September 22 2007

acomplaintfreeworld.orgRoy IMed me on Gtalk the other night about this.  He had read about it on the 4-hour Workweek blog and he was fairly certain I couldn’t do it.

Basically the premise is fairly simple: You get yourself one of these purple bracelets, put it on a wrist, and the first time you complain about something, you switch wrists.  The goal is to go 21 days without complaining about anything to make the world free of negativity.

Yeah… right.

I have a complaint already in the form of that stupid wristband.  I’ve written about the insanity of these things in the past, and my thoughts still hold, and seeing as how they’ve distributed 5.9 million of these things so far… lovely.  That’s neither here or there though, what’s here is that this is just silly.  And yes, I realize I am complaining about a program that aims to stop complaining, you know it, I know it, we all know it, ignore it and move on.

The way my thought process works is I need to vocalize things.  Whether it be to someone else, or even out-loud to myself, I work through problems a lot easier if I can say the problem vocally.  Even talking about it here helps, but it’s just how I work.  I am working towards a solution of a problem, or in a case like this, I feel just need to shake my head and walk away from the stupid people of this world that surrounds me.

If you want to stop complaining, good for you… just do it.  You don’t need some dumbass rubber bracelet to do it.  I think this actually speaks to a larger problem in this world and it is peoples lack of willpower.

I used to drink 6 Mountain Dews a day, when I quit, I quit cold turkey because I realized it was bad for me.  When I quit smoking, it was also cold turkey.  My weight loss of the past year has been me being fed up with how heavy I was.  You can achieve changes in your life without someone having to tell you how to do it, you just have to be determined.

So, more power to you, stop whining about life, just skip that stupid bracelet.

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General Rants | | | |


  • The bracelet isn’t about other people telling you “how to do it” but using a technique to increase awareness of a certain type of behavior. While eating, smoking, etc. are very concrete actions which you have to engage in thoughtfully and willfully, psychological tendencies and habits aren’t. They are mentally activated (as opposed to being carried out both by thought and being physically carried out) so you may not even recognize you’ve been complaining until much later.

    This is no different than the old technique of tying a string around your finger to remember things. You could simply say, ‘if you want to remember, just remember and skip the stupid string.’

    Also, people are not all the same. Just because you can do certain things, it doesn’t mean they can accomplish the same goals in the same fashion. They aren’t weaker than you or dumber, they’re just wired differently and find different techniques effective in helping them change ingrained behaviors. Men (because they don’t have as much empathy as women by and large) often seem to take an attitude of ‘I just do this so everyone should just do this,’ though they often do so while blithely failing to acknowledge there are many changes they can’t make on a dime. For instance, you’ve written that you wish to improve your writing but feel you have particular weaknesses in grammar and spelling. One could simply say to you, if you want to write better, then just do it but not all changes are instantaneous or equally easy for all people.

    I think the reason you reject this idea is that you define your personality in no small part by your “curmudgeon-like” nature and being more positive about life is going to greatly undermine your notions of your core identity. It’s hard to give up a fundamental character trait for the sake of being more positive, especially if you don’t feel being negative is affecting your life adversely.

    Roy really understands you well, it seems. :-)

  • Shari – Excellent points, as always, and I did NOT mean to imply people are weaker or dumber than I… I’m as dumb as a brick most of the time *laugh* In general I feel people SHOULD be more positive, but if you’re doing it by the use of some bracelet, are really learning anything or are you performing to the beat of the bracelet? “Hey, I made it three weeks, woo look at me… man that was a stupid three weeks”.

    Yes, I am a curmudgeon, I don’t deny it. I have an extremely low tolerance for silliness as my life is too busy to put up with it.

    As for the grammar, I have bought two books “Eat, Shoots, and Leaves” and “Grammar for Dummies” and am in the process of reading them. Yes, that is a form of help, but when dealing with hard and fast rules, there isn’t much choice in that situation.

    Shhhhh about Roy… he’ll get a swelled head now:-p

  • Roy

    I was going to say what Shari said but she beat me to it because I had to drive my GF to the airport this morning.

    Anyways, if you read more about the thinking behind the exercise, it is more about how words shape your thoughts which in turn shape you life. Complaining is choosing negative words which in turn makes you mr curmudgeon. It’s not about stopping whining but rather choosing more appropriate words to express your feelings about things.

    Complaining is the one of the simplest forms of expression and too easily accepted by most people. The number one reason I stopped reading blogs is because of all the self proclaimed experts who couldn’t tell the difference between ranting and good journalism. On my own blog, one of the things I said to myself was that I didn’t want to complain and whine. Of course, I ended up writing a whole bunch of these posts, but for the most part I tried to keep things positive.

  • Keep in mind that the bracelet is about awareness. I’ve found that making people aware of whatever is half the battle. I can offer you an example how physical reminders can help re-shape behavior. When I was working, my work schedule was 12:00-8:00 pm Tues-Fri but 9:30-4:30 on Saturday so I needed to re-set the alarm for quite a bit earlier each Friday. I used to move my alarm clock every Friday from it’s usual position to somewhere directly in front of an item I needed to use in the morning so I’d remember to change the time. After doing this for awhile, I remember without moving the clock because I was able to set up a mental pattern even though this only happened once a week.

    The bracelets are intended to set up a similar mental pattern change. Once that pattern is established, people will stop complaining without the bracelet. It’s actually a very effective way of changing behavior.