When Kaplifestyle’s editor, Stephanie, and I discovered our summer intern, Peter, we had no idea we’d be adding such tremendous value. Sure, we knew he could grab coffee (kidding, we’re not even in the same city), but we had no idea he’d be writing guest posts and bringing consistent energy. He works his ass off and does so with a smile. Perhaps it’s because he’s studying how to do precisely that. Riff on it, Peter.
Complain less and live happier.
I am finishing up a class, the Science of Happiness, at Santa Clara University for my minor. While you may ridicule the title, similar classes are being offered at Harvard (Positive Psychology) and are among the most popular and intellectually stimulating classes they offer. The community calf challenge inspired me to offer up another push for everyone.
Back in 2006, a man named Will Bowen began a campaign for a complaint free world. His idea is growing and more and more people are catching on to this concept. Here’s how he describes his book:
Complaining is focusing on what we don’t want…It’s talking about what’s wrong, and what we focus our attention on expands. So we want to help people eradicate complaining from their lives.
Studies have shown that for habits to start forming it takes approximately 21 consecutive days. The goal here is to have a new communication habit of no complaining in 21 days. I’ve been tracking my complaints by shifting a wrist band to the other wrist every time I catch myself complaining.
It’s important to consider what a complaint is. “Wow, I am so tired, and have so much homework, why would my professor ever do that to me?” is a complaint. However, if you were at a restaurant and ordered a bowl of chicken noodle soup, asking the waiter to re-heat the soup because it was cold is completely fine. Noting an issue and asking the appropriate person to fix it and help you out is different from complaining with no solution in sight. There is a very clear distinction between those two, and I have already begun to note it my journal about that.
I started my 21-day challenge on September 25th and have already learned a lot about others and myself. While this is personal challenge, there are guidelines you should be aware of prior to venturing out on this quest. Do not be a complaint cop and point out everyone’s complaints. That’s just annoying. If you do hear someone complaining, really sit back and try to figure what may be causing it. You may learn and benefit from a simple evaluation.
You may be asking yourself what the point is. The major by-product of not complaining is happiness. I don’t think I am re-inventing the wheel when I say that complaining is a serious factor affecting moods and happiness in all people.
One of the most rewarding parts for me has been writing in my journal every night about my complaints. Through my writing, I note and accept my mistakes, but also consider the reasons why other people are complaining, so that I can learn from others. I like the personal evaluation I have given myself, and I have learned a lot about when others tend to complain.
The bottom line is this: we are all incredibly busy with our lives every day and are constantly trying to find that “peace” everyone talks about. You won’t find it by accident. Dealing positively with life’s circumstances may benefit you in your pursuit of happiness.
So far, out of the 5 days that I have done, I have had only one complaint free day. On that day, I journaled about others complaining a lot. It has been a fascinating experience thus far, and I hope others possibly find an interest.
Who’s joining me?