send me inspiring stories that you discovered to get you through the week, or quotes that meant a lot to you, or people that have inspired you at firstname.lastname@example.org. I think we all need to support each other – the economic turmoil has caused all of us to live a little deeper. But most of us still have food, shelter, and a million reasons to celebrate each and every day! So, let’s kick ourselves in our collective pants and see how it changes our lives!
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