by Will Bowen
Reviewed by Marybeth Welty of Sustainable Lifestyle Solutions
This book is all about bringing awareness to how much we complain, how much complaining affects our energy and attitude, and the energy we put out into the world.
The 21 Day No Complaints Challenge
At the beginning of the book the author starts off by talking about his bracelet program. He explains that the idea is that you begin by wearing the bracelet on one wrist. When you catch yourself complaining, transfer the bracelet to the other wrist. The goal is to have 21 days straight without complaining. To be honest, at first I thought I will never be able to go 21 days.
The Law of Attraction
When we put out negative energy, that is what the world is receiving from us and that is then what we receive back in return. However, when we put positive energy out into the world, we receive positive responses back.
He explains the idea of operating in conscious versus unconscious and competence versus incompetence. When we are not aware of our mindset and the quality of our thoughts, words, and actions are negative, we are operating under an unconscious incompetent complaining mentality.
But good news! In this state you are a blank slate, and open to endless possibilities of growth. Yes!
I love his example of when you “cry ouch” you will continue to find the hurt - meaning if you complain you will find more to complain about. If you are a positive person and find yourself interacting with someone who complains frequently, how do you feel afterwards? Do you want to continue hanging out or talking with them? Probably not. Similarly if you are the one who often complains, it can be annoying to be around someone who is positive. Like attracts like and complaining attracts complaining. If we are putting out garbage into the universe, we will get garbage back. This is all about the Law of Attraction.
What is Complaining And Why Do We Do It?
To complain means to express grief, anger, or disappointment, and most of us don’t realize how much complaining we do. We complain to get sympathy, attention, approval, and to avoid stepping up to some thing worth doing, or avoiding adverse events. The next time you find yourself complaining dig into why you are complaining. How you are benefiting from this particular complaint?
When you complain you are repelling what you actually want. I love the example he uses of a women’s support group his mother used to be a part of and how they were often complaining about men. In actuality though, many of the women weren’t able to sustain a happy, healthy relationship with men though, likely because they were always complaining about interactions they had with them and focusing on the negative.
Poor health is one of the most common things that people complain about.
It gives people sympathy and an excuse for why things are the way they are and why they are doing things the way they are doing them. Can you believe that doctors estimate that nearly 2/3 of the patients they see have illnesses that have psychological origins? This shows that there is a significant psychosomatic connection between the mind and the body. What the mind believes the body manifests. What a person believes about their health leads to that belief becoming real for them.
Next time you find yourself talking about your ailments, reflect on what your motivations are? Bowen says when we do this we are either trying to get sympathy or attention. Which one is it for you?
Complaining = Bragging
Kind of a reverse bragging in a way. When you complain reduce your self-worth because you are saying you don’t deserve what you’re complaining about. This is similar to when people are trying to complain about their health problems and each person is trying to complain “harder” or indicate they have it worse off. What you are really doing is identifying yourself as a victim and victims are never winners.
Explaining is not complaining
And stating facts is not complaining. But there is a fine line between stating facts and whining about something not going the way you want it to. This is a great practice in awareness as well. Are you stating a fact or are you complaining? There is a subtle but massive difference.
Look At Problems As Opportunity
Bowen points out that during Peace Talks leaders will completely focus on positivity. They never address the question of how will we get there because there will always be disagreements and complaining about various methods. The purpose is to identify and gain clarity on the positive goal and each nation then to go back and make it happen in their own respective country. If national leaders focused on the problems then they would be lost in arguments and peace would never come.
Opportunity To Learn
Similarly, when something good happens to us think, “Of course!” If something bad happens then how can you learn from this? Seeing it as an opportunity to learn, to pivot, to readjust your thinking instead of seeing it as a failure. I’ve learned to do this within my business as well. For a long time I would get really down when something didn’t work, if I didn’t get a particular client, or if a marketing effort didn’t pan out. I’ve been working to shift my interpretation of these events to a learning experience and process of elimination instead of assuming I am failing or a failure. It’s helping me progress so much more and my mental health and outlook on life is so much better because of it.
Remember, the more positive things and gratitude we focus on, the more positivity we will see. If you change your words you will change your life.
Overall I found this book very uplifting, motivating, and inspiring. It has made me much more aware of my words, thoughts, and intentions. I have noticed that the more I stop complaining the more I am able to notice and feel much more gratitude for all the positive things that come into my life. Our words are powerful and they really can establish what kind of life we have. We have the power to choose what we focus on, what we manifest, and what we bring into our lives.
Marybeth Welty helps entrepreneurs create calm + healthy homes and lives. She is a compassionate and sensitive interior designer, organizer, stylist, and mindful living coach with over 10 years of experience in green interior design and sustainable living. By struggling with her own mental health, she is passionate about creating homes that help you relax, reduce stress, benefit your mental health, grow your business, improve your relationships, and give you the life of your dreams. You can connect with her at www.sustainablelifestylesolutions.com and on Instagram at @this_sustainable_lifestyle.
Florena Davies is a Professional Organizer and Owner of Organize by Flo. She uses her experience as a wife and mother of 2 to create real life organizational systems and changes for work and home that allow our 2 worlds to co-exist and 'Flo" together. Check out her website at https://www.organizebyflo.com/ and on instagram @organizebyflo
Melanie McConnell is a Professional Organizer and the owner of Mello Spaces. She helps busy professionals and parents get the organized home of their dreams. Check out her website www.mellospaces.com and follow her on Instagram: @mellospaces