Complaints. They’re part of our culture. We complain about the weather when it’s too hot. We complain about the weather when it’s too cold. We complain about lots of things, many of them being things that we have no control over. Instead of telling someone that can help change things, we often waste our time complaining to everyone but the person who can change our situation.
In my class recently we’ve begun a new challenge. My cooperating teacher discovered an organization called “A Complaint Free World.” Their main objective is to make people aware of how much they complain, and to help people stop complaining as much.
According to a video on acomplaintfreeworld.org most Americans complain 15 to 20 times a day without realizing it.
They define a complaint as when you’re telling someone about something you don’t like, but they can’t do anything about it. For instance, telling me that you have a headache is a complaint. Telling your doctor that you have a headache is not because your doctor can help you get better and solve why you’re experiencing a headache.
The complaint-free challenge is this: students (and teacher) in my class has a purple wristband from the “A Complaint Free World” organization. During the day, every time they complain they have to switch the wristband to the other wrist.
The goal is to go 21 days in a row without moving the wristband at all, because it takes 21 days to break a habit.
In my class we’re taking it a little bit further — we’re trying not to complain, criticize, or gossip.
I can tell you from experience that this is much, much harder than it sounds. When I first heard about this challenge, I thought it would be a piece of cake, but after doing it for a few days I’ve realized that it’s not easy at all.
I find myself complaining so much more than I ever thought I did. I heard somewhere that a complaint is kind of like bad breath. You don’t always notice it when it’s you, but you always notice it when it’s someone else.
I’m starting to think really hard about the things I say, asking myself if what I’m saying can be changed by the person I’m saying it to, or if there’s a better way to phrase it so that it’s not a complaint.
Even though this has been a challenging experience, I want to encourage others to try this. Even if you only do it for a day or two, I promise you that you’ll learn a little bit about yourself and how others perceive you.