By Holly Small
Posted: Updated:

Here it goes. Today was day one of the 21 day ‘No Complaint Experiment’.

I was scrolling through Facebook last night and stumbled upon a video posted on the Truth Theory Facebook page.

The first thing that caught my eye were the words “complaining rewires your brain for negativity”. Seems pretty simple. It goes on to talk about the neural network and how complaining triggers thousands of neurons.

I sat back and thought about my day. I don’t complain much, do I? And then I thought about what constitutes a complaint. If I’m being honest, I swore at my computer a few times throughout the day because it was running a little slow (also a sign of impatience), I had a minor whinge about some annoying accounting issues and then there was a decent rant about the incompetence of somebody that has been letting me down a lot lately – don’t get me started on that one.

Author, entrepreneur, and self-proclaimed “human guinea pig Tim Ferris defines complaining as “describing an event or person negatively without indicating next steps to fix the problem”.

So based on that definition, there were a fair few complaints in my day and while none of them caused me to fire up or become too depressed, there was definitely negativity attached to each one.

The video reminded me of the 21 day no complaints experiment – documented by Tim Ferriss, author of the 4 hour work week, and it has always been something I have wanted to try. Ferris said this thought control experiment changed his life – even though it took him 6 months to complete it. The way he completed the experiment required him to re-start each time he caught himself complaining. Now that’s definitely commitment.

But I thought to myself, if I can commit to 21 days of no complaining, then it can only lead to positive change.

The Facebook video goes on to say that while it’s important to catch ourselves, we should be careful we don’t berate ourselves and instead, focus on gratitude for all the things that are going right in our lives. Catching yourself before you verbalise a complaint forces you to be more aware and to become more mindful of how you think, speak and act, which in my opinion can only be a positive thing.

Ferris says it makes sense that if you fix the words and you fix the thoughts, and to me, taking that one step further, if you can change your thoughts you can change your life, so it stands to reason that once Ferris completed the experiment that he claimed that it did in fact change his life.

So, every time I complain over the next 21 days (from June 1 – June 21) I plan to document it in a little journal.  I am yet to decide exactly what each complaint will be equivalent to but I’m working on that and ideas are welcome. The man in my life will be sure to keep me honest ?

Here’s an interesting little activity to implement – keep track of how many people start conversations with you in the next 24 hours that centre on a complaint or criticism. You may be very surprised.

And now, I’m putting it there, who is willing to join me for the next 21 days? Come on. Stop complaining and change your life with me J


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