the no complain rule

Complaining is a thing we love doing. We all complain a lot, for work, at home, for whatever futile reason we have the right to complain and we do it without thinking twice.

Yet, when people do complain to us, we’re scared, angry, we feel bad.
This doesn’t teach us anything, and even if we have evidence of the side-effects of complaint we don’t have a plan to fix it.

As in many things we can understand why: It’s easy.
It’s simply easy to complain, to surrender, to give up.
Big habits change require time and effort, that’s why they don’t happen so often.

Many years ago I loved sugar (I still do…), but one time I realized that I probably overused it.
Inspired by some findings I decided to do a one month test where I would not take any kind of sugar, even from fruits.

It was damn hard to get past that month. I craved sugar and drinking a black coffee seemed impossible to me yet somewhat I eventually got to the end of the month.

What happened was unbelievable: Every flavor was different. A cappuccino now was very sweet even without sugar, some candies were absolutely horrible.

What that one month did to my taste was “resetting” my tasting profile and it opened up to me a whole new world of flavors.

We can do the same with complaint. Test a one month no-complaint rule.
Not work-only, in the scope of your entire life. Work, home, play, sport, whatever: No complain.

Ask a friend to keep you accountable, a nice way to do this is for you to lend a big amount of money to them and if you complain, and they hear it, you lose the money.

You’ll also need to not complain “in your head”. It would be too much easy to simply avoid complaining while you bash everyone inside your mind, but that’s not the goal. The goal is to avoid complaining entirely.

It’ll be hard, but it’ll reset part of your “go-to” behavior.
Oh, and by the way: If you fail at it, try again.

There was this teacher of improv that once told me this thing: If you were already good at improv you wouldn’t need a teacher, right?

He was right. When you’re learning it takes time until you reach the level you want and until that time you’ll fail, again and again and again. Keep going until you do it, because you will.


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