The Zero Complaints Challenge


The Zero Complaints Challenge

The average person complains 15-30 times a day.

That’s insane! I’ve never tracked the number of times I have complained in a day, but my guess is that I would probably fit into that range. It might seem like a crazy stat because we may be complaining without even realizing we’re doing it.

This week’s challenge is called “Zero Complaints”. I first heard of this idea on Tim Ferriss’ podcast a few years ago, but never took on the challenge, partly because it sounded impossible. After digging a little bit, I found out that Tim got the inspiration from Will Bowen’s book, A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted. Bowen’s system lasts 21 days and utilizes a bracelet that, if the complaint-free streak is broken, gets moved to the opposite wrist and the count starts over at 0. Because this is a week-long challenge for us, we will modify it slightly. Starting on Monday (or whenever you are reading this), you are not allowed to complain for one week. If you fail and catch yourself complaining, don’t start over, but see if you can finish out the week without any more. Even if you slip up once each day, that’s a lot less than 15-30.

So, what counts as a complaint?

For our purposes we’ll use the definition Ferriss uses because of its simplicity: describing an event or person negatively without indicating next steps to fix the problem. Additionally, complaints are verbal. So thinking a complaint without saying it out loud does not count in this challenge.

For me personally, complaining usually takes the form of venting and not problem-solving, often completely unproductive. The act of complaining feels good in the moment and provides instant gratification. But, according to Psychology Today, over time the accumulation of complaints negatively impacts mood, decreases self-esteem, and has an overall effect on our general mental health.

As always, I will be taking on the challenge as well and I look forward to hearing how it went in the comments. Good luck!

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About the author
I am a professional dad of three. Let me clarify - I'm not a professional dad. I am a professional. And I'm a dad. I have a career that I love as a high school social studies teacher. And I am a dad of three to a two-year-old son and twin baby girls.

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