Book Review – A Complaint Free World

The author introduces the book and 21 day challenge by saying, “In your hands you hold the secret to transforming your life.”  Big words?  Yes, but this is a plan that has already proven itself with millions of people around the world.  Pastor Will Bowen developed the life-changing A Complaint Free World plan based on the simple idea that good things will happen for you in abundance if you can just leave your grumbling behind.  In a Sunday-morning sermon, Will told his congregation he wanted to make the world a complaint-free zone, and to prove he was serious, he passed out purple bracelets to all the church members and offered them a challenge.  “If you catch yourself complaining, take the bracelet and move it to the other wrist.”

Less than a year later, more than six million people have taken up the challenge, trying to go 21 consecutive days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping, and in so doing, forming a new, positive habit.

He clarifies and defines the words Complain and Criticize the following way:

Complain: To express grief, pain or discontent.  It’s a complaint if you want the person or situation changed.  If you want it other than how it is, it’s a complaint and not just a statement of fact.  As you cease to complain, you will find yourself less often in fear and anger.  “Anger is fear directed outward.  Complaining is a form of manipulation.” – Gary Zukav

Processing and complaining is not the same thing.  Processing is sharing your feelings about something that has happened and not rehashing the events of what happened.  “Complaining is not to be confused with informing someone of a mistake or deficiency so that it can be put right.  And to refrain from complaining doesn’t necessarily MEAN PUTTING UP WITH BAD QUALITY OR BEHAVIOR.  There is no ego in telling the waiter you soup is cold and needs to be heated up, if you stick to the facts, which are always neutral.  “How dare you serve me cold soup? That’s complaining” – Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth.

A complaint may be a cry for attention, but it is also a signal to the Universe that something is wrong.

To criticize means to find fault with someone or something.  When we criticize someone, they feel the need to justify their behavior.  Justification arises when a person feels that an injustice has occurred.  Appreciation inspires a person to excel so as to receive more appreciation.  Criticism tears someone down, and when we debase someone we actually give that person implicit permission to act in similar ways in the future.  Attention drives behavior.  When someone critically lashes out at you, they are doing so from their own fear and insecurities.  They are coming from what they feel is a weak position and amplify their vitriol as a way of making themselves appear big and strong when they actually feel small and weak.  They are projecting their fear and discomfort onto others – they attempt to hurt because they are hurting.

Lump gossip in with complaining – OK as long as;

  1. What you’re saying about the absent person is complimentary.
  2. You would repeat it word for word, what you are saying, if the absent person were present.

Bottom line … if we want to improve the world, it must first come from our healing the discord within our own souls.  Changing our words will ultimately change our thoughts, which will, in turn, change our world.  When we cease complaining, we remove the primary outlet for our negative thoughts, our minds shift, and we become happier.  When your mouth stops expressing negative thoughts, you mind will find other, happier thought to create.

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